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My 1997 Altima leaked oil so I took in to get it looked at. They told me they needed to changed the valve cover and wanted to steam clean the engine (at an extra cost) to make sure it was fixed. I told them no to the cleaning but yes to the repair. When I picked it up they told me they cleaned up the engine a little (no charge) and if it still leaked to bring it back that it may also be a leaky pan. Well it still leaks, how come they cannot tell that when they first looked at it? Now I am out $200 and do not know what else they will charge to fix the problem. The car has 165000 miles on it and still runs good except for the leak.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Roseann, While it may have cost a little more to steam clean the engine, it would give them a better chance to see what's leaking. Sometimes the engine is so dirty that it's hard to tell what is an old leak or a new leak. They can also put a leak detecting die in your engine and have you come back in a day or so to find out where the leak is. They should have suggested this as well. You have a lot of miles on your vehicle, so it's very possible that you could have more than one leak. I hope this helps. Lori Johnson

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management Roseann, Usually, when we take our vehicles in to a shop, we expect to get the diagnosis in full, have it repaired and be done with it. I have worked in a few dealerships, and it always looks better for the business when we fix the entire problem the first time. It also helps to ensure that the customer is happy and will come back in the future. Sometimes, it is difficult to have this outcome. It can be difficult to determine the source of a leak - especially if it is a bad leak. I always suggest that any time you have your vehicle in for repairs, you ask to look at the problem yourself and have the repair explained to you. If they mentioned before they did the valve cover that this may not be the only leak, you would have at least had a chance to look the valve cover and also the oil pan to get a better idea of the situation. Suzanne

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