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Liability of sludge in engine

Follow3d Oil Life Monitoring system. Check Engine light came on-checked info tabs for oil life. 7%- so changed oil. Fist time light came on at 12,700 miles with reg oil in it. Changed oil but to extended life and reduced oil change frequencies using synthetic blends. 2nd oil change- car indicatd needs at 25,000. Changed with syhthetic blend again 5W30 Citgo. Thirda changecar inciated need at 38,000 then again at 42,000. The last one was conciding with complete car failure stranded with complete engine sludged up.

Quality Plus Lube sold the oil on basis of customer base getting 9-12,000. Still though my own car was telling me to change at the intervals above noted. Paid twice as much for oil. Who’s at fault? Liability issues with need for new engine and labor.

I Believe That Would Be You. Have You Ever Had Or Heard Of A Car That Goes 12,700 Miles Between Oil Chnges ? You Should Have Suspected Something Strange At The 25,000 Change.

Who was doing the oil changes ? Almost every lube shop tells you to come back in 3,000 miles, usually by sticker.


Some engines are more prone to sludge than others. Lube place is probably not at fault. Filing a complaint in hopes of a class action lawsuit is probably the best hope. What year and how many miles?

Who’s at fault? Very good question. I’m sure you’ll get plenty of opinions. I’ll withhold mine, since I’m not sure you can assign liability in this case.

How old is the Traverse, and what does Chevrolet say? If you were following the oil life monitor there may be a warranty claim.

Please define “complete car failure.”

Your idea about extending engine life by using synthetic blend doesn’t seem to have worked.

What Model-Year Is This Traverse ?

It sounds to me like maybe whomever was changing the oil was failing to reset the Oil-Life monitor and it just kept accumulating miles.

These monitors have to be manually reset.

These monitors don’t know what kind of oil you use. The oil life remaining is a fuction of miles and operating characteristics.

Who changed the oil ?


Chev Traverse 2009 new. Lube company told me to buy the more expensive synthetic blend becuae their customer base was getting 9,000 miles between oil changes and some 12,000.
I followed Oil Life Monitoring system and when Check Engine light came on- flipped on info buttons and read 7% remaining on oil life and changed the oil at the same place everytime.
Noticed on printouts of receipts that even though they said they had given me 5W30 and the past cutomer record shows to use that, no sure they did. Can’t prove they even did the change, maybe topped it. Chev dealership says the 4,000 miles, 7,000 miles for the 3rd and th ahnge sould be fine. The 1st two were 12700 when light came on and oil changed. The second was another 12, 000 miles or so and check engin elight came on- checked info tabs and oil was at 7% and changed it. Complete car failure was crank shaft sensor, cam shaft, mis fire, injection system failure. Looks also like the receipt shows $33 the first, $63 2nd, $33 for the third and then it was covered under warranty for the fourth along with warranty work on replacing the injector system. Engine is out of car waiting for lube company to come look at it and they refuse to. I am in rental and dealership needs bay for other customers. Dealership says something is wrong with how the lube changed oil looks like they either did not, topped it off, did not drain it all, used wrong kind and said it was the syntheti blend even though it was not. And cars using Mbile 1 are getting 12-15,000
miles between oil changes. What’s your thoughts knowing a little more about situation?

I have always been skeptical of “oil life monitors”, and this post would seem to confirm my skepticism.

Can modern motor oils go longer between changes than the oils of yesteryear?
But, can ANY oil go 12,000 miles or more between changes without subjecting the engine to damaging sludge?
Not bloody likely!

I agree that the OP may have a claim against GM is he was following the oil life monitor, but–after the fact–how can he/she prove that he/she was following the “guidance” of the oil life monitor?

Legal claims are all about PROOF, and I doubt that he/she can prove his/her point, no matter how valid it may be.

I think that the lesson for everyone is that no engine has ever been destroyed by changing the oil more often than the vehicle manufacturer recommended. On the other hand, here is one of the cases where relying on a manufacturer’s recommendation or a manufacturer’s electronic device resulted in catastrophic engine failure.

I will stick to my schedule of changing the oil ~every 3,750 miles, which usually works out to every 4 months, given my typical driving pattern. As Mountainbike says, “oil is relatively cheap, and engines are very expensive”!

Nothing was strange. The blue shop said his customers are getting 9-12,000 miles on the synth blend and my OLM was confimring that when the light came on andOLM said 7% and I changed it each time.

2009 Traverse- 42,000. OLM and Timing chain are part of Chev forum discussions and GM announced Timing Chain failures at 19K miles.

