Botched oil change on a Saturn

saturn
sl

#1

I took my car to get the oil changed Saturday, and the tech didn’t put the oil plug in correctly-so the car ran without oil and started making a terrible knocking noise before I turned it off.

I had it towed back to the mechanic today, and they put new oil in it, inspected the top part of the engine-and are declaring that no other damage was done to the car, and I don’t need a new engine.

Does that sound right to anyone? I’m worried that there was some damage done they didn’t find and the car is going to break down again. Should I ask them for an engine rebuild?


#2

The Forum is asked tis question several times a week. The oil change place can tell you no damage was done but the only way to prove it is a teardown and inspection.

These things usually end up with some kind of verbal guarantee that “if things go bad we will cover it” this is not good enough.

I suggest you proceed in stages,try them out with a request for a written admission of what they did and their promise to you. Be aware if the place changes ownership even your written “insurance” would probably be useless.

The engine needs a tear down to state for sure where you stand, I just don’t know any other way to be sure that you still have what you had before this mistake was made.

Perhaps you come up with a compromise,something less than a new engine but also something they will go for with less resistance.

Take a look at all the advice and opinions given on the library of simalar threads you can find using the 'search" feature.


#3

That does not sound right alt all! You likely have significant internal engine damage (bearings, etc), which they can’t find just by looking at the top!. The shop should pay to have a good INDEPENDENT mechanic completely check out the engine and determine what damage there is.

We have had this type of complaint before. Service stations carry insurance for this type of thing but they’ll try to fob you off with just new oil. The fact that the car started making a knocking noise tells you enough.

If they resist, don’t hesitate to threaten legal action. Small claims courts see a lot of these cases.

You were smart to have it towed back. How many miles did you drive it after the oil change?


#4

How long did the knocking and the red oil light go on for before shutdown? Not accusing or pointing any fingers. If a few moments it is likely very little damage but driving a few miles does some damage that is hard to quantify.

Good luck on asking for an “engine rebuild”. This will likely exceed the value of a Saturn SL. You are only entitled to the value of your vehicle in any damage claim, never more.

Sorry about this. My feeling if the engine is not knocking now with oil it likely is fine.


#5

I drove probably 5-7 miles after the oil change. Once the knocking started I pulled over within a few minutes. I was driving 35-40mph, so didn’t go very far. And didn’t turn on the engine again after that.


#6

I drove probably 5-7 miles after the oil change. The oil light barely turned on before the knocking started. Once the knocking started I pulled over within a few minutes. I was driving 35-40mph, so didn’t go very far. And didn’t turn on the engine again after that.


#7

Once it’s knocking and the oil light is on the engine is damaged goods.
It only takes seconds for crankshaft bearing overlayment to go away and it’s anybody’s guess as to how long the engine has to live.

“Inspected the top part of the engine” means nothing. The first damage that will occur will be in the bottom, not the top. Step One of the brush off.
The oil pan needs to be dropped and bearing caps furtherest away from the oil pump should be removed. This will provide insight as to how bad the situation is and is the only real way of knowing anything.