By on April 29, 2015

 

2009-dodge-challenger-r-t-digital-oil-pressure-gauge

Not to worry? (photo courtesy: internetautoguide.com)

TTAC Commentator r129 writes:

Hello Sajeev,

My 2012 Impala with 20,000 miles was due for an oil change, something that I was too lazy to do myself, especially in winter weather. I know, I should know better. I went to a reputable quick oil change establishment (if such a thing exists) that uses name-brand dexos1 approved oil. Everything went as expected, until I drove away. Just after I pulled out of the parking lot, the “Low Oil Pressure – Turn Engine Off” warning light came on. Before I managed to safely pull over, the engine stalled out, and I coasted into a parking spot. There were no unusual noises before the car stalled. We are talking a time span of maybe 30 seconds after leaving the parking lot, and a distance of less than a block.

Damn! This is the kind of thing that happens to people on the internet, not to me!

I walked back to the place, told them what happened, and I noticed a trail of oil leading out of the garage door where I exited. They filled up a container of oil, grabbed some items, and we walked to my car. After poking around, they told me that the filter was defective (it looked like someone had punched a hole in it with a screwdriver), but I’ll never know if they just punched a hole in it to cover up some other cause. They replaced the filter, filled up the engine with oil, and tried to start the car a couple of times. Nothing. It didn’t even try to turn over, just a “click” sound. We walked back to the shop, and at this point, I’m thinking that the oil change place is going to be paying to replace my engine. I waited while they called the store manager. I was assured that they would tow my car, any repairs would be covered in full, even if I needed a new engine, and they would provide a rental car.

But wait! The manager suggested trying one more thing. Disconnect the battery, wait 5 minutes, and try starting the car again. The rationale was that maybe the engine had shut itself down into some sort of “safe mode,” and needed to be “reset.” I was skeptical, but we walked back to the car, tried it, and it cranked up. The engine sounded normal, and I drove it back to the shop. They drained the oil, refilled it to the proper specs, checked the OBD codes, and proclaimed that the car was “okay.” I was given a copy of an incident report that was filled out detailing what happened, credited for the cost of the oil change, and sent on my way. I argued that the car should be checked out by a third party to be sure that there is no damage. The manager told me that if there was anything wrong with the car, they would be responsible for the repairs, but if nothing was wrong, they probably wouldn’t pick up the cost of having it checked out. At this point, I just wanted to get out of there after nearly 2 hours, so I left. Everything seemed normal on the drive home, but after scouring the internet for advice, I think I’m supposed to be scared.

Is there any type of safety net that takes effect to prevent serious damage to the engine in the case of a sudden loss of oil? I don’t know enough about it, and Google is not giving me any good answers. If not, why did the engine start up the second time? How worried should I be? Most importantly, should I have the car checked out, and if so, what should be checked? Any advice is appreciated.

Sajeev answers:

Engine computers are a beautiful thing: they “listen to sensors” and are programmed to make decisions based upon sensor’s inputs. Even small engines do this cool trick.

That said, you should’ve insisted on a tow back to their shop: disconnecting the battery to clear the system defeats this safety measure, which could cause more engine wear, if not engine damage. But it sounds like you are fine, just don’t do that again. 

Your Impala is one of the many modern vehicles that turns off the engine when the computer reads troubling information from the oil pressure sensor. And it’s a sensor (detailed information), not a switch (good/bad pressure) like the bad old days of idiot lights. So the computer can notice a significant drop in oil pressure in seconds, cut power to the fuel pump and save the engine (and the car, as it depreciates) to drive another day.

I’m looking for a catchy name for this “low oil pressure engine shut down” technology, but googled nothing. Rest assured, you lost some (not all) of your oil pressure and the system saved you from serious damage. Don’t worry about it. Perhaps next time personally check the oil level before leaving their shop, if that makes you feel better!

What say you, Best and Brightest?

Send your queries to [email protected]com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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122 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Low Oil Pressure Safety Net?...”


  • avatar
    DenverMike

    You absolutely have to check the oil level right after any shop services your car or truck, ESPECIALLY those quicky change artists. They’ll deny the claim if you’re 2 weeks ‘down the road’. And there is no rental truck, if it’s a specialized rig.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      In this case checking the oil while the car was sitting in the service bay would not tell you anything; unless the shop left the crankcase drain plug out the dip stick would show oil in the pan. The problem occurred when the engine ran, built up oil pressure, and then pumped the oil out of a leaking filter.

      Lots of things can go wrong with an oil change, and some of those things won’t happen right away: drain plug not tightened or cross threaded, leaking oil filter or gasket, wrong oil used, wrong oil amount, etc. Some of those things can show up while the car is in the service bay, some months later. It can be a crap shoot.

      For that reason would argue that using a major chain to have your oil change done has two advantages: the chains have deep pockets (and good insurance) if they do screw up, and they are not in business to sell you a new engine. ANY shop can make a mistake; it happens. If Bob the local mechanic makes an error that costs you an engine does he have the cash, insurance, and attitude to replace it with a new motor? Will Bob insist on doing the replacement/repair with parts of his choosing and on his schedule? At least the major chain used by the OP had a plan and the resources to make it right (using a third party) if a new engine had been called for.

      FWIW the OP’s engine should be fine; engine parts can run gently for a short time without oil pressure (remember the old Slick 50 TV commercials showing an engine running with NO oil?) and the computers in modern cars are amazingly good at protecting the engine from this kind of incident.

      • 0 avatar
        scottcom36

        And this is why my shop teacher, thirty years ago, taught us to run the car for 10 minutes and check for leaks.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        FWIW, even the major chains are mostly franchised stores. So your recourse is against the local businessperson who owns the franchise, not the “deep pockets” of Jiffy Lube corporate headquarters. But any entrepreneur who has been in business more than a few months is probably carrying enough insurance to cover the cost of an engine – if you can prove that they are liable.

        http://www.wikihow.com/Open-a-Jiffy-Lube-Franchise

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          Don’t know who paid, and I still use the cheap oil change places, but only the ones where I know they have a lot of gearheads rather than snotnoses working there. And I do check the oil before I leave and after I get home, about ten minutes away.

          But when I had a diesel stickshift 82 Rabbit, and took it to a Jiffy Lube, before I was so paranoid, I let them do their thing…then left…revving way up to get to 5 mph. Shifted to second, revved up and achieved about 12 mph. Similar with third, and when I hit fourth, I could slowly get all the way to about thirty mph.

