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No oil in car after paying for oil change at Jiffy Lube

Here is my dilemma, I have read a lot of the prior posts and reviews from other people having issues with Jiffy Lube. My question is this, has anyone ever taken there car to Jiffy Lube, paid for an oil change ($74.99 synthetic oil since my car has over 200,000 miles on it) and received an oil drain? If so, what was your experience with JL in regards to them owning up to or admitting they made a mistake and ruined your vehicle, also how long did it JL to do so. I own a 1996 Nissan Pathfinder.
In September of last year, I, my daughter and two grandchildren decided to go across state ( I live in Washington State) for an over night trip. I needed an oil change on my car (I am very good about getting them done every 3000 miles) so I went to my local JL it was around 8:30am.
I paid and was on my way. Went across state approx 257 miles one way, came back around 4:00pm the next day. I had no problems at all (except for right after I left I was about 70 miles into my trip and my tires started to slip and I had never had this problem before so I called JL and explained what was going on and the manager told me that they may have accidentally bumped my 4 wheel drive while vacuuming and I needed to pull over, put it in 4 wheel drive then back out again and see if that fixed the problem. Which it did)
I pulled into town and started to hear this, what sounded like a rattle paint can noise.
Long story short, I checked my oil that day and found that my dipstick was bone dry even though I paid JL for an oil change 24 hours earlier. I took it to a mechanic and after removing the entire engine they found that my engine was broken due to liquid starvation (lack of oil).
JL has admitted they are at fault, JL has purchased a used engine to replace the one they broke.
It took 2 weeks for them to get me rental, they refused to pay the insurance on my rental car they bought a used engine and did not even allow me to research the place where this engine came from. I received an e-mail from JL with an attachment from the mechanic giving them a final bill on replacing an engine without the engine being bought yet. Can mechanics do this and how does a mechanic know what a final bill is, without having done any engine replacement? I did not receive this e-mail until after my car was done.
I still do not have my car, I am being charged over $1000.00 for insurance on the rental (even though I did not request this insurance) I have insurance on my car that I could have changed over. Was told when I picked up the rental JL was paying the insurance. The mechanic called me during this process of replacing my engine and explained that he could not put the engine in unless I bought a new alternator, then he called again and said my clutch was bad, then belts, then something else, it continued. In the end it is costing me $1200.00 for the mechanic and $1000.00 for the rental.
Should JL be responsible for fixing my car back to where it was at before the breaking of my engine? All of it? I paid for a service I did not get. My car broke because of it and now I owe over $2000.00 on a car that was paid off and non of this is my fault. Has anyone had any issues similar to this?


Unfortunately…your story is all too common. My wife paid for a transmission service…drain, replace filter and fill. Jiffy Lube left out the fill part and the van made it about a mile before the transmission died. They made an attempt to have the transmission rebuilt but it failed in the first hour of operation. When I got back from my TDY assignment…I bought a used transmission and installed it. I chalked it up to “lesson learned.” Please post back with the final ending to your story.

My question is this, has anyone ever taken there car to Jiffy Lube, paid for an oil change ($74.99 synthetic oil since my car has over 200,000 miles on it) and received an oil drain?

We’ve had many people over the years complaining about how one of those quick lube places screwed up their oil change…either no oil, or filter wasn’t put on tight enough.

Their business model is to rush vehicles through as quickly as possible. This will lead to mistakes happening.

Get a lawyer. JL should be paying for EVERYTHING.

Now that you learned your lesson…find yourself a good independent and have them change your oil. Stay far far far away from places like Jiffy Lube. Most people here do.


When an engine is replaced they take a lot of parts off the damaged engine and put them the new one. Power steering pump, ac, manifolds, fuel injection, alternator, etc. For some reason the alternator didn’t work and you needed a new one. Perhaps you can make a case that this is JL’s fault, but they can fight it.

On the rental insurance my guess is you ended up getting the extra daily insurance. I rented a car recently and I had to initial that I declined the insurance several times when completing the contract. Ask the rental company to show you the original contract and where in it you gave your OK for the insurance. When you do this I recommend you have an experienced traveler who frequently rents cars come with you.

Modern oils (especially synthetic) can generally go further than 3000 miles. Just sayin’.
See what your Owner’s Manual says for “severe service”.

It happened to my late father-in-law at Woolco. His Buick ran exactly 8 miles before the engine seized up, and sure enough, there was no oil whatsoever in the crankcase.

I have used a local reliable oil change facility several times, but I always check the oil right after I drive out of their shop.

These places use kids who are easily distracted by their girlfriends calling them; after they hang up, they forget where they were in your oil change process.

A 200,000 mile engine wouldn’t drive for 500+ miles with no oil in it. No engine would. I’m surprised JL is paying for an engine here. But before placing blame anywhere I would want to know exactly how low the oil was when the noise started. How much oil did you have to add to get it to the full mark?

If in fact they are responsible for your engine damage, then they should return your car to the condition it was in right before it failed. Which means installing a used 200,000 mile engine. If the clutch, belts, hoses, etc. are worn out than those worn out parts either get put back on the car or the car owner pays for replacement parts. And it just doesn’t make sense to put those worn out parts back on the car.

If in fact all these things are worn, what’s the condition of the rest of the car? If I were JL and I assumed responsibility for the engine failure I would have written you a check and let you decide whether to fix or junk the car.

And off topic here, $74.99 for an oil change? We do full synthetic for $55.

My friend had his done at JL and they didn’t add oil. Luckily his oil light came on as he tried to leave. Another friend’s wife drove a mile and the oil light came on. They forgot to tighten the oil plug and it fell out.

An engine with no oil in it wouldn’t last more than a few miles and the oil pressure warning light would/should alert the driver to loss of pressure before the engine totally destructed. But regardless, If I felt compelled to go to Jiffy Lube I would make a point of watching them at least go though the motions of adding oil and then look at the dipstick myself before driving away.

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Make mine another comment that an engine could not possibly go more than perhaps 10 miles max without oil. However, the possibility does exist that they didn’t tighten the drain plug and the oil slowly drained out. I’m actually amazed in this case that JL is replacing the engine. Talk with an attorney, but I’m betting that if this went to court with just the information you posted than the best you could hope for would be shared liability, primarily because of the mileage you put on after the oil change. JL’s lawyer would probably point out that your low oil pressure light should have illuminated and you should have shut the engine off as soon as that happened.

Having said all that, contact a lawyer. At this point it’s a legal problem.

The Same Mountainbike has summarized my thoughts precisely.
With the number of miles driven before engine failure, it is simply not possible that JL failed to put oil into the crankcase. However, they clearly did screw-up in some manner that caused the oil to leak out of the engine.

An attorney is the best resource for the OP at this point, but no attorney will be able to secure a “new” engine for the OP. At best, he can hope for another 200k mile engine that may also have some issues as a result of its age.

What JL has done in the past is NOT put the filter on correctly or the drain plug on just hand tight…thus causing it to leak. So after 200 miles the oil has leaked out.

If some parts are worn out, then changing them now makes sense. However, I would be carefully reviewing the labor charges associated with these parts to make sure they aren’t double dipping…

I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment seeing as how the horse has left the barn.
Omitting the current engine swap, rental car, money, etc I might pose this.

The car in question has 200k miles on it.
The car obviously had enough oil in it when it left Jiffy Lube or it wouldn’t have made it out of town.
This means the engine either leaked the oil out for whatever reason or burned it. A leak is obvious.

My questions to the OP would be these.
Year, make, and model of the car?
How often do you check the engine oil level?
How much out of town or extended driving occurred before this nearly 600 miles round trip?

The point here being that if someone was loitering around town all the time and just happened to luck out due to oil loss between changes the oil burning issue may have manifested itself during the high speed highway run.

I don’t understand how you made your trip after the J: Service. I mean if they did not fill the engine with oil…you wouldn’t have made it to the highway before your engine seized up…AND you should have had the OIL light illuminated on your dash before you even left the JL parking lot…that is if there was NO OIL in the engine. Even if the engine was LOW on oil…the oil light should have been lit up IF the light does function…It is tested each time you turn your key all the way on prior to engaging the starter motor. Something is VERY strange here with how your engine failure occurred.

Your Pathfinder drove over 500 miles with no engine oil issues until you got back home. Which can suggest that the engine was not entirely full…and you burned enough oil to make the level drop even further…AGAIN…where was the Engine Oil light during all of this? I am also shocked to hear that JL offered to pay for any of this so easily… What was their reasoning after hearing the vehicle made it over 500 miles with no issues…and then suddenly the engine has an oil related failure. THAT little factoid SHOULD HAVE made them tell you to go F Yourself…which is so common in this sort of case. So I am honestly scratching my head over this one.

Perhaps the failure was due to the oil filter? Wait…no… That doesn’t explain the low oil level…at all. I’m assuming the Oil Light Does NOT work on this vehicle as well…because there are several instances where it should have been BRIGHTLY LIT UP. On my GTi…if my oil light comes on WHILE I am driving…I HAVE EXACTLY 5 SECONDS BEFORE MY ENGINE IS SHUT DOWN…WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ACTION… I made my own engine protection circuit to handle this… No Oil Pressure…5 seconds later my engine is SHUT DOWN… Like it or not… LOL

But enough about my silly contraptions… I really am confused here…
On several levels… The first one is WHY JL offered to pay for ANY of this.
Second…HOW they determined they were at fault AFTER a successful 500+ mile trip
Third… Where was the Engine Oil Light? It tests itself on each startup.

Im probably more confused about other things but I cannot recall which at the moment…LOL

IF JL Stated they were responsible…which I cannot see how…AT ALL… Then YES…They SHOULD COVER THE COSTS INVOLVED… PERIOD.

This is one of the JL Horror stories that is not as Black and White as they USUALLY ARE… I mean when JL Screws up…You aren’t even past your 1st stoplight before the Angels are flying away with your poor oil starved engine. So chalk me up for serious Confusion here. Please un confuse me if possible.


I had the similar situation with another shop (not JL). After chaning the OIL, OIL light showed up & I felt loss of power on next day. I parked the car on the ramp. I checked the OIL. It was below LOW level. I notice OIL spread around OIL filter area. I checked the filter. It was loose. I tighten the filter. I added the OIL . I did check the filter on & OFF. It was OK. I am lucky. It did not fry my motor.

