Dealership forgot to put a new oil filter in during oil change; I drove 11,000 before discovering th

I have a 2013 lexus hyrbid. The engine design includes a canister for the oil filter. I use the manufacture’s recommended synthetic oil and change it at the right intervals. Last time I changed it was at 11,000 miles at the Lexus dealership where I bought the car.

Now I have 22,000 miles on it and time to change the oil again. The dealership is 45 minute drive so I went to an Oil Can Henry’s just down the street earlier this week. There I learned there was no oil filter in the canister. (I have a copy of the video where this was discovered by the technician doing the oil change.) Lexus dealership forgot to put an oil filter in at the last change.

So… here’s my dilemma: how do I know what damage might have been done to my engine to drive 11,000 without an oil filter? (Which is currently half the miles on the car)

And how to do i get Lexus to take responsibility for that damage? It’s not running rough right now, but the impact could be hidden, right? Is it also relevant that this is a hybrid?

How do I get Lexus to provide insurance against future problems or reduced engine life?

Help! Any advice would be welcome.

I would suggest contacting Lexus Customer Service.
Their toll-free phone number can be found in your Owner’s Manual.
IMHO, if you give them incontrovertible evidence that the oil filter was not replaced at their dealership, they are likely to offer you an extended warranty on the engine–gratis.

If they don’t offer it voluntarily, then you should suggest that this would be appropriate for them to do…if they expect you to continue to have faith in their vehicle and in their company. Because this warranty actually doesn’t cost them a lot of money, there is a good chance that they will comply with your request. Just be sure to get everything in writing from them.

After this many miles it may be very difficult to prove anything even with a video. It could always be claimed that the video was staged for instance.
Damage could only be determined by tearing into the engine and running rough is usually not a symptom.
Present the problem to the service manager (politely at this point) and ask that any agreement be put in writing. Verbal promise are worth nothing.

What I would be concerned with are two things; the length of time between oil changes and how often if ever the engine oil level is inspected.
Those things could have more of an effect on engine wear and potential problems than running without a filter.

And yes, I’m aware that some car makers recommend an infiniti to oblivion oil change interval. Those recommendations are not always in the best interest of the engine and more related to the PR department than anything else.

Check your owners manual under “severe” or “special” operating conditions and you will likely find the disclaimer advising more frequent oil changes. Trust me on this; almost every car on the road meets the severe service regimen.

Chances are you will be fine. Probably any large particles after break in were caught by the first filter, so you are dealing with regular particulate matter that may shorten piston ring life. I like @vdcdriver comment. Any damage is probably microscopic at this point as there has not been a seizure due to minimal oil flow caused by lack of oil due to a clogged passage related to a missing oil filter. Thinking of my 72 triumph with a cleanable oil filter no better than one of those metal dish scrubbers. Leaks more oil than it burns imho.

IMHO you need not be concerned about damage to your engine. Worst case, you’ll probably get 300,000 trouble free miles instead of 310,000 trouble free miles. 11,000 miles with fresh, pristine oil… not to worry.

SOMEBODY did not install an oil filter but was it the Lexus dealer? Maybe the guys on the lube rack have an attitude problem…Maybe they never even removed the canister to begin with…It’s a messy job…And since this first service is free (right?) the service departments motivation is nill…

Anyway, going 11,000 miles on an oil-change is insane regardless of what the computer says and that factor probably cause more damage than the missing filter…Have an independent shop change your oil and filter every 5 or 6 thousand miles, learn how to reset the nag light yourself and drive on…

It’s surprising to me to see so many saying the oil change intervals set by Lexus as too far apart. Wow. I thought following the schedule the dealership told me to use was the right level of care for my car. Thanks for that. Good idea to read the service manual on this; I will.

I agree that verbal agreements are worthless and I’ll get everything in writing. I’ve already been building documentation in an email thread.

Re: the extended warranty, I was thinking the same thing, and I have already asked them to provide an extended warranty. It was in the same conversation where the manager of the service department vehemently assured me there would have been no damage to run 11,000 miles without a filter. Interesting that he paused and didn’t jump at the chance to put his money where his mouth is. When I connected the dots (either it’s no big deal/no damage and you’ll warrant that" or “it’s a problem and we’re not willing to warrant it because of the potential engine damage” he said he’s look into it. Neither of those positions is viable for them since I have video evidence they caused the problem in the first place.

Have an appointment to have them look at my car on Friday and will negotiate then. Thanks for the comments, guys. I really appreciate it.

My 1947 Pontiac did not have an oil filter nor did my 1955 Pontiac. An oil filter wasn’t even an option for the 1947 Pontiac. It was an option for the 1955 Pontiac, so I went to a junk yard and got a filter from a 1955 that was equipped with the filter. I had no problems with the 1947 Pontiac. However, I did have problems with oil getting to the stud mounted rocker arms on the 1955 Pontiac. The engine had just been overhauled before I bought the car. It seemed to me that the overhaul occurred at a relatively low mileage (about 55,000) if the odometer was to be believed. My guess is that the oil wasn’t changed frequently enough by the former owner or owners.
My guess is that 11,000 miles without a filter did not do appreciable damage to the engine. Modern engines run cleaner than the engines from the 1940s and 1950s. However, back in the 1940s we changed oil every 1000 to 2000 miles and in the 1950s, a 2000 mile oil change was the norm.
I would guess your Lexus requires synthetic oil and the fact that it is a hybrid probably means that the gasoline engine wasn’t under a lot of stress over the 11,000 miles.

