Car dies after oil change

I took my 2008 Ford Ford Escape XLT to Valvoline for an oil change today. The car was running fine, no problems or leaks of any kind. When we pull in without saying anything they spray off my undercarriage with water saying they are “cooling the engine so it doesn’t burn them when they change the oil”. They do the oil change putting in synthetic 5w20. They finish, we start car and pull out. Not even 200 feet away from the valvoline station my car completely dies. Try to start it back up and the engine turn, starts and immediately dies. It has no engine codes and no lights (check engine/oil/etc) came on.

What could be the problem here??

My car has 120xxx miles, never has had any problems, regular oil changes.

Did you check that the oil level is correct?

Yeah it appeared to be ok level on dipstick

I think you have to be a special kind of idiot to spray cold water on a hot engine. However if the had cracked the block you would have heard a loud ping and you would have had oil or antifreeze or both on the ground.

They may have created damage to electronics but you will need to get the car looked at to find out.


With no codes and so on it needs to be determined what is missing; fuel pressure or spark. It’s at least possible this is all a coincidence.
Since it ran fine for 200 feet I wonder if they got heavy handed with the water and some of it sloshed up to where it shouldn’t be and grounded something out. In theory no; in practice maybe.

I’ve been changing oil on hot cars since I was in high school (right about the time the last T-Rex died out) and have never done or heard of hosing a hot engine down to change the oil.


I wonder if the crankshaft position sensor suffered thermal shock when it was hit with cold water?

It is mounted in front of the oil pan, at the harmonic balancer.



Leave it to Valvoline to make a simple oil change very complicated. I never thought of spraying water, or hosing down a hot engine for my convenience.


I guess that we will have to add those Valvoline oil change places to our list of clueless incompetents, along with Jerky Lube.


This is probably not any Valvoline corporate directive, but an unwise decision at one of locations. Let’s not overgeneralize.

Yes, but this is just one more example of why nobody should be patronizing quicky oil change places when more competent venues are available

As one of our departed forum members used to say, “Don’t go to a quick oil change place. Not even for directions!”.


$15 oil change = $1500 in damage! Do the job yourself or take it to a real mechanic and pay a little more.

Let the engine cool for 5 minutes so the exhaust isn’t smoking hot and then drain the oil.

1 Like

lol $15? They got talked into a $55 oil change.

So to avoid one stream of hot oil, one will be dripped on with water while standing in the pit. I’d take the hot stream of oil any day. Something doesn’t sound right. They’d never get the oil cooled down that way anyway, just the exhaust pipes.

Take the spark plug wires off on the valve cover end and see if the wire ends are wet. When you spray water at the engine, it can get into the spark plug holes. If the wires are older and have any cracks in their insulation, the extra conductivity of the water can cause the spark to ground out on the side of the hole rather than getting to the spark plug.

The temporary fix is to blow any water in the hole out with compressed air and then dry off the wires. That will get you home where you can order the permanent fix, which is to get new wires.

Who was that, may I ask? I remember the advice but not the adviser.

That was Joseph Meehan, who lived–I think–in Ohio.
Mr. Meehan hasn’t posted for several years, and I fear that he has passed away.

If this employee is terminated for “harming” this vehicle he might be working at your Subaru dealer next week, grease monkeys bounce around.

Yep, I remember him. Always said “tyre” instead of “tire”.

Yes, that was him.

Unfortunately, does list someone that’s probably him.