I find some times OIL change folks do not perform good job. We need to keep eye on OIL level & filter . I am not sure, whether they do this purposefully to get more work.

You are blaming Jiffy Lube for things that are not their fault. Clearly they knew that they did something wrong, whether it was a loose filter or plug because they took responsibility for that.

Neither the alternator nor the clutch were affected by the oil issue. I can understand the clutch needing replacement at 200k, but you should not be charged the full labor on a clutch replacement because they had the engine out already, but there is some labor plus parts. There isn’t much labor savings on the alternator or the belts, but I do not see the urgency in replacing them either. I think you may have been bullied by the mechanic on some of this, but his recommendation for a new clutch was a good one.

You were also bullied by the rental car company. They are very aggressive about pushing that insurance, but you can decline it. You have to be assertive about that, very assertive sometimes.

The shop admitted they caused the problem according to what you say, and I expect they have liability insurance for exactly this problem occurring. What your remedies are depends on the exact law as stated in the legal code in your state, and only a local and experienced practicing attorney would know. I expect you already know this, but as soon this happened and you couldn’t get clear answers to your questions, that was the time to consult an attorney. The attorney would know what you are allowed to do on your own for temporary transport and be reimbursed for, and what you won’t be reimbursed for.

Still, it is not too late. I expect once you get an attorney involved, the attorney will phone up the shop attorney and they’ll consult w/tht liability insurance company and everything will be resolved and for the most part to your satisfaction, excepting perhaps expenses you’ve incurred prior to consulting an attorney, and maybe you’ll have to pay part of your own attorney’s fees.

I have to respectfully disagree that JL had admitted to causing a problem. They could be stepping in simply because of the short length of time that elapsed between the oil change and when the problem occurred and the manager of the facility not being mechanically astute.

JL would be at fault IF:
The drain plug fell out.
The oil filter fell off or was double gasketed.
They did not add oil after draining it. This is unlikely given the duration of the trip.

I know it may be difficult to believe that a 200k miles engine could blow through 3 or 4 quarts of oil in 600 miles but it’s entirely plausible for that to happen.

If the drain plug and oil filter is intact and not leaking then I have to absolve JL of the blame on this.

Thanks everyone for all of your comments. I did not go into a huge detail since I was more looking for anyone that has had the same experience as I.
I will explain a little more of the situation.
After I pulled back into town and went with my gut instinct to check the oil and found that there was no oil on the dipstick (it was bone dry) I did put in 3 quarts at that moment, which my car only holds 3.9 quarts.
I called JL and explained that I just had to put oil in my car and the manager on duty agreed for me to bring my car back in so they can take a look to see what may have been the cause.
I took my car back to the exact JL that the oil change was done at on Sunday following the oil change which was done on a Thursday. I heard the noise on Friday. I parked the car until Sunday when my son who is a mechanic could go with me back to JL.
Once we were there, the two young gentlemen who were working (no manager on site) went over my car for about 45 minutes and could not figure out what was wrong. At one point they thought it have been the water pump.
My son asked to go down below for a moment cause he wanted to take the guard underneath my car off to check to see if there was any fresh oil on it anywhere. One of the JL techs followed behind him and much to both of there surprise, they found no fresh oil anywhere on the underneath of my car.
The tech and my son came back up and at that point the techs instructed me to take it to a reputable mechanic in the area and do what it takes to find the cause of the problem.
My son and both of the JL techs agreed that when they did the oil change they only drained it and did not put any oil back in. Which at this time was admitting fault.
I took it to the mechanic and 1 week, hours of labor and the complete tear apart of my engine the mechanic called and said that because of the lack of oil my engine was ruined.
I am not sure about how my car made it that far. I am not a mechanic.
The only explanation the mechanic, my son and everyone else I spoke to could come up with is that the residual oil that was in the engine was what allowed my car to make it as far as it did plus the .9 of a quart.?? Not sure that makes any sense.
The mechanic checked everything that JL would have done at the time of the oil change just to make sure they did not miss anything.
All of my lights do work on my car and my car has been taken care of faithfully over the years.
As for me checking my oil (and water), it is every morning.
I am OCD about that since I cracked my block on my 1987 Toyota 4 runner by not checking the radiator and oil and it overheated because it had no water in it from a leak I was unaware of.
As far as the insurance on the rental I was told that it was taken care of by JL and when I did do the inspection with the rental car company I did check mark I did not want the insurance since I had my own. It has been two months and the rental company cannot find my contract I signed. I am usually pretty good about keeping a paper trail and unfortunately the contract was left in the glove box of the rental as a just in case I needed it for any legal reasoning (like being pulled over) and when I dropped the car off I failed to get that paper. Yes my fault.
The only thing I have received is the invoice on how much I owe them.
I have a paper/slash e-mail trail for all of this and the negotiations from JL on what they were willing to pay for.
I did hire an attorney.
I do appreciate all of the comments and experiences all of you have had and the knowledge, of you all and the differences of opinions.

Thanks again.