The fact is, after the FIRST (factory fill) oil change, the full-flow oil filters don’t do very much…The initial wear-in complete, there is very little in the oil to filter out…

There are lots of possibilities here…

  1. There was no filter installed at the factory and the free first service at the dealership, replacing the filter was skipped so they never noticed it…

  2. At the first oil change, they removed the canister, removed and discarded the old filter and then just put the empty canister back on?? The only way I see this happening is an employee with a bad attitude or the parts department ran out of the correct filters. (They are used on many late-model Toyota & Lexus models) If they were in a hurry to get the car out, I can see them “forgetting” to install a filter, available at any parts store…

Was your engine damaged by running with no filter for 11,000 or perhaps 22,000 miles?? Very unlikely…But chances are it will be the next owner who finds out…

Like Triedaq I had one of these old Pontiacs. Mine was a 1949 with a straight 8 and no oil filter. The oil pump had a fairly coarse strainer screen on the bottom. There was no positive crankcase ventilation in those days. Crankcase ventilation consisted of an oil cap which was filled with a coarse mesh and open to the atmosphere and a road draft tube which vented the crankcase to the wind blowing under the car. You can imagine the potential for pulling in dust & dirt with this system, yet it didn’t seem to be a problem.

Todays clean burning engines with sealed PCV systems should be able to tolerate your situation with no damage as long as the filter was there during the first 11000 miles.

Dust ends up the oil no matter what simply because the air filter does not catch the smaller stuff. Particles that end up in the combustion chamber either get booted out the exhaust ports, vaporized, or they work their way past the rings due to cylinder pressures. It doesn’t sound like much but countless microscopic particles multiplied times countless compression strokes adds up after a while.

OP, Lexus is not the only car maker guilty of extending intervals in the name of PR. They all do it to one degree or the other.

I’m not psychic and don’t even believe in that hokem at all but I can predict what you will be told by the dealer although not verbatim.

“We checked it out and everything is just fine…”.

This should be replied to with a follow-up question.
“What procedures were used to check any of it?”

That should provide an interesting answer… :slight_smile:

I had a Mazda pickup, 1987 and I used to put the cheap NAPA Silverline filter on the side of the engine. It was really small and not much of a decoration. No filter in your car is almost as good as that. Your engine is better than mine was, so it deserves a filter now and then. Every time? A bit much to ask of a poor oil change guy.

I would be the biggest pain in the asteroid you can imagine if this happened to me. I agree that it may not be a huge problem, but, who is going to test it out by not putting a filter on their own car for 11k miles. Filters are absolutely critical for just about every thing else ! Go to Lexus directly and between the three of you, I would try to negotiate a big long extension on your present power train warranty. If they didn’t bite, I would tell them I would “go public”. We have an editorial page for such things in our local paper…maybe something like that could get a rise. I would definitely stir the pot ! There is no excuse for it and someone, other then you, should be held accountable.

Just to add regardless of the change interval, get into the habit of checking the oil level on a regular basis. My wife’s Toyota 2006 Sienna has a 5k oil change interval. The Owner’s Manual states that 1 Qt./1000 miles oil consumption is acceptable. To the best of my knowledge the Sienna’s oil level has not dropped between changes but I still check the level on a regular basis.

I bet somewhere in your Owner’s Manual it states to check the oil level at every gas fill-up and that 1 Qt./1000 miles oil consumption is considered normal.

Ed B.

@Linoab wrote:

It’s surprising to me to see so many saying the oil change intervals set by Lexus as too far
apart. Wow. I thought following the schedule the dealership told me to use was the right
level of care for my car. Thanks for that. Good idea to read the service manual on
this; I will.

It’s easier to get someone to change their religion than to agree on oil change intervals.

Many have successfully embraced the auto industry’s change to extended intervals. Others have their valid reasons for not going along. Try to avoid jumping to conclusions.

The key to extended oil change intervals–aside from using the correct specification synthetic oil–is HOW the car is driven. If somebody is an over-the-road salesman who does almost all highway driving, then those extended intervals may work.

On the other hand, if your car is typically driven locally, with many short trips, you would be very unwise to use that extended oil change schedule.

If you look at the definition of “Severe Service” in your maintenance schedule, you will find that most cars are operated in such a way as to qualify for that “Severe Service” definition. And, if you are in that category, an extended oil change regimen is a sure way to limit the life of that engine.

According to the mfr’s maintenance schedule for my car, I go 7,500 miles between oil changes. However, since about 60-70% of my post-retirement driving is local, with trips of anywhere from 3-7 miles, I change my oil every 4,000 miles or 4 months–whichever comes first. And I use that 4k/4 month number only because I do get the car out on the highway once or twice a week for a 30-40 minute high-speed run. If I didn’t do that occasional highway run, I would change my oil even more often.

The air filter is much more important than the oil filter.

The 11,000 mile oil change will certainly get your engine through the warranty period,
which is what Lexus cares about the most.

There I learned there was no oil filter in the canister. (I have a copy of the video where this was discovered by the technician doing the oil change.) Lexus dealership forgot to put an oil filter in at the last change.

Sorry folks this whole thing has my BS meter going off. Any one actually know any mechanics that video the oil changes they do? I don’t. Does any one know of a shop that lets the customer video the work being done? Does ay one think that an Oil Can Henry’s has a video camera watching every service bay? If there really is such a video it was entirely a re-enactment which leaves it very suspect in itself. Or the OP knew something was amiss to begin with. Sorry I just don’t believe that “I have the video” statement.!

Yeah, there is undoubtedly more to this story…There is something going on backstage here…

I’ve heard of some quick-lube places having surveillance cameras.