New car, 1st oil change, Forgot the oil

Okay, here’s what happened, brand new car. Took it to my mechanic for the first oil change. Went to pick it up, drove 20’and stopped. They came out pushed the car back in. They blamed a faulty oil filter for preventing any oil from circulating and said there would be no problem. 50 mi later, I’ve stopped driving it because it’s clanging like crazy. Two part question.1. Could the engine be toasted that quickly, and 2. How do I go about getting this fixed and having my warranty reinstated?

I meant that I drove the car 20 feet and I stopped the car because it sounded like there was no oil in it.

If this was done by a private mechanic, rather than the dealership, then the warranty is not part of the picture for repairing the outcome of this goof. This is all on the head of your mechanic.

In terms of future warranty coverage, you should probably speak with Toyota’s corporate customer service people. Contact info is in your Owner’s Manual.

Private mechanic. I am afraid he destroyed the engine in under 15 minutes. I haven’t got a clue as to how to get this all fixed. If I go to Toyota, and pay them to make it all new again, can I make him pay? I don’t want to let him near the car again. And besides, he can’t fix the warranty. And here’s the kicker. Because I always buy my cars new and rack up about 200,000 mi. I always maintain the crap out of them, and with the new elctronics, I actually paid for a 175,000 mile warranty this time.

You have two avenues open to you: 1. Take it to the dealer, and say nothing about the oil change snafu; 2. Sue the mechanic, and hope he has that type of insurance; 3. See if your home or auto insurance will cover “an act of god”.

In a Small Claims Court, this should be as much of a slam-dunk as a case could be.
The only problem is that the monetary limit in those courts is frequently $5k, and in some states it is less than $5k.

The engine should be rebuilt or replaced by Toyota, in order to (hopefully) maintain warranty coverage, and your goofball mechanic has responsibility for whatever it might cost, but the bill is likely to be higher than the monetary limit of the small claims court.

Due to those limitations, you may have to hire an attorney to sue him. You can sue for attorney fees and court costs, in addition to the cost of the new/rebuilt engine, so you should wind up being made whole in the long run. However, you will have to lay out the money yourself, and then sue him for all of your expenses–including rental cars.

Yes, damage could occur that quickly.

It is solely and totally the responsibility of the mechanic to correct this. The warranty does not cover mistakes by non dealer mechanics. But the shop may have insurance coverage.

The first thing you need to do is call the shop immediately. Give them an opportunity to assess the damage and respond. Contact the owner if it’s privately owned.

The second thing you need to do is clearly document the entire situation including dates and mileages. Don’t throw away your sho orders from your visits, as that may be needed.

If the shop does not offer a satisfactory resolution, you need to contact an attorney. IMHO a new engine and a written warranty from the shop (he may have to pay for a third party insurance policy warranty, but that’s his problem) should be part of the offer.

At the risk of being redundant, document everything complete with details. Should you have to go to court, you’ll need it.

That is the most heartbreaking story I have seen here. Have you checked the oil to see if there is currently oil in the car?

Get your money back on that 175k warranty(most decent ones let you). That company will long be out of business before you can make a claim.

Your warranty is not void on the entire vehicle. Just engine related items can be denied.

That would permantly link us to this one shop in this city. If I wanted that I would have bought one of his re-builts.

We also have been a long time customer of this shop and have helped them out in the past. But I am still floored by the fact that he told us that there was no harm done and not to worry, just drive it home. He had to have known that right then and there the engine warranty was trashed. And lately since they moved and doubled in size we’ve caught other minor problems.

No, I’m thinking I’m going to have to go to the dealer (which I hate to do) and have them assess it. What really stinks is that when we bought this Toyota in Dec. one of our requirements was that it be a model fully built in Japan. I don’t see how we can possibly get a new “J” engine installed here.

I suppose I could see if he wants to buy it before I go to the dealer…

hmmmm, we bought the warranty from Toyota in December (we had insisted on a “J” at time of purchase and as of today have not been recalled). At the time we thought they would be in business for the next 6 years…

An extended warranty from the vehicle’s manufacturer is very much different from the “fly by night” outfits that advertise on TV constantly. Andrew was assuming that your extended warranty was of the non-manufacturer variety.

