Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Camshaft Seal

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Camshaft Seal

Camshaft Seal

The camshaft seal is a round oil seal located in the cylinder head. It is responsible for sealing the end of the engine’s camshaft or camshafts between the top of the cylinder head and the valve cover gasket. Camshaft seals are usually made of durable rubber materials that allow them to have a long service life. However, over time, these seals can wear out and begin to leak oil. Any sort of engine oil leak is bad for the engine, as the oil is what protects the metal internal components of the engine from friction. Usually, a bad or failing camshaft seal will produce a few symptoms that can notify the driver that a problem has occurred and needs to be serviced.

Visible signs of oil leakage

The most obvious symptom of a problem with the camshaft seal is visible signs of oil leakage. Camshaft seals are usually located on the top of the cylinder head towards the rear of the engine and near the firewall. When they begin to leak, there will usually be traces of oil on the rear of the engine right below the valve cover, which can sometimes flow to the edges or corners of the engine.

Smoke from the engine bay

Another common symptom of a bad camshaft seal is smoke coming from the engine bay. If the oil leaking from a camshaft seal finds its way to a hot exhaust manifold or pipe, it will burn up on contact and produce smoke or produce the odor of smoke. The amount of smoke and intensity of the odor will depend on the severity of the oil leak. Small leaks may produce faint streaks of smoke, while large leaks may produce obvious trails.

A defective camshaft seal may not have an immediate or direct effect on engine performance, however, it can have an effect on reliability - as any oil leak is a compromise to the engine’s lubrication. If your vehicle displays any of the symptoms above, or if you suspect that your camshaft seal may be leaking, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if your car needs a camshaft seal replacement.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch...


Related questions

Q: Headlights caught on fire

There have been many issues in the past with the TSX having headlights catch fire. This particular model does not have a recall. It is important only to use recommended lightbulbs for this car. The manufacturer recommends 60w halogen bulbs,...

Q: What Is a Twin-Cam Engine?

Engines that are considered twin camshaft engines will have individual separate camshafts for the exhaust and intake valves on a cylinder head instead of a single camshaft to operate both the intake and exhaust valves in a cylinder head. The...

Q: Can I replace valve stem seals without removing the head?

Replacing valve stem seals without removing the heads will typically require a couple of specialty tools to accomplish. On a given cylinder, you will want to be sure that both of the valves are closed. Then you remove the spark...