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Car stopped while driving - Engine issues with the car on 2005 Toyota Corolla

I have a 2005 Toyota Corolla LE - 120K miles

This morning, when I started to drive my car, the dashboard started showing “change oil” light. I drove for a few miles and realized that check engine light also came on. After a few minutes, the car suddenly stopped on the road. Nonetheless, I started the car again, but then car drove for few more minutes and stopped completely. I towed the car to the nearest mechanic who inspected the car to find out that the oil had completely drained from the engine and spilled all over the bottom of the car including brakes, etc. There was not a single drop of oil left in the engine. Also, oil filter was completely gone too. The mechanic told me that the engine has completely jammed and siezed. i need a new engine to be replaced. Looking for inputs on whether this has happened to somebody and what can be done about it. What can be done in this situation and any approximate cost estimate to get this fixed including labor and parts?

You will just have to get estimates on a used engine or a complete rebuild. Prices vary depending where you live, who does the work so internet guesses are not much help. I will say this car had better be in real good shape to justify a large expense.

Curious, where did you find a mechanic to look at this on Sunday morning?

I think that the only logical course of action–if you plan to keep the car–is to have your mechanic find a replacement engine from a collision-damaged car at junkyard. A 12 year old car is simply not worth the investment necessary to install a new/rebuilt engine.

The cost will vary a lot, depending upon where you live, and on the prevailing labor rates in your region, but I think that a reasonable cost estimate would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,700 for the engine + the labor of removing the old engine and installing the new one.

While the car is in the shop, I suggest having the trans fluid and filter changed, as that can help to extend the life of your transmission. Otherwise, you could be looking at the cost of an overhauled transmission a few months after installing the replacement engine.


Agree you need another engine. It sounds like the oil filter let go as a result of not having it tightened while the oil was changed. This happened to me many years ago with a Ford just after I had the oil changed. Luckily I stopped the car since the oil had caught fire from dripping on the exhaust. I had the car towed and oil changed and then tore a strip off the service station that had changed the oil just before that.

They were thankful I did not need anew engine and refunded the towing and oil change charge.

For future reference, when any light goes on, stop the car and pull over to the side of the road.

I am confused by the “Change Oil” light and highly suspect it was the “Low Oil Pressure” light (dripping oil can symbol).


Just curious…

Who changed the oil last time?
How long has it been?
How many miles ago?
How often do you use the dipstick to check engine oil level?
Do you have an Owner’s Manual?
Have you read it?


I have the same questions as above. It seems like the last oil/filter change might have been botched and then the filter fell off.

I have a feeling that the OP drove with the low oil pressure light on (rather than “change oil light”), but you can still put the last shop on the spot for paying at least for part of this repair.

I agree with the other posts, but also wonder who did the last oil change.
Was it a quickie-lube joint?
Disasters result from their practices far too often. Just wondering if this is one more.

Thanks, Docnick. This is exactly my theory too. Anyways, for future, lesson learned.

The oil was changed about 6 months back and it was changed at a local Castrol lube center. I am disappointed that this was a negligence from the mechanic.

To answer your question, i did not use dipstick on a regular basis to check oil level, and I just assumed that the mechanic did his job.

Yes, it was a quick quick lube joint. here is where I got the oil changed:

It seems that you had your oil changed at a car wash.

Your investigation has proven that this was an installation error and not a part failure? Your car requires an oil change every 6 months, I wonder if the oil change shop if responsible for failures indefinitely.

Should the lube tech visit your house twice a month?

Hopefully, part of your learning curve from this experience is that it is important to lift the hood and check the dipstick on a very regular basis. I always check the dipstick and do a visual under-hood inspection immediately after an oil change, and even though my car does not normally consume oil between oil changes, I check the dipstick every few weeks. With a 12 year old car, I think that checking the dipstick weekly is advisable.

An old friend of mine once rented a Toyota while on vacation and told me he had a similar experience. The oil went low and the car stopped. All he had to do was add more oil, then it was okay. He thinks it had a safety shut off switch to prevent the car from running if the oil was low.

Owner negligence. Maybe the reason for the oil underneath is:
A. An ongoing leak…
B. A rod broke loose in the engine and knocked a hole in the block.

And Toyota does not have a zero oil pressure switch to save the engine if the oil is at or near empty. In that case it was sheer luck of the draw and the gambling odds are that the engine in that rented Toyota had a short lifespan.

Sorry, but I’m not really buying it

If the mechanic botched the oil filter installation, in my opinion, it would have fallen off or loosened very quickly

It wouldn’t take all of 6 months for a problem to show up

until I hear otherwise, I’ll assume OP does not check their oil level on a regular basis, say every 2 weeks or so

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I have trouble with that 6 month item also. But s/he found the oil filter missing after the incident…

edit: by “incident” I mean the oil change…

yeah . . . 6 months after the incident

Are you implying s/he drove 6 months with the filter missing? I doubt it !

If the filter blew apart or unscrewed itself is unknown, either way the engine appears to be toast.