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Oil change/fiascos

I recently(last month) got an oil change. The
technician only refilled the crankcase with 5 qts. of oil. My car is supposed to take 6.3 qts.
with filter. I have been driving like this for a
month. I basically commute back and forth to work
40 minute round trip. Does anyone think that any damage was done to my car? Has the potential longevity of the automobile been compromised?


  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    serious - I got into the habit a long time ago of checking up after the service visit.

    That recently paid off when I found that the technician put the wrong weight and brand of oil in my new car. After changing to my brand and weight, I checked it again and found that he'd left the oil cap off!

    Double-checking folks is a good habit to get into - could save you LOTS of money, and as long as humans are doing work on cars, there's room for error.
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    in regards to the previous two posts,maybe its time to find someone compenant to change your oil.i would not give my money to anyone that i would have to check over their work.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    you're always good for verbal combat, without much nice to say, but after being a service manager in a private parts/service chain with 41 techs, a Chevrolet store with 44 techs, and a small Chrysler/Jeep store with 8 techs, I've seen even the oldest, most experienced guy make a mistake.

    I learned a long time ago that checking over my car, in the 15 seconds it takes, gives me peace of mind and a feeling that I don't have to worry if the guy did it right.

    People make mistakes - if I catch it, I don't have to worry. It's the dummy who thinks his mechanic is like God who'll end up with a blown motor a mile down the road.
  • vidtechvidtech Posts: 212
    "not much nice to say"i even took my chill pill.seriously,a person i know worked at an oil change outlet.he was having a bad day.a customer came in and treated him rudely.while he was under the vehicle draining the oil and lubing the chassis,he pumped grease into the drain opening of the oil pan.he felt he paid him back for disrespecting him.i do not know the outcome of all this since i severed ties with this individual after he told me this.i feel that the "technician"who is trained and carreer minded will take more pride in his work than the oil change guy who probably makes minimum wage.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    what I'm saying is that even the 40 year old mechanic who's been mechanicking for 20 years can make a mistake - I just won't check my oil in FRONT of a guy like that - I don't want him to know I'm checking his work.

    The responsibility, though, for care of my car is ultimately mine.
  • No, being a quart low shouldn't hurt the car.

    I always check the oil level after a change, even if Mario Andretti did it for me. Anybody can make this mistake because some cars are very tricky to get a good reading. The stick looks fine even after a 30 second idle and shut down, but it's not fine the next morning.

    Commmon problem. The owner is also responsible for checking the oil level periodically. If you don't ever check it, you are really asking for trouble. Leaks, damaged oil pans, loose filters---they can all contribute to an unpleasant surprise over time.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    Well, all dealerships have a service rep and the actual technician on their team doing the work. Yes, technicians make mistakes, that is why we have the checks and balances of the service rep . I thought???? The service rep is the contact point. IMO it is his job to check that the work is completed properly before I pick that car up. Does it normally get done, not for me it doesn't. I had a radiator replaced a few months ago at a Toyota dealer, upon pick up coolant all over the engine compartment, no way they could tell if there remained any leaks. I pointed it out to the service rep and of course, sorry, I will have it cleaned, I said go to hell, took it home cleaned it myself and, of course, the lower hose was leaking now that the area was clean. I fixed it myself and wrote the service rep, toyota central etc, and complained of lousy service. It is the service reps job to assure the work is done right and CHECK over the technicians work. It should not be mine.

    However, as noted, we have no choice in today's world where the dollar and in and out service rule
    so we are forced to check every repair and oil change. Well, I do those myself now.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    of a former service advisor, many service advisors DO NOT have the authority to check behind their techs. Call it politics or whatever, that's the way it is.
  • I think you should allow the shop to correct its errors, otherwise if you correct them, you essentially have let the shop completely off the hook legally. It's not smart to intervene or have an outside shop intervene in a botched repair, it really isn't for your own good.

    Besides, service managers and mechanics are evaluated based on "comebacks". A comeback repair is the surest way to put heat on people in the dealership. By not allowing the comeback repair, you are removing good leverage for your complaint and for the improvement of the shop I think.

    Last of all, if I may note and emphasize this....bringing the car back with an obvious "botch", like coolant all over everything, is an EXCELLENT way to determine if you want to do any further business with that shop. If they jump on it and correct it, you know you are dealing with people who want to improve and who want your business. If they try to deny it, or intimidate you, or ignore you, you have a PERFECT reason to never go there again, because you have been given the TRUTH of the matter. They are no good.
  • 0patience0patience Posts: 1,542
    Letting the shop try and correct the situation is always the best course, as Mr. Shiftirght stated.

