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Does your mechanic measure the oil that he drains from your crankcase?

In another thread, one forum member implies that his mechanic measures how much oil is drained from the crankcase and that the volume of drained oil is reported on the service invoice.

I have never seen this in my 44 years of having cars serviced by independent mechanics, dealerships, and–yes,for a very brief time in the early '80s–at a quick lube joint.

My question is:

Does your mechanic measure the quantity of oil that he drains from your crankcase, and does he report the volume of drained oil on your service invoice?

Inquiring minds want to know.

In 30 years at this Ford dealer I’ve never known tham to measure used oil.
They use 30 gallon rollaway containers or generic drain pans unless asked by a customer to do so.

I don’t recall any mechanic ever doing this on a car or light truck. They do on large industrial engines.

You pay an environmental disposal charge for the oil filter and the new oil going into the engine in many locations. That’s based on the new stuf you buy.

I don’t measure the amount drained out. But I do check the oil level prior to draining. I don’t see the benefit of measuring what comes out?


No, I’ve Never Seen That Done By A Mechanic. Why Would They?

Since I usually change my own oil, I wind up putting it in bottles to take for recycling, so I know how much I take out. However, it is never a surprise because although we have several cars, I monitor oil levels weekly.


I am also not quite sure why they would do this.

I am asking because another forum member advised the OP of the thread about the “Camry with no oil after an inspection at Jiffy Lube” that he should refer to his old service invoices to see how much oil had been drained at each prior oil change. The theory behind this advice was apparently to establish that the car did not burn oil.

It’s a nice theory, but I have never, ever heard of this practice.
I am just trying to establish whether I have been living in a bubble, or if the person whose mechanic carefully measures and reports on the volume of oil that he drains is just an extraordinarily detail-oriented mechanic.

Take a look at that very long thread on the car that had no oil shortly after leaving J-Lube if you want to see what was stated earlier today. This is the thread to which I refer:

If any tech ever states the oil level in the car prior to oil change , it is through Tester’s method of dip sticking before hand. This I have heard of sometimes, ie; " car came in 1 qt low. " etc.
Many service writers use this method , although not sure if documented on invoices, to check both useage between changes and condition of the oil.

I really don’t understand the need for it either.

Checking the dip-stick before you change the oil is a good indicator of how much oil is in there. If the capacity is 5 quarts and the dip-stick in on the full mark…then I’ll bet there’s extremely close to 5 quarts in there.

I don’t see anywhere where someone measured the oil that was drained. Second tech pulled the plug and no oil drained out.

But! Some quick lube places video tape the work being done on the vehicles both above the vehicle and down in the pit. If that’s the case, that video will show if the oil was drained from the kid working below thinking the vehicle was in for an oil change, where the kid above knew it was in just for an inspection and wouldn’t have added any oil. In a quick lube place? Naaaah! Can’t happen!


Tester–I am not referring to what the OP told us. I am referring to one of the last responses in that thread. Below is the text of the response that caused me to post this question, with the specific information underlined by me:

“Go to small claims (or regular court if it’s too big for small claims). Show the service records, which should also indicate if the oil was low on previous changes or not. (I.e. if they changed it and it was a quart low the record would indicate it). This would help establish your car was not geisering oil, and most likely didn’t run out after only 5000 miles. (A car can burn through it all that fast, but it’s not likely to go from 0 to super-leaky in 1 oil change.) If they just inspected it, shouldn’t that ALSO have a record if the oil was low or not? In that case the oil hasn’t been low for thousands of miles, it ran out since you were at jiffy lube.”

Has anyone else ever seen service invoices stating something along the lines of “oil was one qt low”, or perhaps “oil level was normal”? This practice is new to me, and I just need a reality check on that information.

Geez! There’s 87 replies to that post!

Yes! I do include on the invoice if the oil level was low. I check the oil level of all the vehicles that come into my shop. If the invoice includes 1 quart of oil, it will also state engine oil was 1 quart low.

