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Engine oil

My car is a 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV. I was told when I purchased this vehicle that because the engine takes little wear, that I could go 10K to 15K between oil changes. I have followed this, and have used a well known, standard service station exclusively to change my oil at these intervals. At these oil changes ? because it?s a hybrid, I require a special filter, and remind the guys to use them?.and on occasion have to wait, and make second trips back, because these units don?t always carry the filter I need. In addition, I always used the higher quality synthetic 5W meant for my hybrid.

At the last oil change the service man remarked that he only had one qt of the synthetic oil, and then went on to discuss that it was time for me to change my fuel filter ? advice which I followed. I left the shop with the advice to return to the shop to be ?topped off? with the synthetic. I, obviously, don?t understand car mechanics, and drove off. I came back several days later, and was told they still had none of the synethic I needed. I had no reason to believe this was a serious problem, and ran about 3 1/2 months with my car before I started noticing the car beginning to ?jerk? or lunge, and assumed I was having problems with my fuel filter, since that was my newest ?thing?. Maybe I wasn?t getting gas. I immediately made an appointment with a service provider for the next day, and had it towed.

It turns out my engine was, and did, fail. Based on ?no oil? in the engine.

So far I have learned that mechanics believe that ?if? there was only one qt of oil put into my engine by this service station, that my engine would have failed almost immediately. Even an engine in good condition probably would not have lasted long. What some are ?surmising?, is that the service guys put in a cheaper, non synthetic oil, and my engine simply burned it off. That once you use a ?synthetic? oil, you can?t go back to a ?regular? oil. So ? the burn-off theory seems to have the most credence.

In addition, because my SUV is a hybrid, none of the guys at these service stations knows how to re-set the oil command signal. So the engine oil service command has remained on for almost the life of my car, and thus there was no clue for me to see that I was fast approaching a problem with my oil level. In addition, I have no oil stains or drops on my parking spot, so I know I was not leaking any oil.

The mechanics looking at it now, believe my problem is solely with the engine, and there seems to be no damage to any other components, nor engine damage caused by other components. Just for clarification ? at all of my oil changes, never once did a guy say ?your oil was low and I should be more careful? or ?your oil is dirty, you should change it more often?, and my gas mileage was stable, etc. So I see no reason to believe I had a problem prior to the above for mentioned oil change.

I remember clearly being told they only had one qt of the synthetic. If I was a bit more savvy on my car knowledge, I would have asked for an explanation?.being told to return to be ?topped off? sounded reasonable to me? He could have meant ?return to have the oil changed???

Other theories??

Well, the person who told you that a vehicle can go 10-15k miles between oil changes is stuffed with more crap than an Xmas turkey. Salesmen for you.
Depending on environmental conditions and driving habits, oil should be changed every 3-5k miles or 3-6 month time intervals.

This hokey oil change interval likely led to sludged up oil control rings. This in turn leads to oil consumption. Failing to check the oil level on a regular basis leads to right where you’re at now, up the creek.

It’s not the oil type that did the vehicle in. It’s the combination of bunk that you’ve been fed by a number of people.

Have you ever read your owner’s manual? With it comes a maintanence schedule that shoudl have been followed.

Never ever believe a salesman.

If I read this correctly you went 3.5 months on one quart of oil? If so that was the problem.

Some mechanics thought going 3.5 months on one quart would have been ‘impossible’, so that’s why they guessed the guy put in the wrong oil…

What if the owners manual says 15K intervals is what the engine is designed for? (some do state this).

The myth that you cannot switch between synthetic and dino oils is just that, a myth. There is no credible evidence that in 3.5 months that dino oil of the same weight would not protect as well as synthetic. Just needs to be changed more often. Only in a turbo car, which stresses oil much more, this may have a grain of truth.

It’s more likely the extended oil changes did more damage unless the shop didn’t fill the engine with enough of ANY oil. Did you check the owner’s manual, and confirm the salesman’s assertion about the 15K mile change interval?

“What if the owners manual says 15K intervals is what the engine is designed for?” Then you change the oil at 15,000 miles or less. I would do 15K.

Before you say that is terrible, go to the junk yard and see how many cars are in there because the engine wore out. Not all that many and I would be that most of those which are there, did not get the recommended maintenance and oil changes.

Back in grandpa’s days (I and talk about them as I am a grandpa) you needed more oil changes. My VW called for and got 3,000 mile oil changes along with valve adjustments etc. I was junked at about 200,000 miles after it was totaled for the second time.

Failure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule or expecting the local quick oil change place to do it, can and will cause damage. But you really don’t need to go above and beyond. If you like to, OK that’s fine, but don’t assume that someone following the recommended service program is going to damage their car.

Because the marketing dept. is what controls most of what the vehicle owners are fed.
A good example is an episode of Top Gear involving 2 of the hosts whose job it was to make a TV commercial advertising the new VW diesel Scirocco and present it to two VW marketing people.

The hosts test drove the car on the open road and liked the fit, finish, and ride. They did NOT like the anemic power level. Depressing the accelerator pedal at highway speeds produced no increased speed and the hosts were pretty harsh with the VW people about this.

The VW marketing people’s response? The hosts were being too negative because instead of looking at this as an anemic engine ruining a VW they should look at it as a VW Scirocco made more exciting by the addition of a diesel. What a crock, the car still doesn’t move very fast or at all at highway speeds.

Owners manuals state a lot of other things too; never change the transmission fluid, check valve lash at 120k miles intervals, and any one of a number of poorly advised procedures.
The prematurely worn or downright trashed engines (defined as under 30k miles) I’ve seen pretty much all had one thing in common; lack of regular oil changes.

Just as an aside, What oil change interval is recommended in the owners manual??

The entire story, from beginning to end, is incredible. By that I mean it has no credibility. It defies logic from beginning to end…

Wow. There are a lot of questions you need to answer here. First, what is the oil change interval specified in your manual? Second, is this “service station” a quick-lube place? Third, how often do you check your oil and was the level consistent each time when you checked it?

There are so many things that you did wrong, that I can’t blame anyone but you for the damage done to your car.

First thing’s first:

Did you ask the shop, at the time that you brought the car in to have the oil changed, and they told you that they only had 1 quart of synthetic oil, What did they do to your car?

Did they only put the 1 quart of oil in?
Did they put in a different kind of oil, in the proper amount?
Did they not change the oil at all?
Did you actually pay them for anything? What does your receipt say they did?

I can’t believe that you, as an owner, would drive away from a shop, thinking they might have only put 1 quart of oil into the engine.

On to the other things:

Have you ever looked in your owners manual to see what the oil change period is supposed to be? Why would you ever believe a salesman about the oil change interval? He doesn’t work on cars, he SELLS them. He’s not the person changing your oil, nor does he test engine oil samples in order to find out how long the oil can last in your vehicle. Please stop believing the things that a salesman tells you. The only thing you should ever believe a salesman say is that he can sell you xxxxx. That’s it.

I would go on, but those are the two most important things you need to know.
Go look at your receipts.
Figure out what you paid for, and work with that.