Nightmare at Valvoline


I haven’t used Costco for tires

But I’ll say this . . . when I walk by their shop, I see some extremely high quality tire mounting machines and wheel balancers. They have the various adapters for mounting the rims on the balancer, the ones that don’t booger it up

So I’d say your co-worker probably didn’t haven anything to worry about


several years ago, at the dealership, one of my colleagues was all set to remove a headliner. I believe he needed to replace a sunroof

He had layed out all the tools needed to remove that headliner

Among them was a crowbar . . .

I didn’t say anything. I just walked by and decided it was a good time for a smoke break

That same guy, at one point there was a slow day. Some of the guys decided it was a good idea to toss a softball around, in the shop. Somehow, a baseball bat appeared.

Somebody tossed the ball to this guy. He got all wound up, swung the bat, and missed

He put all his effort into it, missed, and threw out his back . . . badly

Looking at the comments on the jalopnik page several people say it’s a (too) common practice for lazy techs to cut holes in the belly pan.
Isn’t it interesting that a place that only does fluid changes has a saw on hand?

@db4690, that headliner must have been the heavy duty option…

Some years ago at a Subaru dealer where I worked a new Subaru was set for delivery to the customer. I did the PDI on it and turned it over to the washroom guy for a last minute cleaning.

Somewhere between the vacuum cleaner and handing the keys to the new owner it was decided to let the washroom guy install a decided at the last minute luggage rack on top of the car.

Not long after that the service manager came to me wanting to know if I had anything to do with the luggage rack install. Nope, you handed that to the washroom guy; remember? This is news to me.

Apparently the guy misplaced the attachment screws that came with the rack and helped himself to another set out of the hardware bin.
Unfortunately, instead of 3/4" screws he chose 3" and never noticed the screw threads sticking a long ways through the headliner.

They handed the keys to the new Subaru owner, wished him well, and within 2 minutes he was back inside at the counter in a justifiable rage when he DID notice those screws which a blind man could have seen.

What was odd was that the washroom kid was actually a very hardworking guy and was pretty mechanically inclined. How he botched this I do not know as it’s out of character.
Friday and thinking of date night with the girlfriend I guess…

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a shop cutting a hole in a splash pan to change the oil.
This is beyond scary. This is criminal. Thank God the Audi owner had the good sense to check everything before driving off. He ended up needing a new splash pan, some fluid and filter changes, and maybe a flush, although if I read the article correctly (and I hope I did) no fluid was ever added to the tranny and the engine received only oil… so once it’s fixed up he/she should be good to go.

One has to wonder how many other cars they’ve sawed their way through and possibly not caught on. Apparently they were prepared in the pit with a die grinder or Sawzall…

If the manager of that facility did not fire that miscreant on the spot then the manager should also be canned like a tuna for not doing so or possibly allowing a pattern to exist.

It’s also disgusting that some of the comments on that site and on an Audi forum has a number of people placing the blame on the Audi owner for taking his car to a fast lube facility in the first place.

I had a Passat with a similar belly pan. Over 12 years, I had to replace it twice, both times when it worked loose and rubbed against the street. Not a great experience at 70 MPH !!

Mechanics both times advised me to just take it off and forget about it, it’s not needed. Apparently it’s a pain in the a-- to take off to do an oil change. The connectors get lost, etc. I suspect at least one of the failures was due to an oil change mechanic not reinstalling it correctly.

Bottom line, VW should have put a small port in the pan for oil changes.

@db4690 Yes the type of cleanliness and quality equipment reminds me of Germany. Definitely a major cut above your typical chain.

I place absolutely zero blame on the customer. I give him great credit for checking after the work was done. I tip my hat to him.

As regards the store manager, IMHO he should be immediately fired along with the employee. I cannot possible imagine him not knowing this was going on, and if he didn’t than he’s guilty of extreme dereliction of duty. My guess is that he sanctioned it in order to push cars through the shop faster.

When I changed trans fluid on the Acura, I expected to have to first remove the cover. But alas, the cover has an indent so the drain plug can be accessed without removing anything. Plus the drain plug is not a hex bolt but you put the ratchet drive in it. You would have to really try to screw that up. Maybe just a little more attention to engineering would have been helpful here.

Perhaps, but what Valvoline did was way beyond a simple screw up. Way, way beyond.

Sometimes one reads about an incident which makes one ashamed to be part of the human race.
This is one of them.

I’m also in agreement with mountainbike about the store manager being in the know on this. Who knows; maybe this type of butchery is on orders from the manager who figures it to be cost effective when weighing any time saved against any problems they have to cover once found.

I wonder how many people who visit that facility are driving around with butchered belly shields, splash pans, etc and are totally unaware of it. Some may drive their car for years like that before wrecking it or trading it off and are blissfully unaware the fast lube facility is run like a slaughterhouse.

Thats why we need transmissions we dont have to service(and they can be be produced) thats the main reason we dont have an electric car yet.I shudder to think what would happen to the economy,if an honest viable electric car was put into production,well actually the way that the “PTB” are doing things now it wouldnt make much difference,I guess the coming population reduction will put us back into serfdom.
Wake up people,the Coffees a burnin!

I do love the customer,if they are not a “Dickhead” we have a reasonable expectation of having a good job completed,by competent individuals.I have had so much ,“substandard” work foisted on me in the past few years,I think America is going "to Hell ,in a Handbasket"I can only hope and pray,that Hispanics,do my work ,I need done-I want the people from Mexico to do the things,I need done,they seem to be the only Folks capable of doing quality work anymore(my best friends in prison,were Hispanic,even the Guy with a bad atittude,was capable of doing quality work.
Maybe some day.I will move to the southwest,seems like there is “real familia” there

@db4690 writes …

So I'd say your co-worker probably didn't haven anything to worry about [using Costco to install his Mercedes' tires]

I agree. I’ve never had any problem at all with a Costco tire install for my Corolla. The only problem I now have is last time I checked anyway they don’t seem to offer tires in the size that fits it any longer. Econo-boxes are moving to larger diameter tires it seems.


You’re absolutely right about the tire selection

Costco has extremely limited selection, in regards to 13" and 14" tires

Even the selection of 15" tires is pretty meager nowadays

I have to add that I considered copying the Valvoline article and showing it to a friend to emphasize the importance of checking the work after a job is done… but I’m afraid to. I’m afraid she’ll go into an anxiety attack every time she gets her oil changed. I would.

I go to Valvoline instant oil change for my required state inspection every year. They don’t do repairs so they have no incentive to find bogus repairs. While I am in there I hear them try to upsell every oil change. From conventional to synthetic blend, from blend to full synthetic and according to them, every one needs an air filter element, cabin filter and once a year a fuel system cleaning, transmission flush, brake fluid and power steering fluid flushes as well.

The funny thing is, their synthetic oil changes are $75 versus my Toyota Dealers $60 and my Toyota Dealer will give you every 3rd one free. I still do my own. For me it is faster and easier than going to the dealer and while I am waiting for it to drain I look over the under side of my car for anything that needs attention.

I got in line for a state inspection once at our local Valvoline oil change outlet. I sat and watched as they checked things like trunk lights, oil levels, cooling system, and items that were unrelated to safety inspection regulations in NH, searching for something to fail the cars for. They had placed a safety cone behind my vehicle (my old pickup) to prevent me from backing out. They’d move it every time a vehicle joined the line. After watching this sham for three cars ahead of me, I backed over their safety cone and drove away, never to be seen again.

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I like your style :smiley: