Oil change/fiascos

david4862david4862 Member Posts: 11
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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 Member 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 Member 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.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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.
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    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 Member 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 AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    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!

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    except at Wal-Mart, and there's no choice. The back parking lot is right outside the bays. Oh, well.
  • tbonertboner Member 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?

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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 WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    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...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    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).
  • moonshadowmoonshadow Member Posts: 256
    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.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    To check things over after an oil change. It is NOT a good idea to do this in front of the guy who did the work.

    Someone once left a shop rag on top of my engine. If course, it caught on fire. no damage done but I made sure the shop got to see the remains of it.
  • moonshadowmoonshadow Member Posts: 256
    I'm not gonna go get the guy and have him watch me pop the hood, however, when i get to my car in the parking lot, before i move it, i do a quick walk around looking for dents etc. and before i start it i pop the hood a do a quick look.

    Once it is off there lot you are on your own, I find it much easier to avoid a problem in the first place. My oil wrench story: went back and buddy says in must have been on the road and i hit it and it bounced around under the car and flew back out. I said that all i wanted to do was to return his professional grade oil wrench but since it wasn't his then its mine now and threw in the trunk and drove off. The stunned look and homer simpson eyes he gave me was priceless. Never went back.

    I don't see the problem in checking out what you have and what you paid for. If you go to a barber, do you think buddy gonna get peeved if you look in the mirror before you walk. If someone paints your house, is it bad taste to look at it before he packs up.

    I go to a tire shop that tells you with a big sign on the door to check your hubcaps for proper installation before you go. They're not insecure about someone checking their work and it covers their butt by putting the onus on you if you come back with a missing hubcap. If you're standing in front of a bay window and see buddy jackhammer starting your lug nuts with an air ratchet or beating the crap out of them without a torque stick, are you gonna say something. Why are people so afraid of hurting these poor fragile auto mechanics feelings. If they do a decent job then they have nothing to worry about.

    The thing is, most people, especially the ones that troll these boards, care about their wheels and are gonna look at it, not just to check it over but also to see the new shiny bits. So big deal if you look at it in their lot or in your own driveway.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    Oh, I look at it right in front of the people who did the work. I have no problem with this, I invite them to "show me what you did". I always remember to praise them if it all looks good.
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    If I hang a picture for my wife, she is going to look at it before I put my tools away, LOL.

  • sstepasstepa Member Posts: 9
    My 99 GLS V6 2.8 manual calls for 5.7 quarts of oil WITH filter but I noticed a post here calling for 6.3 quarts with filter. I do my own oil changes (I know, last of a dying breed)and sure enough, I always have to put 6.3 quarts in. VW says my manual is correct but can't explain why it takes 6.3, even after the one time I had them do it and they installed 6.3!

    To top things off, they never tightened/installed the plastic clips for the bottom engine cover and the thing fell off while doing 60 on the way home. Talk about scaring the bejeebers out of you with that racket. Went back and the dealer made good on a new shield. Stuff happens.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    the time I got my car back after tire rotation (among other things), and they had left not one but two lug nuts off, and then they couldn't find them! The guy actually directed me down the road to the car parts place where I could get some replacements! Last time at that place...

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    Since he lost them, just "suggest" that he take them off HIS car to replace the ones he lost and then HE can drive down there and get replacements. (Not really, but you get the idea.)

    What are these folks thinking?

    Speaking of not thinking...


  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    If the shop lost my lug nuts and then tried to send ME down the road to the auto parts house, I'd have to do something silly like call the police and file a report for property theft.

    At least I'd make a big enough stink to have them do the leg work.
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    and I wasn't clear "prolly" cause I had been up since 3am the previous day was I really wouldn't want his lugnuts (watch it)

    But rather, how would he like to drive down there missing a few...

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I didn't catch the part where you'd drive to the auto parts store with missing lug nuts - some shop guys just don't get it, I guess.
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    How to post without enough coffee or sleep 8^)

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I've had 4 Diet Cokes now and I'm plugging away at reports, so I guess I could be considered coherent.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I listened to that Car Talk clip and couldn't believe what I heard!

    Could that guy have been for real?
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
  • tbonertboner Member Posts: 402
    those who haven't heard it yet.

    When I get home, I'll e-mail you a synopsis.

    Or you could install RealPlayer...

  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    I guess it was all my security stuff, who knows.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    You wrote:
    "Assuming that you do have an oil sludging problem (and no engine seizure), how do you repair the problem? Can you flush the system without using additives with a normal oil change (such as those discussed on bobistheoilguy, etc)?"

