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No oil in car after Jiffy Lube service

Took car to Jiffy Lube for annual state inspection. Did not request oil change. Ironically after 2 short trips totalling 20 miles car engine seized – totally destroyed. Did not see oil light come on prior to engine failure. Car towed – mechanic said “not a drop of oil” in car. Engine has 120,000 miles – 1998 Camry Toyota. Jiffy manager inspected car after damage-- noted no oil blow out, sudden loss of oil. Said security tape would show if anyone approached car to change oil. Jiffy franchise corporate office refused to let me see tape. Stated I must have engine torn down for inspection to see if car was burning oil. If history of burning oil – engine component will show blue rings ???. I believe this is a stalling tactic and will prove nothing. Your thoughts please.

Get a lawyer FAST. A lawyer can get a subpoena to see the tape. You have every legal right to view that tape.

Did they do an oil change?? Or just the inspection?

This is just one more reason to stay away from places like Jiffy Lube.

Engine component will show blue rings??? No sh*t.

After being cooked like that, I would imagine so.

This sounds like a stalling tactic to me. That part about “blue piston rings” is downright laughable but considering that most JL employees do not have strong mechanical skills statements like that are at least a bit understandable.

As to the surveillance tape, that could be a sticky deal. Corporate offices usually have a company policy of not turning over tapes like this to anyone who asks.
This means it will require a lawyer with a subpoena or a local law enforcement agency. Since this is a civil matter you can pretty much forget the law end of this.

Based on what you’ve posted holding them accountable is going to be very difficult. If the tape shows nothing going on then you’re sunk.

My questions to you would be:
Who does your oil changes?
When was the last time you actually raised the hood and checked the oil level?

I agree, get a lawyer, JL is in ‘damage control’ mode, do not believe a single thing they say. I would contend that a video tape is not needed, your car had no oil in it right after they ‘changed’ the oil. Time to go to court.

Why would the manager even tell you that there is a tape running?

How does Jiffy Lube know that the neighbor you are having problems with did not drain your oil?

You would not have made it 20 miles without oil.

Just as some say there are bad mechanics there also are customers that will try and replace that 120,000 mile engine on someones elses dime.

Does the oil light work?

Well, we are still waiting for the answer to ok4450’s questions, namely–

When was the last time that the OP checked his/her oil?
Who does the OP’s oil changes?

And, the other key question is–When was the oil last changed?

We all know of J-Lube’s legendary screw-ups, but this may not be one of them.

Sounds like they made a simple human mistake.

Someone drained the oil, while another realized/learned it was an inspection and NOT an oil change, then inspected and released the car not knowing part of the oild change had already been acomplished.

Does your oil light NOT work?
It is to illuminate whenever you start up and go out when adequate oil pressure is attained.
I usually check oil light whenever I start up.

JL can claim it was drained after you left.
How will you prove it was not?

Jiffy Lube always did a good job for my girlfriend and her mother.
before I started doing them.

You’ll need a court order to see the tapes. These are not considered public documents.

Talk to a lawer. Be advised that because of the low amount of money at stake he may suggest that you simply file in small claims court. The burden of proof will be on you, so unless you can document JL’s fault with evidence of a missing filter gasket, a lost drain plug, or something of that nature, it’ll be your word against theirs. You may need the engine teardown as evidence. Paying a few hundred to have a shop do one (don’t let JL do it) may be your best path to follow.

Blue rings would not prove a history of burning oil. They’d prove a a history of oil starvation.

The tape, were you to get it, may not help your cause. If it shows oil being added but is not clear enough to show something like a missing filter gasket or a loose filter or plug, it may look like everything on their end is kosher. Remember that these tapes are set up to protect them, not you.

Call a lawyer, perhaps file with small claims court. Try, fight the good fight, but don’t get too optimistic.

For a long as I can remember I always have checked the oil level after driving home from an oil change… checking level and color…as well as for any leaks…usually forget to do it at the dealership. Just a careful person.

The request was for an inspection. I think an overly zealous employee also thought the oil was to be changed and drained the oil. I understand that a “team” performs the oil change. One employee drains the oil underneath the car and another employee refills from the top. I feel certain one team member mistakenly drained the oil but as the car was not in for an oil change, there was no refill.

Thanks for your response. I am definitely not a mechanic but I did not believe this engine teardown and inspection by a third party selected by Jiffy Lube (at my expense) would be of any value to this investigation.

My son was using the car and he had oil routinely changed at Jiffy Lube every 5,000 miles using Mobil One synthetic oil. I do not use Jiffy Lube or quick oil change services. My husband changes the oil in the vehicle I drive.

Happened to me too. Jiffy Lube destroyed my engine after a routine oil change. Forgot a gasket or something. I was young and not savvy enough to get a lawyer and all I got was $500 toward a rebuilt engine, which was the amount of their deductible toward a claim. This happened in 1993.

The manager met me at the garage where the car had been towed. He did his best to come up with a reason why the car had no oil. I had enough knowledge of mechanics that I was able to counter every point he made. For some reason, the car was losing transmission fluid which he tried to point out as an engine oil leak. I had seen transmission fluid before and asked the owner of the garage to take a look and confirm that it was not leaking engine oil. finally as a last effort, the manager said he would need to look at the “film” to determine what happened. The “film” was the security tape which he said we could view together. Of course, I was never allowed to see the tape.

I checked the spot where the car had been parked and there was no oil leakage in the parking area.

My son was driving the car. He said he did not see the oil light come on and did not notice a problem until he heard the engine noise and loss of power. He was on his way to the airport at 4:30 in the morning so he pulled into a parking lot and called a cab.

The oil light is on now.

I, too, believe this was a simple human mistake. Mistakes do happen but it is very frustrating dealing with business owners who refuse to allow you to see evidence related to the service of your car. I made it very clear that if I was allowed to see the tape and there was no evidence of anyone going beneath the car to drain the oil, that I would drop my complaint immediately.

Jiffy Lube had always performed well for my son as well. He has records of routine oil changes at regular intervals for the most recent 5-6 oil changes – all at the same location as this final service. He lives in NYC now and has no car to maintain. However, I am sure he will never return to a Jiffy Lube.

Thanks for your response. You assessment and recommendations are in line with my thoughts. The loss of the car is not a life altering event but I have been so frustrated with JIffy Lube’s response to date that I will definitely fight the good fight without high expectations of success. Good customer service is vital in resolving problems such as this and the customer service I have encountered with this complaint has been extremely arrogant. I was told that even though I would be paying for the teardown and inspection, that I would not be allowed to read the inspection report as it would be Jiffy Lube’s property.

That is an excellent bit of advice. I do check where my car is parked at home for oil leaks but in the past I have never checked to make sure that oil was actually put in the car. No oil – no leaks.