Murder of a mini

my husband recently took my 04 Mini Cooper S in for routine oil change. When he left work he noticed the oil change light was on. He thought that they had not reset the button as is required in our BMW, but watched the temp gauge, which did not go up. His office is more than 30 miles from home via interstate. By the time he got 10-15 miles from home the car was sounding rough. He checked oil as soon as got home and the dipstick was dry. They had busted the o-ring on the oil filter. After replacing the oil filter and filling it with oil, the car sounds “normal” again, but I want to know if they damaged my car. The nearest dealership is almost 200 miles away. What do I watch for listen for? Do I need to take it to the dealership and let them look at it? Need advise. Have pictures of the oil trail and lack of oil remaining when drained it to change filter.

Driving it as far as your husband did, with a steadily declining amount of oil in the crankcase, has surely down some damage to bearings, rings, etc.

Will the engine quit tomorrow? Probably not, but its life has been greatly shortened by this screw-up on the part of the oil change place. I would suggest that you have a sit-down with the manager of that place in order to determine what they are willing to do for you without litigation.

Also, let this be a lesson to NOT drive the vehicle with an oil light on again.

I have an '03 Cooper S and I must say, the oil filters on these cars are a real pain in the butt to install.
Unlike most cars, they do not use a standard screw-on “can”
There’s a replaceable filter element.
Screwing the cap back on after putting in the new element is next to impossible without cross-threading it.

That being said, a dealer tech should know better and should have checked for leaks when he/she was done. (something my old man engrained in me when I was young and I never fail to do after an oil change)

Also, on these cars, there’s a difference between the oil change light and the oil pressure light. Which one was it?
Since the oil change light goes out shortly after starting the engine, I’ll assume it was the oil pressure light that remained on. If that was the case, then your husband should know better.

Since the OP stated that the nearest Mini dealership is almost 200 miles away, I rather doubt that this botched oil change was done by a dealership. This certainly sounds like a “Quicky Lube” special, although an independent mechanic who is not familiar with this make could certainly have screwed things up–especially if he was in a hurry.

So–OP–please enlighten us regarding where this oil change was performed!

The engine has suffered damage, no doubt about it. It’s lifespan is going to be very short since lack of oil pressure is going to scrub the bearings up and score cylinder walls.

The temp gauge is not the thing to watch if an oil problem exists. An oil pressure gauge or idiot light is what he should be aware of. If the gauge is on zero, or close to it, or the red light is on - STOP then and there. Period.

Sounds like a fast lube facility made an error here.

This was done by a quick lube joint. My husband is normally more careful. However, we bought the car used with no manual. The oil light is in appearance like our BMW. On a recent oil change at the BMW dealership, they tripped the sensor light and we freaked out and took it back immediately only to have them reset the button. Since the mini is made by BMW, he assumed this was a similar problem.

I posted a reply to the oil light comment below, we do feel incredibly stupid, but had same light problem with BMW that panicked us and it was nothing. The lube joint has offered to do whatever it takes to make it right, but I have no idea what to ask for. They want to know from us what we want. How do I know how much damage they did and what it’s worth?

So, it appears that our suspicions and our worst fears have been confirmed, since this botched job was done by Quicky Lube and since apparently the driver did operate the car for some time with the oil pressure light glaring at him.

The first mistake (going to Quicky Lube) is one that we frequently caution against, because of screw-ups just like occurred to you. However, the average Joe usually doesn’t know any better until a problem occurs. As to driving with that oil pressure light illuminated, now you know how foolish you were to NOT obtain an Owner’s Manual, and as a result, my empathy is a bit more limited than it would normally be under these circumstances.

Yes, the Quicky Lube does owe you big time, but in truth, the damage could have been limited if hubby had done the right thing and had shut off the engine, rather than assuming that he knew what that light indicated.

I can’t add much. You now know.

  • Don’t go to fast lube places.
  • Do get an owner’s manual and read it for any car.
  • Oil lights are usually Check oil not Change oil.

Don’t feel bad, all of these things we see almost every day here.