    I currently have a 91 Jeep Cherokee in my shop because the wrong oil filter was installed by a local service station. The truck went to one shop to be diagnosed after the filter dumped all the oil all over the engine compartment, then the service station got it back and pulled the engine and then refused to make good on the engine.
    The people who own the vehicle called their insurance company, who called me and asked that I retrieve the engine and vehicle and do an autopsy on the engine. I haven't gotten that far yet, but from the insurance investigator, it seems the original shop stated that there was no oil or oil pressure.
    This is a case where everything went wrong.
    First thing, contact the place that did the work.
    Be sure to have all documentation of the work.
    Then if they refuse to pay for the problem, seek help from an outside source. In some cases, if you have full coverage and a good insurance agent, they will provide the help you need.
  • swschradswschrad Posts: 2,171
    no, you don't HAVE to use genuine Belchfire NG-666 oil filters in your Belchfire V-13 type-R minivan. but it sure helps prevent failures to have the right filter on. if you don't use the OEM, at least use a quality national brand filter with a good rep (leakmore filter bowls for toilet-paper rolls need not apply), and have the filter be the same number that the application manual says fits that same year, size, and model of Belchfire. and keep the dated receipts in case the filter blows off when you back out of the driveway.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    checked the work on my vehicle after picking it up, but I also felt it was bad news to do it in front of them, so I would always drive it around the corner out of sight to check it out. Any place that got to "three strikes" was "out", although I would always call the service manager and tell them what had happened, and they would often make a good faith attempt to fix the problem the second time. I appreciate that, but it made me leery of them in future.

    The place I have been going the last five or six years seems to have their act well and truly together: no mistakes I could find in all that time, either by inspecting the vehicles myself, or from related problems down the line. I did have a guilty moment once, though: the service writer came strolling by as I was checking the work! He could see right away what i was doing, and asked like it was perfectly routine if there was any problem. I said "nope", and he said "great!" and gave me a big smile and kept on walking!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • zueslewiszueslewis Posts: 2,353
    except at Wal-Mart, and there's no choice. The back parking lot is right outside the bays. Oh, well.
  • tbonertboner Posts: 402
    I work on computers everyday, and I make (ok, ask) the customer to check it out and make sure I addressed their issue.

    If you did a good job, wouldn't you want to SHOW that to the customer?

  • I remember one time on my Benz diesel, my good friend's shop did the oil and filter. It is a cannister type where you topload a filter into an aluminum case with three bolts.

    Anyway, I drove out, hit the freeway ramp and the gas pedal jammed to the floor. This can be freaky in a diesel as they shut off by vacuum interrupting fuel flow (there is no ignition system).

    Anyway, I limped back to the shop and they discovered that the mechanic has forced a heater hose over the cannister to clear the lid, and unfortunately had wedged it into the throttle linkage.

    Well when my friend heard about he went totally ballistic, and he fired the guy right then and there (loudly and in front of everyone) and told him to pack up his roller. I felt really bad, and eventually, after an hour cool-off, he relented. The guy still works there but boy oh boy does he ever check his work!

    Can you imagine the liabilities of this situation?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,350
    It's probably a good thing that happened to you, who knew what to do, than to someone else without a clue.

    Talk about a freak thing though...
  • What was freaky was that on part throttle the linkage would not interfere, only when you floored it, then it jammed. So I never noticed it leaving the shop.

    Another common disaster is on Saabs. On some models, the oil pan plug and transmission plug are a) right next to each other, and b) similar in size and shape.

    Yep, you guessed it. All the transmission oil is drained, and the engine gets 10 quarts of oil and then the car leaves the shop with an empty transmission and a puking engine.

    I ALWAYS have to check my Benz after an oil change because it takes 7 quarts. Some Porsches take 12 (dry sump system).
  • Whats wrong with poping the hood and doing a 10 second look over for the bleeding obvious. Old rag hanging over the fan, missing oil cap, tools etc..

    You have paid to have the work done and done right. Everyboby makes mistakes and if they don't then they have made another by not knowing they do. If a person is competant then they should have no problem with a once over gaze under the hood. Like nippononly's moment. I say so what.

    Really, it is your property and the one who has to deal with the future monatary consequences and you are the one that will be driving it in traffic.

    Like the time i pulled into traffic after an oil change only to have a big ole clunking, banging, thrashing noise followed by a filter wrench skating out from under the car into the other lane and thinking what the ....

    In my old line of work, hooking up half million dollar medical equipment, i welcomed and requested a second opinion. Hey it is easier to fix a wiring problem before you turn it on.
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