    If your problem is advanced enough to get an intermittent oil light that's coming on more frequently, I don't think the alleged cleaning provided by a synthetic oil change is going to cut it.

    There are guys on other forums that swear by the Auto Rx treatment as a cure for the sludge problem. They've said that the stuff cured their oil light issues and restored the engine to a spotless condition internally. You can find them on some other forums (Edmunds frowns on posting links to other forums - so I can't lead you there). Google B5 & Passat.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I won't wreck it for you. but the guy was serious about an oil change "shortcut," and you have to hear it.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    There is nothing wrong with checking the work in front of them. I would think that they'd have to expect it these days.
    I had an elderly gentleman who brought his vehicle to me every month. It didn't matter how it ran or if there was no problem. He brought the vehicle in every month to be checked over and all the fluids topped off or whatever needed changed.
    But any time that I replaced anything ot worked on anything, when he came to pick up the car, he would pop the hood, look over everything and then walked around the whole car.
    Did he think I did something wrong? No.
    Did he think that I was dishonest? No.
    He once asked if it bothered me that he checked over his car and I told him that if it were mine, I would do the same thing.

    If your mechanic is bothered by you looking over the work, then you should find another mechanic.
    I encourage folks to check out the repairs they have had done. When I do work, I usually tried and show them the repairs or had someone go over what was replaced/repaired with them.
  • sstepasstepa Member Posts: 9
    Use any search engine of your choice and plug in VW recall # 01V157002 or Audi # 01V157. You may be affected even if your car is not part of the recall. If you have had problems with your fuel gauge, note that VW used the same part on 98-01 models but is selectively recalling certain cars, not all. Call the 800 VW customer number and pursue if you are impacted.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I've met some outstanding mechanics that were Prima Donnas...I know you know what I mean.

    Some of these guys would probably get their feathers ruffled just a bit if someone checked their work in front of them.

    That's why I suggested doing this a bit more discretly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    You know, I'm with Isell on this one. The prima donna's problem is the prima donna's problem, not mine. If their fragile eggshell ego can't take the idea of me just LOOKING at my own car, I can't say that this inspires confidence in me.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastMember Posts: 1,712
    Like I said, I encourage folks to see what has been done.
    I cannot imagine any mechanic in their right mind getting upset about someone checking their work.
    I do understand what you mean about the prima donnas. I have worked with some and had some work for me.
    I don't care how good a mechanic anyone is, they are still human and make mistakes. Personally, I would rather that if it did happen, the customer was right there and not in the middle of the interstate. As much as a person can try, no on is perfect and when you have a ton of things to accomplish in a day, mistakes can happen.
    This is what happens when oil starvation strikes.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    positively ugly. much cheaper to retouch the photos than fix the engine ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    I once knew a top notch mechanic who quit his long term job because he was too embarassed to continue.

    He did a lowly oil change and forgot to put oil back in the engine. The elderly couple failed to see, smell or hear the sounds of impending doom.

    Finally, they could ignore the knocking no longer and headed back to the shop.

    It was a Buick Electra (what else?) with 15,000 miles on it. The engine was toast.

    The shop's insurance paid, the mechanic at fault did the comeback work. The next day, he packed his tools and left in shame. Too bad.

    This CAN happen to the best!
  • zueslewiszueslewis Member Posts: 2,353
    with a tech who worked for me in 1998. Chevrolet S-10, started it after the oil change, left it running while washing hands, came back to 5 guys gathered around it while it was knocking and choking..we shut it off, of course, but not like it mattered.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    I put the five quarts of oil on the radiator and/or radiator fill panel. no way could I close the hood without moving the oil jugs.

    but it doesn't work quite that way with the alemite-type fillers.

    if I had to work in an iffy-lube or something to keep ends together, I'd put my cap on the engine until I oiled it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    I remember one time I was living in a boat harbor and this lady a neighbor comes up to me and asks me about her truck. She said she was driving home from the oil change place and the car suddenly started to lose power up a hill, so she downshifted and then it finally "stopped". She got towed the 1/2 mile to the harbor and could I look at it?

    Open the hood....looks okay. Check dipstick...nothing on it. Hmmmm...

    Peek under the car....see rod punched through the oil pan.

    Did you hear anything ma'am? Nope. Smell anything? Nope.

    It just ran funny.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    if you don't have oil, nothing else matters
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    a popular oil change outlet i use for company vehicles uses the team method when changing the duke.the top guy is always communicating to the pit guy.the top guy goes through a checklist with the pit guy and the guy under the hood.then finally as you are seated in the car,the guy checks the oil and "shows"you the dip stick and oil level.nice approach and you are out the door in ten minutes.
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