Have the dealer check out the car for anything that might have been damaged and make sure the quick lube place covers it all or if the dealer agrees gives you a written warranty for possible additional damage that may not be easy to verify right now. Work with the dealer on this one.

Dealers are not always the best place for service but in this case they may be the best as you are not paying the bill (dealers are almost always more expensive) and the dealer will have more authority in any issues with the quick lube place. For normal repairs, it is usually a good idea to find a local mechanic, not part of a chain, and use them to save some money.

Good luck.

First you should have it towed to your mechanic(not some chain store) and have them look over the engine to see if any damage did occur. Do NOT drive this car until you have it looked at. Charge the towing bill, your mechanic’s fee and any other charges incurred while fixing the car. Atleast this place is owning up to their mistake, some places would tell you to bugger off, that the damage must have occured while you were driving the car, not from any mistake they made.

I did own an 05 Mini and must say that the Oil Change is Due light is not the oil pressure light. The Mini goes WAYYYYY far before oil changes because it senses when the oil needs changing and tells the driver by way of a light. This is not the same warning light that the driver would see if the oil was low, so don’t dawg out the guy for driving with the light on.

Unfortunately, along with this oil light business the OP also has a vehicle (according to them) that was running rough, making noise, had a dry dipstick, a broken oil filter gasket, etc. so one could assume there was a serious problem other than an Oil Change is Due lamp.

Actually, I said it sounded rough, not that it was running rough. For a girl, I have very sensitive ears to changes in the way a car sounds. I have always heard slight differences in engine noise. Had we not been on a busy highway in rush hour traffic, would have stopped to check the oil. As much as I love my car, I also value my husband and stopping and getting out of the car that time of time is a scary proposition. We were just a few minutes from home by the time I could hear a difference in the engine. We obviously did not know that the o-ring was broken or the dipstick was dry.

the best advice you got here is… DONT DRIVE IT.

any further use is both compounding any possible damage, and making it harder to make jiffy lube responsible for damages. (remember they know how many miles were on it at the oil change [its on your slip], and you told them you drove it xx miles) any more and they will say, thats YOUR fault for furthering damage)

document, detail, and don’t drive. i dont even think you need to have it towed to the mini dealer to have an inspection done to suffice for engine condition. find a local reputable mechanic (that jiffy lube will accept) for an independent opinion.

it may not be murder, it may be mercy!!

A matter of semantics. Dry dipstick, damaged oil filter gasket, filled it with oil, and sounds rough all point to an engine problem. The only question is the degree.
It may run apparently well for the next 1000 miles or 30k miles, but it’s damaged goods. The fast lube can be held responsible for this but you’ll have to document the problems and possibly push a bit to get reimbursement for any problems.

If it were my vehicle I would connect an external oil pressure gauge and check the oil pressure. After that, and again if it were my car, I would have the oil pan dropped and pull a couple of rod and main bearing caps off so the crank bearings can be examined. If the bearings are scored and/or into the underlayment then the engine has a limited future at best.

I cannot imagine why people take their cars to such quick lube places . . . change it yourself, it’s easy . . . or find a decent mechanic. However . . . that being said, the other adult driver in my household (who shall remain nameless for reasons of marital tranquility) drove her civic once until, as my daughter said to me later . . . “Daddy I was afraid, it was really loud and started to smoke!” Ended up being a stuck thermostat . .actually melted the plastic radiator. She (oops!) said she thought the problem would go away and kept driving. I used to lecture about how to drive, why cars do this and that, what you should do, warm it up, and so on and so on and so on . . but not anymore. I just fix it when it breaks and accept the fact that some folks don’t care about cars. I still tell her that if it was a horse it would’ve run away years ago. :0) Rocketman

Or that the horse would have bitten her and then run away! Rocketman

The no quick lube thing has definitely been a lesson learned here. We’ve have almost always taken our other vehicles to the dealership for oil changes except for a couple of times when we have needed it done for last minute trip. There is no mini dealership here. How do I find a good local mechanic to do this sort of thing for us on a foreign vehicle like a mini?