          And it would rev all over the place, relative to road speed in any particular gear.

          Straight back to the Jiffy Lube…I knew what happened before they told me, and they knew I knew too.

          Told them that they must have put oil into the inspection hole in the transmission bell housing, and right on to the clutch plates.

          BINGO. It was driveable to the house, and it was a Saturday afternoon with all the local rental agencies closed for the weekend.

          They agreed to fix it on Monday morning and to have a rental car ready for me for the day.

          Which they did. And the car ran even a bit better, perhaps, because I had close to a 100K on the clutch, and now had a new one. But it wasn’t my fault they had a guy who thought a bell housing was an engine block, and they knew it.

          Ever since, check on the tarmac at the shop; check at the house after a short drive. And always get to know what type of guys work there. Now I have two places I play off of each other for oil change coupons, and both have gearheads working in them. One guy even has a nicely modded older car.

          But I still take my car to a great independent mechanic who has proven trustworthy over the years for any major work, including brakes…not trusting that to Joe the Ragman mechanic. Not with my rear end and those of the ones I love riding in the car.

          But don’t worry if they do screw up your car…first they don’t dare not pay because of what it would do to their reputation, and second, they know they would lose worse in court.

          Though I would only count on this for a chain…I still think some hole in the wall oil change place might just decide to go move his toolbox to another garage or something.

          I think this kind of thing is rare, but it certainly does happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      It may not have helped in this case since it was leaking as he drove and the oil was under pressure leaving a trail. My guess is they didn’t check for a stuck oil filter gasket or didn’t tighten the drain plug properly.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        Years ago I changed the oil in my wifes then-fairly new 74 Gran Torino. I did not realize that the filter gasket had remained stuck to the engine and screwed on the new filter. She drove the car for a day or two and then while cruising along, noticed the oil light come on. In the mirror she saw smoke boiling out from under the car. She put it in neutral and killed the engine then coasted to the curb. I drove over with a tow chain and dragged the car back home. I replaced the filter, filled it back up with oil and started it up. The engine was fine and never showed any ill effects. She saved it by turning it off quickly. Back then, we probably could not have afforded to have the engine replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not just checking the oil level, but giving it a once over for obvious malfukkups.
      Every one of the quicky lube goofs drive past has a trail of oil leading down the street.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        And even one that never makes a mistake will, since they have a constant train of cars, and looooots of older (and newer) cars have wee oil leaks…

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          I discovered once that a 1958 Plymouth 318 engine can pump virtually all of its oil onto the lube-room floor in just a few seconds if the oil filter gasket isn’t seated correctly.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    These things are unfortunate. A friend took her low mileage 2003 Focus in for an oil change to Walmart and they didn’t even put the new oil filter back on. She didn’t make it very far before it locked up and Walmart paid for a new engine.
    The thing that people forget or dont realize is in general these people are barely competent to do an oil change. You may get a good tech once in a while but the pay scale dictates they probably won’t be around for long.

  • avatar

    Your engine is probably okay, but I’d still get it checked out by a reputable mechanic. The cost of the diagnosis is worth the peace of mind. Plus if there is something wrong, you’re much more likely to get the oil change place to pay for it a few days or a weeks after the incident.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      How would you truly diagnose it other than tearing it down and inspecting the crank and rod bearings? Unless you have an engine with similar mileage on it to compare, how can you tell what wear is acceptable and what isn’t for that engine? Having it checked out is all good and well in theory, but I don’t see a practical way to make an OK or no good judgment that the oil change place is going to accept.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Spot on Quentin, a proper diagnosis would require an engine tear down with the added headaches that go along with any complex process.

        I wouldn’t be so worried about the mains and rods as they have bearings to protect them, however many modern engines do not use cam bearings and instead rely solely on the thin film of pressurized oil that are the actual bearings ( the crank and rod bearings are really designed for intermittent contact )

        Anyways this just reinforces my notion that basic maintenance is best performed by the owner. I’d rather lay down in a piss filled ditch wrapped in copper wire during a thunderstorm than let even the dealership perform maintenance on my car.

        I’ve heard to many bad stories even from dealerships as basic maintenance is time consuming and pays poorly making it a waste of time forcing techs to take short cuts in order to get to better paying jobs.

        • 0 avatar
          Exfordtech

          Flat rate time for an LOF at a Ford dealer is .3 hours. That’s 18 minutes. In that time you are dispatched the job, get the keys, find the car in the lot, bring it to your bay, go to the parts counter and get filter (and drain plug gasket if needed), have the oil gun activated for the amount of oil you need, change the oil, check/set tire pressures, lube latches and hinges, check lights/wipers, top off fluids, provide a 29 point inspection, and return the vehicle to the lot and turn the keys and repair order to the dispatcher. Any wonder why a tech has incentives to find shortcuts?

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            I was a Dealer Mechanic and they always used an oil gun that ratcheted , you were supposed to check the dip stick after changing the oil but I never once saw the Lube Man do that and yes , I checked plenty almost always at least 1/2 quart low .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            One advantage of the Kwik-E-Lube type places is that you’re typically in the car, so they make a show of that dipstick check.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        This. Ask a mechanic to inspect it and he’ll give it a listen. If it sounds good and shows proper oil pressure, he’ll advise you that it’s fine. You really don’t want him to tear it down for this. Just run it.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        How about checking for damage with a Used Oil Analysis (UOA)? Don’t they show if there is abnormal wear or damaged parts?

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    Good to know. Do you know how long cars have been equipped with this system?

    Our son visited us a few weeks ago, a 200 kilometer drive. For some unknown reason I checked his motor oil. Unable to get a reading on the dipstick I poured 4.5 liters of new oil into the engine, a 2005 Dodge Caravan, 3.3 engine, 4.7 liter oil capacity.

    He’s put several hundred kilometers on the van since. There’s no apparent ill effect. Sounds like Chrysler built reserve capacity into the crankcase, or God smiled. Don’t know which, but we’re grateful.

    • 0 avatar
      PRNDLOL

      Cripes!

    • 0 avatar
      Mathias

      This happens. My dad, who’s otherwise compos mentis, forgot to change the oil in his ’95 Ford Mondeo for something like two years. They moved six years ago, and since he wasn’t driving past his usual dealership any longer, it just slipped his mind.
      Near as I could tell from filling up with fresh oil and checking the level, there were maybe 1.5 liters of oil left.

      The lifter tick went away, and the car soldiered on for another couple years before he replaced it.. at which point the engine was still fine.

