Signs of a Crank Seal Oil Leak in Your Mini Cooper
22 Jun, 21
A crankshaft seal is a component that is attached to the front of the engine. This part seals the end of the crankshaft along with the timing cover and is usually made with metal and rubber or metal and silicone. Sealing the end of the crankshaft as it rotates, this part is installed in the front timing cover.
The crankcase is installed just below the cylinders and helps by transferring energy from the engine to your wheels, which allows you to move your vehicle. In order to function properly, this component needs to be free from friction and submerged in oil. The role of the crankshaft seal is to keep that oil in the crankshaft cavity and prevent it from leaking.
The crankshaft seal may appear to be a very simple piece, but it serves an extremely important purpose. As the crankshaft rotates, it tosses a lot of oil around. The crank seal keeps this oil contained, preventing oil from leaking outside of the crankcase. If this component fails, oil can leak out which could present a serious risk of damage to the engine if not dealt with promptly.
Common Causes of a Crank Seal Oil Leak
Your crankshaft seal will dry out and become brittle over time, as with any rubber components. Part of the damage is due to the high heat from your engine and the other part is from the friction that occurs as it sits between your crankshaft and your timing cover.
Another cause for natural wear is the seal’s contact with oil which eats away at rubber components over time. As the seal continues to lose elasticity it will eventually develop cracks and then break.
Familiar Signs of a Crank Seal Oil Leak
- Visible Leak: The most common sign of a leaking crankshaft seal is a visible oil leak. If the seal has dried up, cracked, or broken, then an oil leak is pretty much imminent. A smaller leak may only accumulate along the bottom of the engine. If the leak is not detected in time, you could end up with a large drip straight to the ground.
- High Mileage: If your Mini Cooper is getting up there in mileage, it may be a good time to have the crankshaft seal inspected. On average, most crankshafts seals will need to be replaced when your vehicle has reached around one hundred thousand miles or so. Even if the seal is not leaking, it is still a good idea to have it replaced around this mileage to prevent any problems from future leaks in the first place.
- Occasional Clutch Slips: A rather rare but troubling symptom of a leaking crankshaft seal is a clutch that occasionally slips. The slipping could be due to the clutch being sprayed with oil from the broken crankshaft seal.
- Crankshaft Seal Life Span: Crankshaft seals do not stay in peak condition forever. The manufacturers of most crankshaft seals place their recommended service life around one hundred thousand miles. It is recommended that you have your seal inspected or replaced at this mileage. It is a good idea to have your seal looked at even if there doesn’t seem to be any leaking.
Santa Barbara Autowerks: Your MINI Cooper Experts
Your car has a lot of components that can be repaired to prolong their life cycles but unfortunately, the crankshaft seal is not one of them. Once a crankshaft seal takes on cracks or breakages, your only option is to have it completely replaced. Doing this sooner rather than later can prevent a whole host of other issues from popping up.
The crankshaft seal may look like a simple component but it is difficult to get to inside the engine bay. Servicing or replacing this piece requires access to the space behind your engine’s main crankshaft pulley and requires the removal of belts, the pulley, and the harmonic balancer. At the end of the day, this is not the type of repair you want to tackle on your own.
If you believe your MINI needs a professional mechanic, call our licensed and respected automotive shop. Santa Barbara Autowerks is located in Santa Barbara, CA. Let us show you why we are the best mechanics in the area. Call us today.