No Oil after Dealership oil change

We have a son with autism and 3 years ago found a wonderful lady to help my wife and me with him. A year after she started she was able to buy her first new car - a Hyundai Elantra. A few days ago she took it to the dealer for an oil change. When she drove it away the car seized up and stopped running. Turns out they drained all the oil and forgot to put any oil back in. Now they just want to re-build her engine. I’m worried that she’ll have problems with the car forever even with a rebuilt engine. What is the proper fix - new engine, new car, the rebuilt they are offering?

I would think that they would just install a new engine. I bought a used Ford Aerostar with some factory warranty remaining. It turned out that the engine had a cracked cylinder head. Ford replaced the entire engine. I was delighted, of course, but told the service manager I was surprised that they didn’t just replace the bad cylinder head. He said that Ford’s policy is to replace the engine. Some coolant had gotten into the cylinder, and he said that if it was his car and he was paying the bill, he would have just honed the cylinder wall. In your friend’s case, she should have a new engine and I think the dealer would want to go this route.

What you want is a “Factory Short Block” which will replace the core of the engine with a new one…I would reject an in-house rebuild, there are just too many pitfalls there…

The car is a few years old(I think). I think a rebuilt engine is a reasonable offer. Brand new engine would be best but reality the engine itself is 2 yrs used already.

The Hyundai dealer should install a rebuilt engine, not rebuild it in their shop.

I’m surprised they want to spend the time on this. It’s much simpler to install a rebuilt engine.


Can you explain why a short block should be installed? If the engine had no oil in it the cams, lifters, and valves were also starved of oil which probably burned them up too.

Don’t you mean a long block should be installed? Which would include new head(s)?


They’re probably gonna let the new guy practice.

The problem is they already did.

I would bet that the dealer will put in a factory rebuilt engine. Most dealer’s service departments aren’t equipped to rebore a block, turn the crankshaft, etc. and even if they were, the time a mechanic would have to spend on this job would be costly. An old mechanic I knew that had been a service manager in a big Ford dealership in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s (before WW II) told me that Ford motor company had an exchange program on engines. The dealership would pull an engine that needed a rebuild and and it would go back to Ford. In the meantime, a new engine would be installed. The Ford flathead V-8 was set up this way. The water pumps (one for each cylinder bank) were part of the motor mounts. The engine didn’t have adjustable tappets for the valves–the valve stems were ground for the proper valve lash. This was best done when rebuilding the engine in the factory.

The “factory” does not rebuild engines…They crate-up and ship brand new engines to be sold or installed under warranty. The dealership who left the drain-plug out can buy one of these engines cheaper than doing it any other way…Years ago, Ford DID sell “Factory Bebuilt Engines” but they were not rebuilt in a Ford factory, a contractor rebuilt the engines to Ford specs using Ford parts…

And yet again, nobody saw that red “OIL” light glowing on the dashboard…

And Tester, yeah, with an overhead cam engine, forget the short-block. Replace the whole thing…A low-mileage salvage yard engine is another option if you can find one…

You are right that Ford contracted out the work. Exchanging engines, though, was a part of the service offered by the dealer. In those days, the body and chassis would outlast the engine. Today, we throw the whole car away.
Nobody would see the red “OIL” light glowing on the Fords of this vintage. These Fords had real oil pressure gauges (and real temperature gauges, and ammeter gauges). We didn’t need “no stinking air conditioning systems” either–the windshield cranked open from the bottom.

We are not talking about a '36 Ford…This thread is about a 2005(?) Hyundai Elantra. You can be sure it has an oil pressure warning light…

If they extend the warranty, so if the rebuilt fails she can then get a new one.

Maybe the manufacturers ought to put the valves back in the block where they belong. Then it wouldn’t make a lot of difference whether a short block or a long block was supplied. (Sorry, I live in the old days of automobiles. The factory rebuilt flathead engines offered in the Montgomery Ward catalog came with the cylinder heads. The cylinder head was optional on the factory rebuilt overhead valve engines and cost considerably more).

The powertrain warranty on a brand new Hyundai anyway is 10yrs/100,000 miles for first owner(this case). I think with the dealer fixing it themselves and not replacing engine will leave Hyundai with future warranty issues. Replacing engine will leave a large hole for Hyundai as it is not their fault engine failed but dealer.

Then again just assuming here.

Hot everyone is hep to the warning lights or the ugency of an oil warning light. The dealer should pony up with a new engine and thank their stars the lady doesn’t sue them. a new engine is a lot cheaper than a lawyer.

The actions by the dealer’s service department are inexcusable. I would think after the technician started the engine, he would realize that there was no oil pressure. The Rambler dealer where I used to trade had a person that did oil changes. He would raise the car up and drain the oil, then lower the car and put in the new oil. He would then start the engine and make certain that the oil pressure light went off. He would then raise the car back up and check around the oil filter and drain plug with a flashlight to make certain that there were no leaks. I do the same thing when I do my own oil changes. I only own two tools–a sledge hammer and a propane torch. In repairing something, if I can’t beat it to pieces, I burn it up. Yet, I think I could do better than the lube person at this dealership.

Not only did the customer not notice the oil light but neither did the mechanic when he pulled the car out of the shop or the car jockey when he brought the car up from the parking lot.

Simply following simple procedural rules prevent the customer from being presented with a vehicle with no oil in the crankcase, but still it happens, many times everyday, day after day.

Rather than saying “they just want to rebuild her engine” the Dealer is trying to get away with fixing only what has caused the engine to sieze, much less than the “rebuild” you guys have pictured in your minds. This is why the Dealer wants to do something that at first sounds senseless.