      Not that I’d recommend this type of treatment, but at least some engines are quite tolerant of neglect.

      • 0 avatar
        3XC

        My former next door neighbor had a beater Mazda B2200 pickup. After my father and another neighbor discovered that the oil had not been changed in almost 2 years, they went ahead and drained the oil pan and about a quart of molasses came out.

        The Mazda’s owner took their advice to heart and began performing oil changes; he used the drained used oil from my other neighbor’s Ram truck in doing so. Apparently after you drain conventional oil that has gone 5000 miles in a 5.9 Magnum engine, it will go another 5000 in a Mazda 4 cylinder.

        The Mazda truck eventually hit 200,000 miles by the way. Where it ended up is a mystery. Caveat emptor I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Thats the kind of story that can make one nervous when buying a used car.

          Years ago, when I lived near Atlanta, the newspaper had an advice column similar to this one, only people used snail mail to ask questions and saw the answer in the newspaper.

          A guy wrote in saying (in so many words) that he had a better way to do an oil change on his nearly-new-at-the-time Chevy Blazer. He proceeded to tell about how after he allows the oil to drain, he’d crank the engine and let it run for 20-30 seconds “to get the rest of the oil out”.

          The advisor told him (as nicely as he could) that he was likely doing major engine damage each time he did this, and that oil, by way of gravity and design, always drains to the lowest point (the oil pan) and, other than in the filter which is being replaced anyway, virtually no oil will “hide” in the engine when the drain plug/filter is removed. He further advised him that it was unethical to sell or trade in the Blazer as is, as the engine’s life was likely significantly shortened. Im sure the bozo took that advice, lol. I feel for the person who ended up with the Blazer after Mr. Better Idea dumped it. Hopefully the engine failed before he got rid of it, thereby leaving him responsible for his stupidity.

          • 0 avatar
            gzuckier

            Heh. Back in the day, when you could rent a bay in a do-it-yourself garage facility for $2 an hour (seems amazing now), there was indeed a guy with some big Mopar land yacht with a 383 or similar who did just that; unsatisfied with the speed at which the oil was draining, he got the bright idea of firing it up. Still don’t know why he thought that would make it drain faster, but I guess you have one dumb idea, you’re at risk to have more. Anyway, virtually everybody in the place instantly leapt in his direction from whatever they were doing on their car, screaming ‘Nooooooooooo!”

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      We owned a 2000 Impala with the 3400 for almost 7 years. My father neglected the oil changes big time. He went 40,000 miles (That’s right, 40k) between changes, and then went 30k before the next one. I changed the oil on the last one- we sold it to an automotive rebuilder, on the grounds that it would need an engine.

      The “oil” looked worse than toxic sludge, and the filter was welded on there, but I got through it. I was able to drive the car 30 miles to the buyer- and to anyone who didn’t know the car, it sounded and looked just fine.

      Credit where it’s due- GM builds good engines!

  • avatar
    50merc

    My experience has been that shops are more likely to overfill the engine. I’d like to see manufacturers label the oil filler cap with the amount of oil the engine needs.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      ” I’d like to see manufacturers label the oil filler cap with the amount of oil the engine needs.”

      Such a simple concept, why don’t they do this? All of my motorcycles have the oil capacity stamped right into the crankcase.

      Fascinating to hear about these sensors and automatic engine shutoff, I love it! Never heard of this before, but truly an example of real progress brought about by what on the surface may seem as simply increased complexity with no real benefit. Likewise oil life monitoring is pretty neat, although I like still having a dipstick to actually confirm by color/smell what the car is telling me. BMW and the like have deprived owners of that option.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        Yes, many years ago I started writing “oil plug wrench size” and “crankcase capacity” on the top of the engine or similar surface under the hood. I think I will add oil grade to that. For that matter, I think the military does it right: at each wheel the correct tire pressure; at fuel filler the correct fuel grade, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          ScarecrowRepair

          I always got a kick out of seeing the tires on F-4 Phantoms labeled “450 psi on ship, 350 psi on land.”

          Someone said they were 32 ply tires. You could stand on the carcass of a dead tire and hardly bend the sidewall.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You don’t have enough oil quantity or pressure, a modern BMW won’t even start. And the oil looks/smells the same at 500 miles as it does at 15,000 miles in my experience. I trust the computer.

        Do you miss being able to hand-crank the engine to start it too?

        Agree on the oil quantity label though.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          “Trust but verify” khrodes1. I like having a transmission dipstick as well. And on my motorcycles, a kick starter is always a plus. If I was making some sort of ultimate expedition vehicle, yes an emergency hand crank starter would be a useful feature. I actually have had some experience with a car with a backup crank starter, my father’s old ZAZ 966.

          I also like being able to change my own battery without having the computer re-set by the dealer, but BMWs are too ‘smart’ for that.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            You can change your own battery on a BMW. You just need to have the right tool for the job. Just like countless other jobs on a modern car – or even an old car, I had to buy a set of Whitworth wrenches for my Triumph. You can even get the software to do the reset for free. ~$25 for an ODB-USB cable. <1min to register the battery. Oh the humanity, such an inconvenience.

            The reality is 99% of people don't actually bother to check their oil. Some huge percentage don't even know how. I'd just as soon let the computer deal with it, that is the sort of thing they are good at. Does it tirelessly, every time you turn the car on, and even while you are driving. Even tells you if the sensor goes bad.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            BMW’s are too smart for their own good.

            Why would I own a car that has to have the dealer get paid to change it?

            Never gonna get a BMW unless it is something like the 2002tii, which might be the last really honest car they ever made.

        • 0 avatar
          smartascii

          Mmm. I dunno about that. I had my oil changed last week, and the car (2011 328) is telling me that I have 19,000 miles before the next one is due. But what I know from past experience is that at some point before that number of miles has elapsed, it will ding at me and demand a quart of whatever synthetic elixir BMW specifies. I’ve never driven more than a mile after that happens, and when I open the oil cap to add said quart, it’s smoking in there. When asked, the dealership personnel tell me with their mouths that it’s perfectly fine to follow BMW’s prescribed service intervals, but their eyes say to change it more frequently, so I do.

        • 0 avatar
          SatelliteView

          Good answer:) but i bet he’ll counteract with “dip stick works best for me” :)

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      I managed a (franchise) Jiffy Lube for a number of years, before I got out due to ethical concerns. The company software splatters the manufacturers oil capacity all over the workstation screens any time a vehicle is in. National corporate policy was to pump the spec quantity, run the car, then check the dipstick and top off to the “full” line.

