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My Toyota dealer (Toyota of Puyallup) caused low oil damage to my engine - 2012 Camry Hybrid

I have a 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid. A Toyota dealer did not install my oil filter properly. I drove the car for two weeks. I commute 80 miles each day and drive at 60+mpg. The oil light did not turn on. I finally heard the metal tapping noise getting louder, so I drove into the dealer. No oil was on the dip stick. They added 3.5 qtrs of oil. They told me that the car still had 1 qrt of oil, so no engine damage occurred. BTW… they drained the oil pan, so I can’t determine if metal shavings existed.

What measurements and what metrics should I insist they perform to prove to me that no engine damage or excessive wear occurred? There are many oily parts and many are not visible, so I need them to run certain tests using instruments that don’t lie.

Instead of just dealing with the folks who were responsible for causing this problem, I suggest that you “kick it up a notch”, to the people at the corporate level, who will ultimately be responsible if (when) this turns into a warranty issue.

Your Owner’s Manual has information regarding how to contact Toyota’s customer service staff via toll-free telephone and via mail. I suggest that you send them a letter (via certified mail, return receipt requested), detailing the situation. They will assign a case number and will likely get the regional service supervisor involved.

First, I’d Want To Know:

How was the filter installed improperly ? Did they tell you that ?

Why was there no illuminated driver warning of low oil pressure (tapping noise) ?

Why if a car was making increasingly loud tapping noise, anybody would continue driving ?

Do these vehicles not have a low oil level warning as our Impalas and Bonneville have ?
Why wasn’t that working ?

Send an oil sample into Blackstone Labs with $25. They can tell you if there’s abnormal wear going on in there. They have a spot for comments on the submission slip and they do read them. Tell them what’s going on, here. You can get it there, fast and ordinarily, they’ll get results to you quickly.

Water over the dam, but even though I change my own oil, I always run the engines and check for leaks. That’s part of an oil change. Your story and similar ones contribute to reasons I change my own oil. Regardless, I’d do the same checking even if somebody esle changed it.


Good Advice VDCdriver.

I’d do that ASAP and while waiting I’d do my own investigation and testing.


Regardless if your out come today (I’m guessing they are not going to do anything for you) make sure thus us very well documented. So if you have issues in the future you have a paper trail.

oil analysis is good. i would also recommend a compression test, and an oil consumption test. if these are all ok, then you might not worry so much if any damage was done.

Get everything in writing. If they told you anything when you picked it up that is not in writing, go back and see if you can get it.

Do you have a written document that says the oil filter was not installed properly and the car was low on oil as a result? If not, then tell the dealer service rep you want such a document. Get Toyota Corp. involved. What I’d want is an extended warranty on the motor from the dealer. I want the warranty to cover the next 80K miles for any engine repair that could result from pre-mature wear caused by the low to no oil condition. This means crankshaft and camshafts, and all the bearings, rod caps, and rod bearings, and other oil lubricated internal motor parts.

You can look for damage all you want, but the only real assessment is expensive. Namely you tear the engine apart and measure the parts in the motor and compare those measurements to new part specs.

If the motor was getting noisy then some damage and extra wear occurred. If the motor is now quiet and is running smoothly with seemingly normal power; then I’d go for an additional warranty and drive on.

After every oil change I’d advise you to check the oil level the next day, and a week later. If there is an oil leak you might uncover it before the level drops so low that damage is done.

One quart of oil is not enough to prevent engine damage as that 1 quart is in suspension; meaning it’s splashed all over the insides of the engine, pooling in nooks and crannies, etc, etc. It’s doing nothing for oil pressure.

I’m also at a loss as to why a “Low Oil Level” reminder or low oil pressure light is supposedly not operative.

This is a dealer screwup and they have a vested interest in telling you everything is fine because if a new engine is needed the cost will be borne by the dealer, not Toyota Motor Company.