Yes, Toyota will still be in business 6 years from now, and for many years beyond that. Now, you need to find out what to do in order to preserve the potentially valuable coverage of that warranty.

Double check that Toyota is actually backing your extended warranty for 6yrs/175k.

I have never in my life heard of any car maker backing a 175k warranty. A fly by nite warranty company yes.

Your engine is damaged goods and if you want recourse then you go against the person who did the goods damaging, not the people who built and sold the car.

Warranty is for the repair of defects in workmanship or materials. It is NOT for the repair of something damaged due to someone else’s screwup and an extended warranty is not going to pay for this either.

About all you can do is demand your mechanic install a new engine and the definition of “new” does not mean a salvage yard castoff.
Your mechanic will quite likely balk over this of course due to the expense and this means you will have to bring a suit in court to push the issue.

(And this “faulty oil filter” is a lame, very lame, excuse to try and deflect the blame from them.)

Sorry for any confusion, I’m not looking to USE the warranty here. I want the vehicle repaired to the level that the warranty is valid again. Which may mean that a dealer has to put in a new Toyota engine. But even then it won’t be a “J” engine like we orginally ordered and paid for.
If that is possible, then I expect the mechanic to pay the dealer for the work.

Frankly, it may be cheaper for him to buy the car from us,and then fix and re-sell it, than it might be to pay the dealer to check and replace the engine.

I would agree with you. On a new car that has only seen one oil change, and a botched one at that, you should accept no less than a new (not reman, used or anything else) Toyota engine.

You should stay on top of this in case a few things happen. One could be stuffing the engine with Motor Honey or something like that and handing it back over to you with the proclamation that everything is fine now or whatever.
Motor Honey or any similar substance can shut a noisy engine up and the engine may run fine but it’s doomed.

A dealer I worked for took in trade a very low miles, super clean Dodge once and sent it back to the service dept. for an oil change and general go-over. After I changed the oil the engine rattled horribly. (it was fine when I drove it in)
An inspection showed the oil that came out of that engine had been doctored with Motor Honey, STP, or something and the person who had traded the car in was obviously behind this.
Needless to say, the boss was mad and this car now became a financial liability due to the cost of installing another engine.

Update: We live in NYS and the DMV will help.

If this was an issue with a repair that had been done, I would ask the repair shop to fix it. But in this case if the repair shop fixed it with a rebuild or even a new engine, the dealer warranty on the engine would be null and void. If the repair shop gave me a warranty, it wouldn’t the same as being able to go to any dealer in the country for a repair. So, the DMV says to take to the dealer, get an estimate of what it would take to make the car the same as it was last week. I’ll then offer the shop the option of buying the car or paying the full bill. If there is any issue the DMV will step in and mediate. The cost of a rental won’t be covered, just the repair.

Now we get find out how much damage running a brand new RAV4 with no oil can do. I guess the good thing is that this is a brand new car so there is no question about how worn the engine was before this happened. And I have to figure out what we would have to “sell” the car for, since the point at the end of the day, is to end up with an identical vehicle with warranties.

Thank you for the update and keep us informed. You’re also doing the right thing with a new Toyota engine and you’re right; future warranty is an issue.

Keep in mind that if the engine is refilled with oil and it appears to run fine this does not mean for one nano-second that the engine actually is fine. It can have serious issues and run fine right up to the point a connecting rod comes loose or a rod or main bearing tries to swap sides.

Regarding the part about a bearing swapping sides, a car was towed in to us once in which a botched oil change similar to your situation had occurred.
The engine was pronouced fine with fresh oil and 10k miles later one of the two rod bearing shells on one of the connecting rods tried to occupy the same space as the other.
This led to an instantly seized engine and the car screeching to a halt.

This was due to excess wear that had occurred due to the lack of oil and in this case th engine was so badly damaged that it was not economically feasible to even fix it.