      Also, we saw the same engines day in and day out. Any lube shop employee has memorized the oil capacity of the Camry 2.4 and other common engines.

      That said, we only paid minimum wage, so we were constantly understaffed and did not have the luxury of turning away applicants, even if they were illiterates, jr. high dropouts, or not-quite-functional alcoholics. Some of them were simply unwilling to be trained, so as a manager your only option was to assign them to the pit, where they wouldn’t be seen by customers and theoretically couldn’t cause as much damage. Upstairs techs in a hurry for their next cigarette break would see an oil spec of 5.5qt, mentally add 1/2 quart for the filter, pump 6-ish, and then drive the car out of the bay without a stick check or leak check.

      And franchise upper management didn’t care how badly they fucked it up or how much product went missing, so long as the shop kept selling high-margin add-on services, like transmission flushes and fuel filter changes. Zero penalties for shop, staff, or manager-on-duty if a customer claim was filed.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I had my mom’s car’s oil changed many times in a Jiffy Lube or Valvoline Instant Oil Change and I don’t see how a real problem was even really possible. They started, or had me start it, watched the oil pressure gauge jump up or the oil light got out, and yell, “Pressure!” and the filter area was checked for leaks. The only thing I ever saw them do wrong was to put the wrong type of oil in my mom’s car once, they put in 10/40 when I told them to put in 20/50 (It was in Vegas in the summer). Other than that one minor error, I never had, and don’t know of anyone, whose had a problem at a quick oil change place. Now at a dealer, that’s another story.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +1 on that, 50merc. Toyota stealerships are terrible in this regard.

      In addition to making them drain the excess if they’ve badly overfilled it, remember to demand a refund on the cost of the unnecessary oil.

  • avatar
    r129

    Sajeev, thanks for publishing my question! Since this happened a while ago, I have a bit of follow-up. The oil change people did finally agree to have the car checked out by a mechanic at no charge, but it was an engine repair place that they have a relationship with. I was very skeptical of how unbiased that place would be, but took them up on the offer anyway. When I got there, the first thing the owner of the shop told me was, “We fix their screw-ups! This stuff happens all the time. Anything you need, they’ll pay for it, they’ve got a lot of money.” Anyway, his assessment was that there was nothing wrong, and that the engine shut itself down in time. It is reassuring to hear that you pretty much agree with this assessment.

    Later on, the check engine light kept coming on intermittently. I decided to take it to the dealer to see what the problem was, but didn’t tell the dealer about what happened at the oil change place, because that seemed like a good way to have any future warranty claim denied. They found the cause of the check engine light: loose battery cable. Since then, everything has been normal.

    From now on, I will be far more selective about where I have my oil changed! I already knew better than to go to Walmart, but I thought I would be okay at a place where they ONLY do oil changes. Guess not. The only places I’ll go now are my backyard, the dealer, or my trustworthy neighborhood mechanic.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Having a trustworthy independent shop is absolutely priceless, those guys live and die by their reputations and word of mouth travels fast. In the rural central PA community where he lives, my brother fixed a farmer’s GM truck one time (I think it was the speedometer?). A quick and easy job for him, but the farmer was so impressed that before my brother knew it, he had the farmer’s whole extended family bringing their vehicles in, and from there other farmers and their family members did the same. Folks like that are loyal, and the respect is definitely mutual. Honest work and fair prices are rewarded with good business with repeat customers who will refer their friends and family.

      • 0 avatar
        r129

        I definitely have a guy like that who I completely trust, and pretty much all of my family and friends go there now. The problem is, he is always so busy, you can’t even pull into his shop half the time. It almost feels like you’re being a bother if you go in for something like an oil change, and who knows how long it will take. But for actual repairs, yes, having a mechanic like that is priceless.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          Yeah, good honest shops tend to stay super busy once word gets out that they know what theyre doing and charge reasonable prices.

          That sounds like a good thing, but Ive seen it take its toll on the shop owner and technitions. One guy I know casually finally had to shut his shop down because he was so over worked and stressed out that it was affecting his health. He also said he was sick of having to tell people they would have to leave their car for a week or more because the shop was so overwhelmed that he was getting back logged that bad.

          Its a shame, but thats the way it goes sometimes.

          • 0 avatar
            tooloud10

            I’ve actually seen the same thing at a few shops, but still don’t quite understand it. If a business is consistently busier than they want to be, they either have to expand the operation, raise your rates, or burn themselves out.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      If you have the space and time it’s definitely worth it. I just got a new house with a garage and changing my oil is a breeze. So much better than when I was in a 3rd story apartment and had to drag my ramps and tools and stuff down.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      While I go to the quick lube type places (not Wally World) I never leave my vehicle alone. I stand in the bay and WATCH what they are doing. They always suggest the cool waiting room but I stay put! My truck takes an extra quart due to having an oil cooler (towing package) and its always funny to watch them put in one less, check the dipstick and realize the specs are correct, then add that last one. My buddy had one such place put the wrong oil in his truck, it didn’t cause any damage but the tell-tale was the oil pressure gauge showing incorrect pressure (might have been too high). Always happy when I see a gauge in the dash instead of just an idiot light.

      The more stories I hear like this the more I think that moving forward I’ll start doing my own oil changes. Less money and it will be done right. Just messy and kind of a pain, especially on my Nissan Z which requires removing lots of underbody aero bits plus getting some ramps to get under it. For my Dakota I’m pretty sure I can just slide under, its not lifted but has oversized tires which increases ground clearance.

    • 0 avatar
      sprkplg

      I used to have my oil changes done at quick lube places, but I finally realized that it takes just as much time to go there and wait around as it does for me to do it myself.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I find they do it faster than I can, for barely more money*, and I don’t have to crawl around under a car and deal with oil disposal.

        (* When I had my old Toyota pickup, the fast lube place would replace the air filter for *less than the NAPA filter itself cost* for a self-replace.

        So I let them do it every year or so.)

        • 0 avatar
          VolandoBajo

          The moral to that story is before you buy from NAPA at least get a second quote.

          Why do you think they could replace it cheaper? You were paying out the nose…

          Went looking for a horn relay for my wife’s Corolla…there’s a NAPA store a few blocks away…$82!!!

          Went to an Autozone…$12, I think.

          An Advance Auto Parts Store…a few bucks more, or less.