Traverse 2009- 40,000. GM announced timing chain probs at 19K miles

complete car failure is injection system replaced on warranty. CEL came back on. OnStar said again inject, cam shaft, crankshaft sensors and then I rolled to stop on side of road
with smoke coming out from hood with engine power reduction light on at that time and the echeck engine light blinking wildly. Until then nothing on the dashboard to tell me something was wrong.

Traverse 2009. Lube co reset the OLM and it read 100% and when I pushed it each time leaving the lub co, I also tabbed into the info system and it read 100% oil life remaining. And I watched it go down as I drove very carefully waiting for it to read about 35% and then to expect the CEL to come on and to take it into lube place when it reached 7%.

The damage was done to your car in the first 12,700 miles. You should have changed the oil before the check engine light came on.

I am not a lawyer, so I can’t tell you who is liable. However, I believe you should have known better and you could have prevented this. Whether you use regular oil, synthetic oil, or a synthetic blend, extending your oil change frequency as long as you did is unwise.

No matter who services your car, knowing when to get it serviced is your responsibility. You seem to have learned a very expensive lesson.

Whitey, I Was Going That Route, But Please Reconsider. In Defense Of Cartalkanne (She Seems To Be Into The Lingo And Aware Of What’s Been Happening), I Downloaded The 2009 Chevy Traverse Owner’s Manual Looking For The Bit That Specifies Miles Between Changes.

The manual tells the owners to go by the OLM. I couldn’t find any oil change intervals by miles (except if the OLM is not reset) admonishments other than changing the oil and filter once a year if the OLM indicates a longer interval. Since Cartalkanne has explained the situation, kept her cool, and is aware of all of this, I can see where she’s coming from.

The real question is : Who is liable for this ? I officially change my position. It’s not Cartalkanne if all information presented is accurate, and I have no information to make me believe it’s not.

Whitey, go to Chevrolet owners and download the Owner’s Manual. We always recommend that owners adhere to the maintenance schedules found there.

I think Cartalkanne has to obtain a sample of the motor oil and send it for analysis. Help me guys, what’s the outfit she should send it to ?


Oil can sludge up at a accelerated rate if oil level gets to low. So the big question is did the OP check the oil level weekly and keep the level between the hash marks on the dipstick. Or was the oil level never checked between changes?

I’m confused by this:

"Changed oil but to extended life and reduced oil change frequencies using synthetic blends."
Are you saying you expected longer change intervals? But you consistently honored the monitor, correct? And is ‘synthetic blend’ recommended by GM? Or does it ask for full synthetic?

“Quality Plus Lube sold the oil on basis of customer base getting 9-12,000.” So the oil change place was pushing infrequent changes? That’s a surprise!

Your engine was pretty much dead meat at the 12,700 miles mark as the oil pump pickup screen was likely sludged over by that point.
Oil life minders are utter garbage IMO and synthetics are not a savior when it comes to problems like this. Synthetics become contaminated just as easily as regular dino oil.

If you read the owners manual you will find a section there referring to various driving and enviro conditions being different so maintenance needs will vary. This severe service interval applies to just about every car out there in the real world.
A quick look shows this to be on page 6-2.

You should never listen to the lube facility again because they’re feeding you bunk. As to liability this will probably fall back on you but you can make an appeal to GM and see if they will perform a Good Will warranty.

Question. At any time during your ownership of the car have you raised the hood and checked the oil level?

CSA, if the oil life monitor was not reset, she would be changing her oil too often, not the other way around.

Okay, perhaps I was a little too harsh, but like others, I would like to know if Anne checked her oil before the CEL came on … at 12,700 miles … with normal non-synthetic oil.

Anne, we see a lot of people here who take a passive approach to car maintenance, and either took bad advice or relied on someone or something that let them down or led them down the wrong path. No matter what you do, please learn from this experience to take an active approach to maintain your car in a way that will make it last a long time. Learn to be proactive, checking your oil and other fluids frequently, and find a mechanic you can trust to service your car, whether it be an independent mechanic, a chain operation, or a dealership service department, as long as they don’t try to sell you things your car doesn’t need and they treat you with respect.

Your OLM has absolutely no idea what kind of oil is in it. It doesn’t actually monitor the condition of the oil. It just monitors what the engine has been doing since the OLM was last reset. You could reset it without changing the oil and it will tell you that you’re good for another 12Kmiles - or whatever. I hate OLMs anyway.

I cannot understand with the degree of skepticism the general public displays about anything that comes from the big 3, how oil changed monitors ae accepted without question.