Nightmare at Valvoline

If anyone needs any further evidence of the damage that can be done to cars by clueless/careless/just plain stupid employees at a quick oil change place, then take a look at this sad tale about what happened when a guy took his Audi S4 to a Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop:

I was just reading that yesterday.

That’s not even lazy idiots, as it takes more effort to saw through the pan than it does to just unlock the clips. That’s, like, mentally deficient idiots on mind-altering drugs.

Especially with dealerships and other shops matching quick-lube prices now I don’t understand why they’re still in business. My dealership is actually the cheapest oil change around, and they give me free donuts and coffee. Why would I pay the same amount to let someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing poke around in my car, and I don’t even get a donut! :wink:

Those are my feelings exactly, shadowfax!
Since the dealership charges essentially the same price as everyone else for an oil change, and since their techs work on the same cars–day in and day out–there is much less chance of a screw-up at the dealership, IMHO.

Additionally, I am not getting a White Box filter at the dealership, and they actually replace the crush washer on the drain plug each time–unlike most oil change places.

Not to mention the bald faced lie about not having done it when the pieces are in their trash can…

That’s about as stupid (as opposed to the word ignorant…) as something can get.

Just as tragic, if not more so, would be if that particular species of moron is still employed there.

The only thing that has me curious is why the Audi owner sitting in the car did not notice or feel something amiss while the cutting was going on. My assumption is that the panel was cut with a die grinder and wheel and those generate a fair amount of howling noise.

@TwinTurbo Even dumber is letting the guy down in the pit when you know you’re lying about the car. “Yes, we didn’t do the thing that we did and to prove it we’re gonna let you dig through the trash where we stuffed the evidence!”

ok4450- the article points out he did feel the activity going on but at the time wasn’t sure what it was. After he saw the damage, it became clear.

Yeah, they don’t seem like the sharpest knives in the…ah, place where they keep the sharp knives :wink: I would have been livid!

I Change My Own Oil Partly Because I Imagine A Person Screwing Something Up (Spilling An Ounce Of Oil On My Engine Or Putting In Conventional Instead Of Synthetic Or Using A White Box Filter… ), But I Never Envisioned Anything Like This! Unbelievable!

I would think the customer should be entitled to a couple grand in compensation for the time lost and mainly for mental anguish.

It’s getting colder and I’m getting older, but I’ll still go outside and change my own oil.

I am with @shadowfax on this one. I had been a customer of an independent shop for almost 25 years and had trusted its work. However, a new manager/owner is now in place. The shop seems to find a problem each time I go in for an oil change. I was,told that the,struts were leaking. I looked under the vehicle and couldn’t find any trace of a leak. I had my tire shop look at the struts when I had a fire repair and that shop said the struts were fine. I took the vehicle to the Toyota,dealer for the next oil change and they found nothing wrong with the struts. Our other vehicle specifies 0W-20_synthetic oil. When I,looked over the invoice from the last oil change from the independent shop, it indicated that 5W-30 oil had been installed. I ran about 5000 miles, but then took the car to the Toyota dealer for the next oil change. The price of the oil change at the dealer was about the same as the independent shop. I certainly would never go to a quick lube place, but now I won’t go back to the independent shop. I didn’t mind paying the same at the independent as I paid at the dealer, but I do want the proper oil installed.

@“common sense answer” I agree that doing one’s own oil changes is best. I used to not only change the oil, but would hit the zerk fittings with the grease gun. However, at my age I have become lazy and would rather pay to have the job done. On the Toyotas we have, the filter is on top the engine and easy to access and there are no grease fittings, so I really don’t have a good excuse for being so lazy.

One part of the tale is that the wrong drain plug was removed, for the transmission, from the forum post it sounded like the customer was getting a check for the $1,400 or so that it cost at the Audi dealer to fix the car.

Out of the idiots working at that valvoline shop, I feel the manager is more sinister than the “mechanic”

The “mechanic” was incompetent and stupid

But the manager lied through his teeth, and would have let the customer drive off with either no transmission fluid, or perhaps the wrong type of transmission fluid . . . in addition to the obviously destroyed splash pan

I replaced an evaporator the other day. It was a bear

I would never ever dream of cutting a gigantic hole in the dash, to get to it and get the job done quicker

The manager truly deserves to get fired, probably for unethical/dishonest behaviour. And hopefully they tell him “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you pathetic weasel”

The “mechanic” should get fired, too, but for incompetence. They could tell him “We’re sorry, but it just isn’t working out. Please have your tools out of here by the end of the day.”