          One other chain. Also around ten to fifteen.

          So I go to another NAPA store, thinking they might have looked up the wrong part. Nope, some quote, to the penny.

          Finally, my wife found it at a well known website for parts, including performance parts. Just over $8 including shipping, plus I started getting coupons I can use when I start modding my Mercury.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            My local NAPA is on my list of vendors that I call when looking for a part. It’s usually the most expensive aside from dealerships, but occasionally it’s the best option.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        This is the main reason I DIY too. It takes less time for me to just do it myself than getting the car to a real shop. My schedule is so insane at times it is difficult to even keep an appointment. Plus I have two lifts in my garage, so it is perfectly painless anyway. Only exception is when I don’t have to pay for it. Had free maintenance on my ’08 Saab, and on my ’11 BMW. But once I have to pay, it is DIY.

        And this way I know the job is done correctly, with the correct materials.

    • 0 avatar
      gzuckier

      Another reason for having somebody competent and responsible change the oil is, that it’s the opportunity for a good look at things under the hood, and maybe under the car. Is there evidence of an oil leak or coolant leak? Is something dangling that looks like it shouldn’t? Is there a dead squirrel caught in the exhaust manifold? Etc. The guys down at the Oily Boid aren’t going to pay attention.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Sure beats the old “oil” light on the dash, which really meant “WARNING! ENGINE DESTRUCTION NOW IN PROGRESS!”

    Given the presence of oil in the bearings when you started and the fact you were just at the exit of the parking lot when it shut down, unless you were hot-rodding it through the lot, the existing remaining oil film should provide you adequate boundary layer for some minutes.

    I don’t know what a shop would do to “check out” an engine in this case, other than check actual oil pressure and listen for noises. I think the only way to really confirm whether damage occurred would be to pull and inspect all the rod and main bearings, inspect all the cam lobes, and pull the head and inspect all the cylinder walls.

    Your case is a little different (much newer car) but I had a colleague who had this happen to a 10 year old Honda Civic. I think he went a lot longer before discovering the issue. He wanted to know what to do; I recommended he fill the engine with the right amount of the right oil, and drive the car.

  • avatar

    If your paranoid you could send the oil out for analysis but my guess it would be fine. I did this to myself once (I missed the gasket and needed up stacked and leaking) engine was fine for 60 k probably more but I sold it off.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Was the filter that left its gasket a Fram? Ive seen them do it a lot. I use Motorcraft (made by Purolator) on all of my vehicles, even when I had an Isuzu Trooper and a Honda Accord. Ive never had an issue with the gasket detaching itself from the filter and remaining on the engine when using Motorcraft.

      My 95 Taurus has over 190k (I think like 195k but cant remember exactly). Since buying it a couple of years (almost) ago with around 180k, Ive used Motorcraft Synthetic Blend oil in the recomended weight (5W30) and a Motorcraft filter. After 4-5k miles, the oil I drain out is only a little darker than it was when I put it in, and it uses less than a half a quart during that time (I check it often to be sure). Im sure thats mostly coming from a very slight oil pan gasket leak, which isnt nearly bad enough to replace as I find no oil on the ground/driveway where the car is usually parked.

      My parent’s 2012 Taurus has been to the dealer twice for oil changes in 64k thus far, the rest Ive done myself. The first one was free from the dealer who sold the car new, and I had one done around 60k using a special Ford had going at the time. It wasnt to save money or hassel so much as it was so the mechanical bits of the car could be inspected by a professional who put it up on a lift (I use ramps of course). He came back to say the car may as well have 60 miles on it instead of 60k by the way everything looked.

  • avatar
    50merc

    Sajeev is right that computers can be wonderful. My owners manual says if the engine loses coolant the computer will selectively cut ignition to cylinders to turn them into just air pumps that will prevent overheating while the car can limp to a repair shop.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    “I’m looking for a catchy name for this “low oil pressure engine shut down” technology”

    How about: Low Flow, No Go

  • avatar
    skor

    If you shut down the engine immediately after you got the low oil pressure warning, I doubt much damage was done, if any at all. Years ago my friend had an old beat to hell Dodge Dart with the famous….or infamous, depending on your POV….slant six. The tin-worm had pretty much devoured the car body, but before he had the car junked we tried to destroy that slant six. We drained the oil and antifreeze, started her up and put a brink on the pedal. It ran for an hour before we gave up, turned it off and called the junk man.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The leaning tower of power shrugs off your abuse and laughs at your juvenile attempt to destroy it.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      My ex-boss also had one of these; and he and his friends decided to try driving it off a cliff to see if it would explode like it did in the movies.

      Not only did it not explode, but like you said, even after the radiator was busted and all the coolant leaked it, it still ran. I think they just beat it up with rocks and sticks and that was the end of it.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Years ago, a cousin (may he RIP) and I were scrapping cars. We ended up with a 1960s Dodge pickup with a slant six. The owner said it had been sitting since 1987 (it was mid-2000s at the time). We decided to take it back to his shop before hauling it to the crusher. Put a battery in it and the damn thing cranked up like it had been only sitting a week. We drove the truck up the hill towards his house (very, very rough road) and the bed was so rusted that it literally fell off. We beat around his property in it for a week or so, then we pulled the drivetrain and scrapped the rest of the truck (it was more rust than truck).

        I have no idea what my cousin ended up doing with that old 6. I know we tried to put it in an early Dodge Dakota, but it was too long. I read years later that Chrysler engineers tried the same thing in the early Dakota prototypes but ran into the same issue. They ended up deriving a V-6 out of their V-8 for use in the truck. Later, that V-6 replaced the slant in the full size Ram.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Holy mackerel! I’m sticking with my Chevy dealership for my services as they are very competitive, but I will pay closer attention every time I take it there after reading this.

    I’m thankful the car has an “early warning system”.

    As is plainly clear to many on here, I love my 2012 Impala dearly, and want it to last a very long time.

  • avatar
    jrmason

    Oil analysis is the only way to know what kind of damage if any was incurred. Of course the shop took the best evidence when they drained what was remaining but if you scored any soft can bearings or journals it is possible there will be trace elements in the oil now. You would have to take a sample at each oil change for the next several oil changes to establish a trend.

