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Jiffy lube screw up

My wife and took our Durango to a jiffy Lube for a basic oil change. When they were finished they took us out to our car and showed us that all the caps where tight and checked the oil level. There was no oil on the dipstick. My first thought was that they had just under filled it since it takes 7 quarts. She called the manager over who checked it. The manger asked the “lower bay technician” to pull the plug to see if there was any oil in it. There was but it came out very slow and was dirty. The manager then added 3 quarts and rechecked…no reading. She added 1 quart…no reading, 1more quart no reading and then 2 more quarts and it finally read full. I used to work at a jiffy lube many years ago and I know how their procedures work, so when she told me sorry for the inconvenience but “everything is good to go” I said…“We have a problem”. I know that once they top off the oil they start the car to check for oil pressure, this means the engine was running without oil for 10-30 seconds. I explained this to her and after several minutes she admitted that they had run the engine without oil but everything would be fine and to call her if there was a problem. I demanded and a letter from her (on the spot) that stated that they ran the engine without oil. She hesitantly complied and wrote a quick letter. My main question is: did it damaged the engine and will it show up right away? What action should I take?


Yes, engine damage can occur in 30 seconds when there is no engine oil. Usually the first thing to be damaged is crankshaft bearings where the overlay on the bearings starts getting scrubbed off. This may not show up as a problem for weeks, months, or even years. There’s no way of knowing.

The only definitive way of knowing would be to drop the oil pan and remove some rod and main bearing caps; usually those located the fartherest away from the oil pump. A close examination of the bearings should reveal the difference between normal wear and any oil starved symptoms.

Doing that also brings up the fact that if one were going this far with it then the crank journals should be miked, bearings replaced no matter what, and so on with consideration given to miles on the vehicle.

If it were my car, that oil pan would come off and bearing caps removed.

The next thing to follow with oil starvation problems are piston rings, cam lobes, valve lifters, etc. and that makes the can of worms even larger.
Just my 2 cents and good luck.

It’s Not Known Just How Long It Ran With No Oil Pressure.
As To damage And Knowing How Long Until You Find Out, Which Answer Would You Like To Hear ?


@69Stang more than likely you’ll be alright, as long as they didn’t drive it around the block with no oil.
However, @ok4450 may also be right.

FWIW I’ve personally see guys do this exact same mistake. They fairly quickly realized their mistake and all was well. We would often see the same car in the shop for its next scheduled service, and they never knew anything happened. One guy even drove the car with no oil to the wash bay and it stalled. He immediately realized his mistake and filled the oil. It started back up and the customer never knew about this. I still see that car on the road, over 10 years later!

If they think they put some oil in…

Yes, another important piece of the puzzle because …
They’ve been known to, in fact, put some oil in sure enough
But ‘‘in’’ …where …?
The power steering ?
the transmission ?
the radiator ?