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Engine Locked Up - Too Much Oil?

jmg_brownjmg_brown Member Posts: 1
edited May 2014 in Pontiac

Sorry, there is some unnecessary info, but I am trying to give as much info as I can.

2007 Pontiac Grand Prix
On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 I had an oil change performed at (what I thought was) a reputable mechanic shop. I paid for an oil change and for the air filter to be changed and the owner was not there. The next day (Wednesday, April 9th) I drove my daughter to school, about 1.5 miles away. I went straight home and did not leave my house until it was time to pick her up from school. On my way to pick her up I was hit by a truck that did not stay in its lane. It was not a major accident and after information was exchanged I was able to drive to pick her up and head home. I only left again to take her to an activity about 10 miles away and back home.

By Thursday, April 10th I drove my daughter to school again and picked her up again. After picking her up from school I went to a grocery to meet a relative about 2.5 miles away and waited about 20 minutes. As I proceeded to drive away from my parking spot the car started to shake uncontrollably. I was not on empty, but I was low on gas so I managed to turn the car around and put gas in at the store gas station. I was thinking that MAYBE my gauge was messed up because my mom had recently had the same problem. It was still shaking so bad that I immediately took it to the same mechanic that performed my oil change. The owner said that he had to put it on the machine and that it would take 30-45 minutes. After waiting about an hour he said he had some codes, but that he wanted to know exactly what it was before he told me so he needed to put it on a diagnostic machine (@$45/hr - this is with a discount) that would tell him precisely what it was. He said it would take about 45 minutes to perform. After waiting 2 more hours I went to find the owner to see what had happened. After a lot of back and forth he finally said that the diagnostic machine was not what he needed and that they needed to use a machine that dealt with the electrical aspects of the car (@65/hr - also this was discounted). They were about to close he let me know that I could drive it, but to bring it back the next morning. I live in the neighborhood across the street so I went across the street to take my daughter to her game with the car still shaking. After speaking with another mom she let me know that he husband (on the same street of the field) that her husband could look at it. He listened to it at the field and said that it sounded like it was in really bad need of a tune-up. So we drove the car 4 blocks down the street and left it for the night. According to my husband he called to let him know the car was ready and after it turned on it immediately turned off. The guy let my husband know that the motor was locked up. We towed the car to my parents house (also on the same street).

On Friday, April 11th I did not do anything.
Saturday, April 12th I decided to call to see if there was anything the mechanic could do to give me a 2nd opinion. Again, the owner was not there, but I was told by his dad to speak with his brother. His brother came to my parents house after the shop was closed. He looked things over with my husband and let him know that he was sure the engine was not locked up and that it as the starter. They agreed that he would come out the next day to fix it. On Sunday, April 13th he text me, but never responded after I said to go ahead and come over. On Monday, April 14 I called the shop and an employee let me know that the brother was unreachable and the owner was busy in a meeting. Finally, she called me back to let me know the owner stepped out to say that I could have the car turned on with a computer (@$65) or they could tow it for ($100) and that they could put it on the machine (@$65/ hour but they could not determine how long it was going to take - I asked for a round about time because I didn't have the money to pay too much extra and they said usually around 3 hours and they put a portion of the amount to the labor). The next day (Tuesday, April, 15) I talked to the owner and he said the same thing. I had talked about taking the car myself and leaving the keys. I did not end up taking the car because I knew that even if we found out what was wrong with the car, I would not have the extra money to fix the problem after paying for the diagnosis. The car has stayed in the same spot.

On Wednesday, May 14th I was talking to a family friend and he let me know that he knew someone that would be able to give me an answer. After looking at the car his initial reaction was that there was about 2 quarts too much oil in there and it was really thick and black. He said that he would continue to check everything else over, but the oil was definitely not a good thing. He checked my starter and also took it to get it checked and said that I definitely needed a new starter, but that he did not think that was the entire problem. After changing the starter the car still did not turn on. He let me know that after trying to make something turn (he explained it more in detail) he saw that yes, I did need a starter, but the engine was the problem. He let me know that he tried to check that as a last resort because that is really expensive, but after checking it he was certain it was from the oil change.

1.)Is there anyway for me to prove that the mechanic shop is liable for these damages?
2.)Is there anything else that would cause the oil to turn so black and thick?
3.)Can anyone offer me any advice on how to proceed?

Yes, the last guy and my friend offered some suggestions, but I am looking to see if anyone can offer any new ideas so that I can be prepared when I talk to this guy because he talks a REALLY good game.
I know it has been about a month, but I know they have to have documented to mileage to calculate the estimated time for my next recommended oil change.


  • cmhj2000cmhj2000 Member Posts: 381
    edited May 2014

    Your post is so long I skipped over most of it. Too many personal details to bother with.

    Your problem might be anti-freeze in the oil, which would make it over filled. But highly unlikely too much oil will lock an engine.

    Hydro-locking can occur when fluids get into the combustion chamber.

    Check the coolant level to be sure you don't have other issues. Anti-freeze in the oil will cause all sorts of issues including locked or spun bearings.


  • imidazol97imidazol97 Member Posts: 27,007

    The running rough may have been coolant leaking into the intake and getting into the oil sump through leaking gaskets. That would explain the rise in oil level. The coolant leaking in can foul the plugs and cause the rough running and eventual stalling out.

    The coolant also can flow into the combustion chamber while the car is stopped and hydrolock the engine. The piston cannot go up. The engine will not crank over. Sometimes damage is done to the piston/rod when this happens.

    Check the coolant level in the reservoir tank AND in the radiator by taking off the cap. If the radiator is low that may help verify the coolant leak.

    It sounds like the first garage is interested in making money with diagnosis rather than common sense.
    Find another garage fast. Preferably one with high recommendations from coworkers/friends/neighbors.

    I assume the engine is a 3800 with or without supercharger.

    2014 Malibu 2LT, 2015 Cruze 2LT,

  • blackout96blackout96 Member Posts: 1
    I know that this is an old thread but on the contrary, too much oil can cause it to lock up. when you have too much oil, it essentially just becomes foamy because it cannot be pumped as efficiently so it just gets churned up and cannot lubricate properly. while it is unlikely that it would cause such an extreme outcome, it can happen. also correct me if I'm wrong but coolant in the oil causes it to become white and milky not extremely black.
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