    I’m not so sure the engine cutting out is such a swift idea, esp in the name of safety. It saved the engine in this case but what about when your tooling down the road at 70mph or coming up on a busy intersection and have to stop. There are many instances where I would rather take my chances with an oil pressure light and give myself that extra minute to get off the road safely and risk losing an engine than to have the power cut abruptly and be left to fend for myself. If the car is totaled a good engine is useless anyhow.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Do a compression test and listen for knock under load. Good compression, no knocks, the engine is fine.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        A compression test isn’t going to tell you much in this instance. The first area to be affected by low/no oil is the top end, I.E. cam shafts, rocker arms, etc.
        Lots of destruction up top would take place before anything that affects compression.

        • 0 avatar
          skor

          Easy enough to check by pulling off a valve cover.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            What would you expect to see on an engine that is reportedly running fine?

            I’m no expert by any means but have rebuilt enough engines to know that failures and their causes aren’t always cut and dry. Failures are obviously easier to find but not necessarily the cause of said failure. One must really dissect and study an engine sometimes to determine the culprit.

            I still believe oil analysis is the best way to determine any future problems that may result from this incident but one would have to be pulled at every oil change to establish a trend in any potential wear metals.

            Or he can simply drive and hope for the best.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      I think an oil analysis would only be helpful if you have a baseline oil analysis done on the same car before the incident.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        If there are problems it will show up right away. You dont need a baseline to know elevated wear metals equals bad ju ju.

      • 0 avatar
        gzuckier

        There used to be a few companies that advertised mail order oil changes in the car mags, and I was still innocent enough to think that if I maintained my Fine Automobile properly I would be driving it the rest of my life, so I meticulously sent in samples for analysis every oil change. Gave it up eventually, because there wasn’t a single analysis that didn’t come back with something significantly odd and troubling in the report, carefully explained, and never the same thing twice. Too much zinc, probable bearing failure! Too much aluminum, cam journal failing! Too much water, excess condensation! Viscosity too low, oil breakdown! Etc. I tried a couple of different analysis places, same deal, so I just decided I wasn’t going to see anything real against this background noise. Engine was still going strong at 200K when the car went to Car Heaven.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    We are talking about a GM V6 right? I am not trying to belittle the situation here, but. The OP reports they drove half a block, in my mind call it 500 feet. A screw driver size hole in the filter will not vacate all five quarts of oil in that anount of time.

    I think we can all safely assume the 3800 GM engines in various iterations we see running around the streets of America in varying degrees of disrepair are not all fully topped off with the correct amount and viscosity oil. I generally assume half a crank case full of chainsaw bar oil and a filter that was last changed during the Bush administration.

    Say what you will about the GM product. But, one does really have to work at it to grenade one of their engines, or do any sort of damage that will leave a lasting impression on driveability of the motor.

    I am certain the OP has many years and miles ahead of them left with their Impala.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Naturally aspirated 3800s can run for 29 months half-filled on whatever swill you throw in it.

      However a 2012 Impala uses the 3.6 DOHC.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yes this new “High Feature” direct injected 3.6L DOHC V6 with integrated exhaust manifolds has absolutely nothing in common with the old pushrod 3800s that ply the ‘hood and wear like iron. In fact one theory for the cause of timing chain stretch issues that these new 3.6s have been experiencing is that too many consumers are used to their old pushrod Chevies that ran on any old swill for a year at a time without protest, year in and year out. These much longer OHC timing chains are significantly more sensitive to oil quality than the old pushrod motors.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        The only HF DOHC engine I have personal experience with (it is non-DI) has 240K miles on it and has never been touched (even has one original spark plug). It was fed a steady diet of Mobil 1 from new however, and changed every 10K miles.

        I thought the timing chain issue was only on the engines that get regular dino oil or the crap GM dealerships pedal as Dexo synthetic “blend”…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Say what you will about the GM product. But, one does really have to work at it to grenade one of their engines, or do any sort of damage that will leave a lasting impression on driveability of the motor.”

      Or just wait for Dexcool to do the work for you.

  • avatar

    I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with not wanting to change one’s own oil. I can, and have, but I don’t anymore. That said, once Volkswagen stops paying for my oil changes, I am going to take my car to my friend for all services…who has several years of tech experience at my chosen VW dealership, but who recently started his own shop specializing in German cars.

    • 0 avatar
      kojoteblau

      Same. I used to do it, but the dealer will do it for the same price it would cost me to do it myself. I don’t have to deal the ramps and mess and the disposing/recycling of the old oil.
      Side benefit, service records are all on file and I don’t have to collect them in the glove box.

    • 0 avatar

      For any Boston area readers with German cars, I recommend my friend’s shop, German Performance Service, in Allston. Marc Feinstein also races BMWs, and has a great reputation. (I’d love to take my car to Marc, but I have a Civic.)

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I’ve seen this happen before with a Fram filter. Just blew a hole in the side, likely a defective valve. I doubt the shop damaged anything intentionally. Your engine is probably fine as it doesn’t sound like it went very far. If it’s all documented, don’t worry about it until you need to worry about it.

    • 0 avatar
      gzuckier

      According to urban legend, some cheapo oil filters don’t have a bypass valve; even if true, I can’t imagine even a cheap lube franchise would be that cheap.
      The Mitsubishi 2.6 liter 4 banger, however, also used in some Chryslers, had a TSB back in the 80s telling you to use dealer oil filters because the normal oil pressure of the engine might blow the seams out of mass market brands. Never heard of it happening in real life though. (Followed by a recall to slap an epoxy patch over some random pressed in plug in the back of the head at the end of the camshaft that the oil pressure also had a tendency to blow).

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Many engines have the bypass built into the engine block. Particularly engines with cartridge type filters, but there are some that use a spin on element with the bypass built into the block.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Next oil change, send the oil out for analysis. If there was excessive wear, it will show.

    If not, life lesson – friends don’t let friends take their cars to quick lube places.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    This has happened to me at some sort of Instee-Loob. I didn’t notice an oil light; I had pulled out of the bay by about 100 feet and, when I checked the rear-view mirror, saw an oil slick that would do credit to the “Torrey Canyon.” Shut it off, got the goons, pushed it back.

    Same story, too, defective oil filter, but they tossed it before I could get a look at it. Hmmmm…

    I think you can sleep easy; we have another 100K on that car now, with no apparent ill effect.

    I do take all my cars back to the dealer, now, for oil changes. They’re only a couple bucks more than the oil-change chains but this particular dealer does a first-rate job.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      I’ve owned dozens of cars, done hundreds of oil changes and never seen a ‘defective’ oil filter. The only thing I’ve run across is a missing gasket on the oil filer…I always check to see before I leave Vato-Zone.

