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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a used red 1997 Suzuki Esteem, I'm not sure if it is a 1997 but my god family (who I bought from) said it was a 1996 but the when we went to get the title they put 1997, I'm hoping there aren't too many differences. I'm going to be completely honest, I know nothing about cars, I just graduated a year ago and I wish I spent some time actually learning a thing or two. I've had the car for a week (her name is Audrey) and I drove to work yesterday and I close. As I and my coworkers headed out I tried to start Audrey but nothing happened. I started to worry, my friend gave me a small jump with his jumper cables and the battery light was on (as well as the check engine light but that had been on for a few days prior). I had enough juice to drive down the street to his father's house, but the steering was resisting, I had to use force to make sure I made it through the roundabout. We got to his father's house and he took a look under the hood. Apparently there was a massive oil leak that had landed on the serpentine belt and splashed all over the engine and other parts as well as the interior of the hood. The father said that it definitely had been happening long before I even had the car. (To put into perspective, my god aunt took Audrey into the shop to fix the starter and ended up having to pay I believe $1,500 and she is selling it to me for $500 + $150 since she paid the title for me. So the father said they had to have known about the oil leak and said nothing about it and sold me a crap car. I don't believe they would ever intentionally be shady with me, they're good people.) He said that the oil might have gotten to the alternator and that's why the battery wasn't functioning properly anymore and the steering/AC belt was completely shredded. The father but the battery on a charger overnight and me and my friend came back the next afternoon. The father had used a special foaming spray soap to dry and get rid of the oil splatter and apparently that helped tremendously and the battery light turned off but the check engine light was still on. I had lost power steering I believe what it's called and have to use force to turn when on the brakes but it's a little smoother when I go fast. I know I have to replace the serpentine belt for the steering/AC but it would be pointless without figuring out the source of the oil leak. We checked the oil gauge and it was full so I need your help finding possible answers.
 

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What colour is the oil that's leaked? Is there any oil in the power steering reservoir?
 

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Sounds like it’s probably a simple valve cover seal that needs to be replaced. @2013GV Thoughts? Pictures will definitely help. The OP doesn’t know cars well so trying to think how to have them check. The power steering hose tends to leak over time as the hose gets old. The blue baleno had that issue. Think I have a before picture somewhere.

Edit: Did not take a before pic.
 

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need pics of oil and where its wettest on the engine but it does sound like a cover gasket possibly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So in light of my first post, I think I'm going to have to get a new car. my 1997 Suzuki Esteem battery light came on when I was five minutes from home and stopped. My friends came to give me a jump but that jump only lasted until I was a few hundred feet from my house.
 

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That looks like power steering fluid. The bits are just dirt that’s sticking to it. Check that the hoses are clamped tight or replace those hoses. Easy job you can do yourself. Youll need more power steering fluid too.
 

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Ewwww, yep, looks like a major power steering leak, check the return line and pressure line at the pump too, they are known to leak at the connection at the pump body.
 

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With all the oil that got into the alternator, its not surprising. You'd have the same problem on a 2020 model year if that happened too. Where are you located? id be interested if you're selling it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ewwww, yep, looks like a major power steering leak, check the return line and pressure line at the pump too, they are known to leak at the connection at the pump body.
It can't be the steering fluid though, the tank is full and it hasn't shown any signs of becoming empty.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'm in Q
With all the oil that got into the alternator, its not surprising. You'd have the same problem on a 2020 model year if that happened too. Where are you located? id be interested if you're selling it.
I'm in Washington and I need a car real bad. I'm already stuck making a $650 payment on it, I bought new tires and a new belt. I just haven't had them put on yet.
 

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I'm in Q

I'm in Washington and I need a car real bad. I'm already stuck making a $650 payment on it, I bought new tires and a new belt. I just haven't had them put on yet.
unfortunately thats waaaay to far for me to go get. :/ thats over 2 days non stop driving.
 

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Hard to tell from those pictures.
Check oil level
Check power steering reservoir for any changes in level.
Check for any coolant leaks (is level low)
Rub finger on fluid and smell to try to determine what kind of fluid it is

Note: Never remove a radiator cap when engine is hot.
The coolant will be under pressure.
It can splash you and anyone else in the vicinity with boiling hot coolant.
 

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I've had a friend check all of those and the levels are fine and unchanged.
If you are saying that it isn't any fluid that is in the car
Then someone must really not like you and dumped this fluid on your engine.
If it is not someone else then logic says it must be from your car
Brake fluid?
Coolant?
Motor oil?
Power steering fluid?
Windshield washer fluid?
 
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