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New Car and a Ruined Engine?

Guys I need a crystal ball!

I bought a brand new 2010 Subaru Legacy 3.6R with a 6 cylinder engine. I nursed the car, never passing 3,000rpm. At 3,750 miles I went for an oil change at the dealer. I started the car after they put it in the parking lot, and sat there for five minutes and no warning lights. I drove approximately three miles when the oil light went on. (It might have been the oil pressure light since they look nearly the same.) I drove back to the dealer, shut off the engine and the oil dipstick showed no oil. the dealer said that they only put in one qt. the following week I brought the car back for a compression test, which showed very close compression numbers which seem at spec. I have driven the car another 1,200 miles with no problem, sometimes at high speed (65-80 mph). Has the dealer significantly damaged the engine so that I will get problems right after the warranty ends? Should I sue for a new engine?

Red Robin

P.S. Love the car! Drives like a foreign touring car!

Its a dealer. I would make them put you in a different new Legacy b/c I would not trust this at all.

What were the compression numbers?

First, do I understand that the dealer only refilled 1 quart when he did an oil change? If so get that down in writing from the dealer. Ask for an extended warranty to cover any damage that might be related to their error.

For future reference, when an oil light comes on, you should drive to the first safe spot possible. Don’t keep driving to a convenient spot.

“I drove approximately three miles when the oil light went on. (It might have been the oil pressure light since they look nearly the same.) I drove back to the dealer, shut off the engine and the oil dipstick showed no oil.”

When the oil light comes on, you don’t drive anywhere. You pull over and call the dealer…

From what you have said, they botched the filter installation, allowing most of the oil to leak out…But you will never know the whole story…

No one can tell if the engine was damaged so lawsuits and demands for a new car will get you NO PLACE…Hopefully you are protected by a 5 year/50,000 mile engine warranty.

The dealer said that was all he filled, but I could not look into the shop because they did the refill in the back.

The dealer stated that the mechanic was used to working on 4 cylinder cars, and filled it to that level. If true, the car would have been down 2.5 qts.

The engine is damaged goods and a compression test will reveal absolutely nothing about the condition of the crankshaft bearings and cam lobes. Those particular items will be the first things damaged due to lack of oil. Compression readings only give you an indication of what the pressures are the engine’s top end.

Since people often provide allegedly good compression numbers that are not so good (shops are guilty of the same thing) then what are those numbers? They SHOULD be in the 180-190 range.

You botched this up good. If you truly were 3 miles from the Dealer with the oil pressure light on and you did not open the hood and check the oil level, verifying the cause of the illuminated oil pressure light to be the absence of oil but instead drove the car back to the Dealer, this is all on you.

When the light came on you should have STOPPED. Called a tow truck (and while waiting for the tow truck, checked the oil,and had the tow truck driver look over your shoulder while you checked the oil again). When you got to the Dealer you should have had them write a repair order with the phrase “customer says oil light came on after recent oil change” ""Illuminated oil pressure light and low oil quanity verified by this Service Writer., you would have been golden, but you made every mistake in the book instead.

You are correct oldie, But a bit unrealistic. New car. Oil change at the dealer. Possible blown engine. I think the dealer has to eat this one. People have an assumption that an oil change was done right, in this case it was not it appears.

I never assume anything…I check the oil level before leaving dealership lot…and drive once around their parking lot before heading home…compulsive maybe but better safe than sorry.

Job should have been done properly…Yes, I agree. But I see time and time again in these pages that people drive some number of miles somewhere after the oil light comes on. Why oh why do people do this? One of the first things people should be taught when learning to drive is that the oil light means STOP! Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Stop as soon as possible and shut the engine down! It would save so much grief!

As long as the car is running properly, this case is closed…