Oil change after effects

So a hand me down vehicle from a deceased parent was taken in for a routine oil change. Car seems great before that, ran well, no smells, no lights. 30 minutes after picking it up from the oil change the engine is knocking, burning oil smell, sputtering. No oil on dipstick. No apparent leaks. Dealership says it’s gunk. Just drive it out they say. Next day i put a quart in, drive a little. Same symptoms. Oil gone. Prob burning up.

I look at service records. 17000 miles since last oil change but seemed pretty on schedule before that.

What happened? Dealership says it’s because the gap in changes led to gunk pushed loose by the change and now poof. Un-driveable.

Does this hold water?

IMHO, this spells-out only one thing, namely that they drained the old oil, and failed to refill it. Even a vehicle that is burning oil severely is not going to consume all–or even most–of its oil in 30 minutes of driving.

After you added 1 qt, what was the level shown on the dipstick? You DID check the level again before starting the engine and driving it… I hope… :thinking:

That is enough to have built-up a lot of damaging oil sludge inside the engine, especially if it took your late parent several years to accumulate 17k miles. But, that reality aside, I believe that they failed to refill the oil after draining it.

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Hate to tell you this, the dealer is lying but now you will not be able to prove it. Have you filled up the oil to the full mark on the dipstick? Did adding the one quart fill it up enough to read on the dipstick? Did the red oil light come on? BTW, it take 4 to 5 qts to fill from empty, not just one.

Most important, did you check the oil level at the dealer before taking the car out and do you see any oil under the car? Have you looked for leaks?

I’m on the side that says they forgot to add oil again but if you failed to check the actual oil level, too late now. Upon symptoms, you check the oil, and if none there, have it towed back. The evidence was destroyed.

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Sludge can clog the oil pump pick-up screen and starve the engine of oil, this will damage the crankshaft and bearings.
Sludge can block the oil drains above the cylinder head trapping a couple of quarts, this will give you a low oil level indication on the dipstick.

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OK @timzeipekis_183223 drove it for 30 minutes before it started making noise. I suspect a massive leak more than failure to fill. That massive leak could be due to a double gasket on the oil filter.

@timzeipekis_183223, fill up with oil all the way to the full line on the dipstick. Put some newspapers, piece of cardboard or old towel or sheet under the engine. Start the engine for 15 seconds, then shut off. Wait 1 minute then inspect the paper/cloth under the engine for oil. If it was double gasketed, there will be a lot of oil.

If the engine runs quietly during this 15 seconds, and you have a massive leak, have the car towed to a repair shop, not to the dealer and have the oil leak diagnosed and documented with pictures. You may be able to salvage a little more use from this vehicle if the oil leak is repaired and the oil filled back up.

Then call the dealer with the findings and let them know that it has been documented. Expect the dealer to pay for the tow and the repair and compensate you for the loss of expected life from the engine. Threaten with a lawyer if he wont negotiate.

17 k miles intervals for oil changes? Seems a little too long. Appx 5 k miles is what I generally use on my older cars. But newer cars are coming with longer and longer service-interval recommendations. What does the manufacturer recommend for the car’s oil change interval? That info should be in the owner’s manual.

The routine advice given here after shop work is for the owner to look under the car for leaks, and to check the oil level on the dipstick themselves, before driving away from the shop. And to do that again before driving the car the next day. Remember, the shop techs are imperfect humans. They may have got a phone call in the middle of the job and forget where they had left off.

Both explanations are plausible. Which one is correct requires more investigation. If it were me I’d change oil again to rule that out then on to plan b. Possible all the oil didn’t drain out the first time due to sludge, then got over filled?

I also disagree with the theory that they failed to refill the oil. The engine would be complaining severely well before 30 minutes of driving.

OP, you still haven’t answered the question as to whether adding one quart brought the oil to the full line on the dipstick.

Sludge problems are usually quite visible by inspecting under one of the valve covers. Engine is off of course. Sometimes can see in that area just by inspecting inside the oil-fill hole.