      • 0 avatar
        nels0300

        I worked at a national chain quick lube through high school and college, 7 years, changed oil on thousands of cars (sometimes our shop would do 100 cars a day), and have NEVER seen a defective oil filter.

        This sounds like a double oil filter gasket cover-up.

    • 0 avatar

      I take my VW to the dealer for oil changes. The TDi wants a specific German Castrol Diesel oil, and while out of warranty, often things are covered up to 120k. I want them to have a record.

    • 0 avatar
      gzuckier

      Ironically, just last weekend, when I parked my car at my house it immediately peed out a couple of quarts of oil. Unfortunately, not all 4 quarts. Long story short, drain plug had vanished without a trace. I could track the stain in the pavement back down the street to the point where it obviously happened, luckily only a mile from home, so oil pressure never got so low that the light came on. Never found the plug.
      But the dealer does all my oil changes, the last one only a month ago. They were good about it, gave me a new plug for free, and my next 4 oil changes too. But now I have to wash the oil off the asphalt before I reseal the driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      VolandoBajo

      I don’t know where you live but I can get an oil change for my Mercury V8 (4.6L modular SOHC) for abot $25 bucks all in, but my Ford Dealer wanted $42 on special, with a tire rotation thrown in. Since mine was acquired used, I have two tires on the front that are different from the two on the rear, so no thanks. Asked how much for just an oil change? The reply? $49, the regular price. The other one with the tire change was a special sale.

      If I could get a dealer change for two bucks more, I’d be there all the time when and if I didn’t do my own. But there are a lot of things I can do with an extra $25 besides have Ford be the one to change my oil.

      And anyway, they now want to put 5W-20 in my car, instead of 5W-30 and I have seen a lot of evidence that the ONLY reason for this is CAFE, not the life of your engine.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Does your 4.6 have VCT (variable cam timing)? I’m pretty sure it does. That is one of the drivers behind the thinner viscosity oil also. If you live in a moderate climate your probably fine running a heavier oil but Ive seen problems develop with them locally when people insist on running thicker. Keep in mind we see lots of below zero weather throughout the winter. Lots of -10 to -30 lows over night and a handful of nights colder yet. Proper viscosity oil is pretty critical at those temps with the VCT.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        I think you have to play the coupons to get the dealer oil change for a reasonable price. A lot of dealers around here will take competing dealer coupons.

        The thing that keeps me from the dealer is the wait — every time I’ve gotten a dealer oil change I’ve been sitting around in their service department for an hour or more. No Ford dealers in this area seem to be set up for quick oil changes — in Detroit, most of the ones I went to had a special service lane set up like a JiffyLube where they did no-appointment oil changes.

  • avatar

    Suburban NJ Toyota dealer.

    Mom buys MR2 Red. We love mom’s baby ferrari. Once, children, Toyota made fun cars-and this was the non turbo autobox mom version, too…

    One day, she asks me what is wrong with the car…the back is all oily. I look at this, and sure enough, the engine hatch and back are soaked with fresh engine oil. Engine has two of six (?) quarts.

    Turns out she had the “service” done at the dealer, at the sort of rates you’d expect a single woman who says yes to the Dealer Recommended Service. I’m sure everything was “checked” on this 17 k mile car. The oil slick was due to the mechanic who forgot to put the engine fill cap back. Of the bogus things paid for, that was the one you hoped they’d actually do.

    Luckily, it was nestled on the intake manifold, so the problem could solve quickly. Cleaning the 300 miles of oil saturated beyond was lots less fun.

    I don’t mind DIY for oil. I use Mob 1 or German Castrol, with OE or equivalent filters. Oil is part of your car.

  • avatar

    I’ve never seen a defective filter anywhere but how would you know ? Most of us empty it, wrap and toss. We don’t autopsy.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I had a Fram filter burst on a -15F cold start once. The metal can split wide open at the seam between the body and the base. I would call that pretty defective. VW 1.8L in an ’85 Jetta 2dr. And that was with M1 5w30 in the sump too! FUN to deal with at -15F in a dorm parking lot. Didn’t hurt the engine a bit though. I shut it down when the oil light came on and the lifters started clattering.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        A fellow long hauler recently had the orange can of death AKA Fram let loose on him. 2009 Dodge Ram Cummins. All kinds of black little pieces floating INSIDE the filter. Too big to pass through the metal holes in the filter body so whatever it was was a manufacturing defect/failure. It plugged up the piston cooling nozzles and destroyed 2 pistons. He took extensive footage of the filter before sending it to Fram. Fram conceded it was indeed a filter failure and sent him to their 3rd party that deals with claims. 3 months later he is still fighting with said 3rd party. He contacts Fram and Fram washes their hands each time referring him to their claims dept. He has retained a lawyer but in the mean time he is out $12,000 dollars for a complete long block not to mention lost wages. He finally learned what has been preached to him all along…you buy industrial filters for industrial engines. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      My friends and I do. We sometimes even cut them open for a look. Engineers; go figure. I discovered loose internals in a Fram filter I removed from a 2001 Tercel in the early 2000’s. Shortly after, I discovered loose internals in a brand new Purolator PureOne. At that point, I decided to avoid filters that were held together internally with a leaf spring and stuck to Wix filters and clones which used a coil spring. This included AC Delco and NAPA filters. A few years later, after they were consumed by Affinia, my buddy had two consecutive NAPA Silver filters with internal looseness so we cut those open and they had replaced the coil spring with a piece of rubbery plastic. Cheap bastards.

      So I’ve been using mostly Quaker State filters since then. I don’t know who actually makes them, but they’re made in the USA, appear to be solidly constructed, and I haven’t had any issues.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Yeah, Wix/Napa definitely aren’t the best quality filters. And in my case with my diesel pickups they don’t even meet the OEM filtering requirements (both oil and fuel filters). I will not use them on anything I own.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Cars have been shutting down for years if they recognize a zero oil pressure situation.

    I had an issue on a 1987 model year car that required the replacement of the oil pressure sending unit. The new sender was faulty out of the box and sent a signal of zero at all times so the fuel pump wouldn’t fire. Took a solid weekend of shade tree diagnosis to figure that one out… Of course I was almost 20 years younger and at least a little dumber (not that I’m the sharpest tool in the shed now).