Incompetence is accidentally taking off the wrong plug and draining the wrong fluid. Cutting through a cover that has obvious fasteners holding it in is so hard to believe, this borders on vandalism. This is beyond stupid, beyond a mistake, the worker had to willfully pick up a tool not usually used for an oil change to cut a hole. I cannot imagine what they were thinking when they did this. I am glad the oil change shop paid $1,400 to fix the owners car.

I do have a good story to tell about Valvoline here in Western PA. I usually have my local shop do oil changes when the cars are still under warranty to have a receipt in case of a warranty issue with the engine. Once out of warranty I change it myself. My daughter has a Rav4 and it was due for an oil change around Thanking. The shop was busy, my daughters work schedule did not give her any flexibility and we got a great coupon from Valvoline. So against my better judgment we went there, I was going to keep a close eye on them, but did not need to. In addition to being most polite they double checked each other as they did the work. Once the oil was changed they had me start the engine for 2 minutes to check for leaks, then shut it off. The let it sit for a bit then checked the oil and showed me the dip stick. I did double check later but all was good. They did try to sell me all kinds of other services which I declined. They said the trans-axel was due for fluid change every 15k miles. I checked the owners manual later and it only needs changed this frequent when towing, she does not have a tow pkg.

Maybe the “mechanic” was high on drugs or booze . . . it’s hard to explain why he cut that splash pan

Drugs and booze make you do stupid things, from what I hear :frowning:

You’re correct TwinTurbo, I must have missed the part about the tearing sensation…

It’s one thing to botch an oil change by leaving the plug out or leaving the filter loose but this incident is flat mind boggling as to sheer, unadulterated stupidity.

Other than wondering if the clown who did this got the axe one has to wonder about any other cars that guy had his hands on before the Audi incident.

Even if that buffoon was terminated one also has to wonder what that guy is at today; lube tech at an Audi dealer maybe…??? :wink:

“Maybe the “mechanic” was high on drugs or booze”

About 5 years ago, a very alert cop in my town decided to investigate the presence of a car–with its lights on–parked in back of the local Jiffy Lube, long after it had closed for the day. He found two guys in the car sharing some “nose candy”.

Who were the guys who were apprehended?
They were the JL manager and one of his employees!

The shop remained closed for several days, most likely so that the owner could find a new manager and a new “tech” who could both pass a drug test before being hired.

I will have to admit I went to the local Valvoline 20 years ago to have my coolant flushed and filled. We had sold our house, was in a rental until our house was done, and just didn’t have the facilities or time to deal with it. I think it cost me $50 but the manager was there all the time watching what was going on and no problems. But then this is a small town. I’d be very careful though with any services done there.

Yeah pure incompetence and deceit though. I’m sure the team just moved on down the road to another quick change facility. After all they are experienced now.


I saw the same thing happen at a Pep Boys once. I parked way in the back, because that’s the only parking I could get. Then I walked into the store, to get some parts.

I saw two guys in Pep Boys uniform walking towards a car in the far corner :worried:

When I came back, they were still in the car, shooting up :unamused:

And then they probably went back to work . . . :fearful:

What does an S4 go for new? Isn’t it like $60 k? This story reminds me of when one of my high-tech start-up co-workers, one of the founders of the company, he had just received a huge cash windfall when the company went public. In the tens of millions. I was over to Costco to buy a 20 pound bag of pinto beans and there he was having Costco put new tires on his car. And looking very worried. He’d always driven a Honda Civic, which never gave him any worries at Costco or anyplace else. But apparently he’d purchased a new and very expensive Mercedes with his new-found loot and was worried Costco was going to scratch the paint. I guess it didn’t occur to him that he didn’t need to use Costco anymore … lol …

It might be noted that one of the posters in the comment section on Jalopnik stated that a tech at the dealership where he worked did the same thing.

Maybe that tech got canned at the dealership for cutting the belly pan up and ended up at the fast lube facility in question…

Wash, rinse, repeat…