2005 freestyle engine failure



I have a 2005 Ford Freestyle with 59,000 miles on it. I get regular oil changes. My engine is shot. No lights came on. We realized that there was a problem when we heard a knocking. We checked the oil it was four quarts short of oil. Our dealer change the oil the last time at 55,000 miles. They agree the engine was not burning oil or there would be signs (also I had a emission test done during this time and it was fine) and there are no leaks. They say they are puzzled that so much oil was missing but consider it a 'mystery" and they will not take any blame or cost. Ford Corp. agree to help cover the motor but it will still cost $2200.00. Any ideas on where the oil went? I think they either did not change the oil or they did not put oil in. Jen


There’s only two ways to lose oil: leaking out of the engine, or burning up in the cylinders.

Hopefully you were in the habit of checking the oil level regularly, say every other time you fill the gas tank. It’s something that the owner should definitely keep an eye on. Failure to do so does place at least some of the blame on you. One thing I can absolutely guarantee is that the engine has NOT gone for 4,000 miles with no oil in it; it wouldn’t even last a mile under those circumstances.

Four quarts of oil doesn’t just disappear, or magically turn into water and evaporate. It has to go SOMEwhere. What were the circumstances under which you first noticed the knocking sounds? Were you first starting the engine for the day, or driving down the highway, or what? My only theory at this point is that a prankster thought it might be funny to empty the oil from the engine via the drain plug. Telling how the problem presented itself will be greatly helpful.

I’ll tell you one thing: it’s VERY nice of Ford to go in with you on this job. Whatever else happens, count your lucky stars that they are helping you out here.


The oil either burnt, leaked, or whoever did the last oil change did not add enough oil.

Does this vehicle not have a “low oil” indicator? If it does usually a quart at most will trigger it.
At 4 quarts down there should have been a red oil light flashing on at times; usually on acceleration, deceleration, or sharp turns.

No signs of oil burning, no leaks, and passing an emissions test kind of leads me to believe someone shortchanged the oil amount at 55k miles. Proving that is impossible at this point.
I’d say take the engine at 2200 dollars but since Ford Motor Co. is doing this as “somewhat” of a good-will warranty that 2200 dollars means you’re probably paying for all or most of the bill.

Warranty works completely different than a customer pay situation. Ford is providing the engine block assembly at their cost and paying the shop warranty labor time (far less than normal book) X the discounted warranty labor rate (usually far less than normal rates). While I have no idea what the actual cost to Ford Motor Co. of that engine is you can be ssfely assume they’re not losing money on it.
And it’s not just Ford; it’s all of them.


It’s a crummy deal when there is no low oil warning light. The GMC Sierra has one and it would have saved your engine. Make sure that yours works because you should (may) have one. The mystery is why they didn’t put oil in your engine when they changed it. Maybe. 4,000 miles is enough time for the oil to disappear by itself, especially if it was short of oil when they changed it.


I think somebody pulled the drain plug and emptied the oil pan while it was parked in a parking lot. It’s the only thing that makes sense. There’s no way Ford didn’t put the oil in because the engine wouldn’t have made it anywhere near 4,000 miles without oil. If there are no leaks and I would think you’d notice 4 quarts of oil being burned (smoke and smell) i’d have to say it was emptied.


I find it hard to believe the oil pressure light didn’t come on. Does the light come on when you turn the key to “Run” without starting it?


Where you got your oil changed could be a reason. It is not unusual for a filter or drain plug not to be tightened. Even a very minor problem could cause oil to go down a quart every 1,000 miles. It is an inconvenience, but checking the oil every month should be part of your routine. It may be painful but you are getting a deal.


it may be painful, but this is a lesson that if you are going to go to ‘selfserve’ gas stations you need to be checking the oil as well as filling the gas tank. depending on oil change intervals to check oil levels is not good enough.

you are lucky ford is giving you any consideration.

i believe your engine only holds 4 1/2 qts of oil total. so your engine had NO oil in it. as others have said, your manual says… check fluid levels regularly.


The BRIGHT side: 59,000 miles of engine wear…GONE, for $2200!


Reading between the lines, you’re saying that you haven’t checked the oil at any time since the oil change, right? If so, nobody owes you anything, so take the partial goodwill and be thankful.

Does the current engine run at all? If so, I’d use it to figure out why the low-oil-pressure indicator light isn’t working and get that problem corrected now.


I agree with lion9car. While the root cause of the problem was probably a not properly tightened oil plug or filter, you should not be going 4,000 miles without ever checking your oil. Do that and you’re looking for a catastrophic engine failure.

Beyond that, and even though I change the oil and filter myself, I always start the engine, look underheath for signs of leakage while it runs, and then check my oil every day for a while to be sure it isn’t leaking. If someone else were doing the work I’d be even more prudent.

You bear some responsibility. Consider this the cost of an education.