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The other day I parked my car, and came back a couple of hours later to see a massive oil puddle under my 1994 Corolla. This was the only time I had ever noticed that much of a leak, and I realized it was because my car was parked at roughly a 30-35 degree angle. Normally its parked on my driveway or at work which are relatively level surfaces, and I have never seen a drop of oil underneath those spots.

What could be the problem to cause my oil to leak only while parked on a steep incline?

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Nose up or nose down? –  rrhartjr Mar 31 '11 at 15:59
    
nose up......... –  Paul Belardi Mar 31 '11 at 21:40
    
Mine does the same. I have a 1998 Opel astra 1.6I. I leaks a drop here and there but when i park at home on a hill it leaks a big puddle. –  clayton May 6 at 9:55
    
oil pan gasket ? –  amphibient May 6 at 17:36
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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I take it the car is front wheel drive, being a 90s Toyota?

If it is only leaking when parked facing uphill, then (logically) the leak must be to the rear of the engine. I would suggest that the driveshaft oil seals (where the shafts leave the gearbox) is a likely suspect. Where is the oil filter mounted? The seals around them can often be suspect.

Another possibility is that the oil is leaking most or all of the time, but is pooling on something under the engine (such as the plastic undertray often fitted to cars of that age), then running off when the car is parked facing uphill.

I'm afraid the best way to tell is by getting dirty! If you have access to jacks and stands, park on solid, level ground and jack the front of the car. Support it properly with stands, then slide underneath and see if you can identify where the oil is coming from...

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If you have trouble locating the leak because everything is already dirty, try cleaning the engine compartment and underbody. That will make leaks easier to trace, as well as easier to notice before they grow to the point of forming large puddles. –  William Cline Apr 1 '11 at 17:07
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Your oil pan gasket is probably leaking on one side. when you're on an incline, the oil is pooling on that side of the oil pan and subsequently leaking out.

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