Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: I want to buy a 1997 Subaru Outback Wagon that appears to have oil/fluid leaks.

asked by on

Upon inspection of the vehicle, there is caked-up oil on the sides and bottom of the oil pan. It was moist to the touch but not wet. Also, there is caked-up fluid on the back end of the rear differential. The engine is clean otherwise and sounds good. I have read about the head gasket problems with these models, and want to avoid buying a car that will shortly breakdown. The car is selling for $500. Is it necessary to repair the rear differential gasket or could I possible just keep checking the fluid level? Is the caked up oil on the pan a sign of imminent head gasket failure.

My car has 274000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there. There are three categories for le...

Hi there. There are three categories for leaks, that I use. Seepage (by all factory standards considered normal) collects dirt, signs of a leak (wetter than seepage) may or may not see it on the ground (monitor level), and a leak (seeing it on the ground) time for repair. The price for the vehicle, may make it hard to pass up. Too put your mind at ease, before the purchase, I recommend having the vehicle, be inspected by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I'm looking at a 97 S500, 2 owner with 63,000 original miles - estate sale item. Everything is clean according to Auto ckeck.

Hi there. I recommend performing a pre-purchase inspection and a 75 point safety inspection on the vehicle prior to buying the vehicle. Anyone can say that their car is in good shape, but there could be maintenance that needs to...

Q: Can failure of a transfer case cause damage to a differential?

Hi there. Based on the mileage of your vehicle, its possible that the seal could have gone out on its own. A dynamic seal (seal on a shaft) will last for up to 80,000 miles on normal conditions, however, this...

Q: car going hot then cold back to hot then cold again

The information given is not enough to definitively say what the issue is. Consider the following questions. Is it the dashboard temperature gauge that is reading like this, or have you checked the actual engine temp with an infrared thermometer,...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...