I had a vehicle come in three weeks ago I’ve never seen before. And when I checked the oil on that vehicle, it was 1 1/2 quarts overfilled! I drained the excess oil out and stated that on the invoice. Here’s the irony of that. That person just contacted me now stating the engine has developed a knock! Running an engine with 1 1/2 quarts of extra oil can result in this.


Well, you are definitely more detail-oriented than any mechanic that I ever used!
In which state is your shop located?

Like some of these posts state, the oil level was checked before the change.

My independent tech does the same thing when I bring my vehicles to him but there is no note written to the invoice, just a verbal comment which is the same all the time…“oil at the full mark”. Un-huh.

I trust ‘my’ techs explicitly but check the work done (clean oil/new oil filter (no leaks) any new parts replaced) before I leave their yard and they know I will too.

Just old habits from years gone by is all.

Note: Get into the habit of looking under your vehicle as you walk up to it.

If there is any new leaks that’s when you’ll see them.

It’s just another method of what is commonly known as ‘Preventive Maintenance’.

My comment about this is on the other thread.

What I don’t get, and never will, is how this car managed to go 20 miles after the oil was allegedly all drained out by mistake.
The OP blames JL because “someone should have noticed the oil light” as it was driven out the door.

The point I make here is where was Junior during all of this? The OP states the son is the one that uses the car, has the oil changed “every 5000 miles”, etc. and the son did not notice this oil light during the 20 miles?
The son did not notice any rattling and thrashing noises before the engine seized?

Just my opinion here, but I think Junior went into full CYA mode and the OP is backing the kid no matter what. It’s not a rare thing to occur.

Dealership “Mechanics” don’t change oil…They have 'lube men" who handle that chore, out back by the lube rack…Measure the old oil?? Not very likely…They might sound the alarm when they get one with a quart or 2 of black sludge in it…

VDCD, Did You Miss Tester’s Pics Of His Garage/Shop?

He’s in Minnesota. Check it out! I can see why he’d be more “detail oriented” than others.

Click this to go to the “Heated Garage” discussion and scroll down to the pictures.
I think you were absent from this recent discussion.

Read more of the discussion and you’ll get more of an idea about the scope of the repair shop.


At least the OP admitted to not checking the oil between changes. Unfortunately, I don’t think the OP will ever realize that checking the oil occasionally would have avoided the situation entirely.

My trusted mechanic does not measure the oil drained. However he noticed coolant in the drained oil when I mentioned my 2000 Blazer was slowly losing coolant (intake manifold gasket leak). Another time he found a washer in the oil drain container and called every customer who had a recent oil change (myself include) to come in so he could check each drain plug. That’s conscientious ednough for me.

Ed B.

“Just my opinion here, but I think Junior went into full CYA mode and the OP is backing the kid no matter what. It’s not a rare thing to occur.”

After 34 years as an educator, I can attest to the probability that the OP’s son is not disclosing everything to his parents. And, as ok4450 stated, the tendency of most parents is to accept anything that their child tells them–even if it is counterintuitive–and to defend those actions or inactions.

I guess I do it as a matter of my disposal . . . I drain the old oil into a pan . . . put the drain plug and filter back on, then re-fill with fresh oil and pour the old oil into the container which held the new oil, and check it for variance. The I take the old oil back to the Advance Auto (or whatever) for recycling. Is this the way I check my oil? Of course not. I do it weekly by dipstick. Rocketman

I tip my hat to Tester for being that conscientious, but in all honesty I’ve never seen anybody check the amount unless the amount that came out seemed abnormal. I’ve never even seen a shop check the level before draining, unless they had reason to suspect something was wrong. I wish everyone was as conscientious as Tester.

Personally, I’ve been monitoring regularly and changing my own oil for so many years that I never see the need to check it just before changing. And I generally lie on my back and relax under the car while it drains, watching the flow until the stream thins out and becomes irregular drips. Once I get comfortable there’s no sense getting up and then having to lie back under there again.