    • 0 avatar
      gzuckier

      Car column in the newspaper a few years back (Click and Clack maybe?) featured a letter from some guy who was tracking down an oil leak that was leaving puddles on his garage floor; the instant he touched the idiot light sender, the few remaining molecules of metal holding it together gave up and half of it fell off, dangling by the wire, leaving the threaded-in part threaded in.
      The point of his letter was that if he had not discovered it this way, at some point it would have parted company while driving, all the oil would have been pumped out the hole and the idiot light would never have gone on because the closed-when-pressure-is-low pressure sender wasn’t grounded to the block any more.

  • avatar
    George B

    I would guess that the Impala engine is fairly tough and would handle less than a minute of incorrect oil pressure. The moving parts would have a residual coating of oil. Typically GM engines and transmissions outlast the rest of the car.

    I try to avoid any last-minute fluid changes before a long trip. I’d prefer to discover I have a fluid leak by observing new puddles or stains on the garage floor after a short drive than to discover the leak after I’ve driven 300 miles.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      “I’d prefer to discover I have a fluid leak by observing new puddles or stains on the garage floor after a short drive than to discover the leak after I’ve driven 300 miles.”

      Great suggestion; thanks. I usually get an oil change done (if needed) just before a road trip but I like your idea better.

      • 0 avatar
        gzuckier

        Oh yeah you learn; NEVER get work done on your car before a trip, despite the instinct to do so. NEVER. I even prefer to fill the gas tank a couple of days before, on the off chance (but it’s happened) that I get a tankful contaminated with water; if it’s going to start stalling, even if it just needs a change of fuel filter, I prefer that to happen at home.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    My closest dealer has the worst oil change staff of any oil change staff I’ve ever met. I’d rather go to any quick lube place than my closest dealer.

    I don’t want to do my own for a number of reasons. My best compromise is I buy my own oil filters, then I go to Pennzoil and I ask for an oil that doesn’t come out of the dispenser hose. I give them my filter and I watch them line up 7 Qts of oil on the header panel through the window.

    I drive out and check that it’s the filter I brought and nothing is noticeably leaking, the caps are on and snug and they always show me the oil level on the dipstick before I drive away.

    It’s not foolproof but I’ve eliminated 90% of the stuff that can go wrong.

  • avatar
    LD

    This can happen anywhere, even at a dealer. About 4 days ago I went for my regular oil change for my Chrysler 300 with the Pentastar engine to my local Chrysler dealership. Later that day I noticed a burnt oil smell through the vents especially when I was idling at a traffic light, not so much when the car was at speed. I thought maybe some oil had spilt and that it would burn itself out. But the smell persisted over the next 24 hours and so on the 3rd day I decided to get an engine wash/shampoo. That is when I noticed the oil was still leaking in small quantities with the engine running. Anyway, got the engine shampoo and then checked the oil level via the dipstick – it barely registered on the stick. So I drove back to the dealer and discovered that it was a stuck gasket from the old filter that had stuck on and the new filter/gasket had been placed on top of the old one. They apologized profusely and had to top up with 2 liters of oil – the crank capacity is 5.6 liters.

    • 0 avatar
      gzuckier

      Old filter gasket stuck on the engine happens A LOT, in my experience. You learn to make sure it came off with the old filter.

    • 0 avatar
      Exfordtech

      You’ll make the mistake of not checking to see if the old gasket is stuck once. Cleaning the Exxon Valdez oil spill in your bay is a lifelong lesson along with being called Captain Hazelwood by the rest of the shop for about a week.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The 3.6L pentastar uses a cartridge style filter, so no gasket. What likely happened there was a wrong filter installation. The filter design is differnt for 2014 than prior model years due to a change in the drain back valve tab on the filter.

      Putting the wrong model year filter in this engine won’t allow the cap to seat correctly and causes leaks and sometimes even cracks the cap if the lube tech was zealous enough.

  • avatar
    r129

    There are several months out of the year that I absolutely do not want to perform my own oil changes. My unheated garage is occupied by the Cutlass Supreme all winter, so I’d be doing it outside in the cold and snow. For those times, I’m thinking that the dealer may be my best option. My reasoning is that in the unlikely event that something gets messed up again, it will be recorded that they performed the oil change, they have deep pockets/good insurance, and if I do need engine work, I’d prefer to have it handled there, not by a third party. Plus I will have airtight service records in the case of any warranty claims.

    My closest Chevy dealer is pretty good, one of the largest in the nation, huge service department, and they always have some sort of oil change/tire rotation special. Perhaps it is the lesser of all evils.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    See I want to really call BS on the oil shop. Every oil place I have ever been does a ”pressure check”.

    turn engine on.
    rev engine to 2500 rpm for 5-6 seconds.
    look for drips.

    oil should have been visible at that rate of flow… hell for a small hole it should have been a strong STREAM of oil.

    The guy in the engine bay WASN’T LOOKING during your pressure check.. or tried to tighten it down AGAIN after se saw it leak and should have necessitated a *SECOND* rev up test but did not.

    I’d be all over that guys shit …

  • avatar
    scottcom36

    Hmmmm, Since the computer monitors oil pressure I wonder why that function isn’t apparent on my ScanGauge?

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      Scangauge only reads basic functions. Oil pressure gauges (if a vehicle actually has one) is nothing more than an avg reading or an algorithm. In other words, most oil pressure gauges are several PSI off from what they are actually reading. You would need to put an actual sending unit in your engine block to get any kind of an accurate reading.

  • avatar
    NuetralDrop

    I could be wrong, or late to the party, but a friend’s 1974 Vega
    (in 1976 or so)stalled on the freeway. Nearest walk to a service station was fruitful. Guy said to check the oil level. Turned out to be the fuel pump was disabled because of low oil pressure. Probably not the car model you wanted to run the oil low, but who knew that then?
    Restarted and ran fine.
    Rusted out before the engine expired. I bet the patent was on the books
    waiting for electric fuel pumps.

  • avatar
    brkriete

    Years ago a buddy of mine had a 1990ish Blazer that was in the neighbor’s garage waiting to get some rust spots fixed. He figured while it was sitting there he’d head over and change the oil so once the bodywork was done it’d be ready to drive. We went over one night, ran the engine for a bit to warm up the oil, changed it, then started it up and ran it for a while to circulate the fresh oil. As we walked out we noticed the full tray of oil bottles sitting there. We’d completely forgotten to fill it back up and had run it for a good five minutes with zero oil in it.

    Although that piece of crap had plenty of other problems (the glovebox light came on when you hit the horn; the headlights blew a 40 amp fuse once a month) the engine ran fine for years afterwards.


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