Oil Change and possible damage to engine - Your input is appreciated

@oblivion Right; I once had an oil filter work itself loose because it had not been tightened sufficiently. Yes, it blew oil all over the engine compartment and caught fire when hitting the exhaust manifold. The engine was down to one quart by the time I doused the flames.

It seems to me, from some of your comments, that the mechanic failed to add oil. Not sure how oil is compartmentalized in the engine and how long my car could run if none was added and mine just drained. I am still waiting for Toyota to tell me what they have found. They have m car since yesterday and when they accelerated it, the car is definitely making some strong odd noise. They also removed the oil pan when I was there and they mentioned that there were some traces of something, which they were still trying to identify (something from the engine)…I bought a Toyota and I want nothing but original Toyota parts or whatever is required. Any thoughts?? Thank you all.

As far as the engine light, it was on after the mechanic worked on my car, and he attributed it to a hose that was lose near the air filter. Is this the light that you are all referring to? Is the mechanic able to turn off the light if there is still an issue?

Indicator lights and gauges monitor many engine functions and range from an annoying reminder to buckle up to catastrophic failure being imminent. The oil indicator, either red letters OIL or a genie’s lamp icon indicates imminent failure. When the engine starts the oil indicator should blink off immediately and remain off while the engine is running. If the oil indicator comes on it indicates there is insufficient oil pressure for the engine to run.

I think you assume too much for a typical motorist. They "should" examine all qauges while driving; they typically don't. Just because OP failed to mention an oil light being on--is not sufficient proof that it was out.

@Athena FL: I’d invite you to explain, to me, how this comment is outside the scope of the question you asked, as I fail to see how it is. Help me see it from your POV!

I commented directly on the pertinent facts of the case, as reported by you. I encouraged other posters not to give too much credence to your first-hand account, as witnesses sometimes remember things wrong (ALL witnesses, not just you.) This was done for the express purpose of diagnosing your problem and better helping you.

Perhaps you falsely interpret my opinion as a slur against you; perhaps my opinion did not dovetail nicely with whatever personal opinions you have. Sorry about that!

It seems to me, from some of your comments, that the mechanic failed to add oil.
From this post, you either failed to observe the oil pressure light for the entire time you drove the car, or the car had oil when you left the garage. No oil, no pressure-->red oil light illuminated*. If you SWEAR there were no lights lit, then there was oil in the car when you left. (Not that it affects the culpability of the garage one whit, mind you.)
  • (Unless the light’s burnt out, which you can easily test for yourself.)

If the oil light is illuminated when the key is in the RUN position then it’s working. If oil was not added or run near empty afterwards due to a filter issue then the light was overlooked.

That’s not meant to denigrate anyone as being stupid or careless. It’s simply a fact that many people do not pay attention to the red oil light or the temp gauge. It’s also a common fallback on this forum or out in the real world when an engine is fried due to overheating or lack of oil.

Many years ago my wife came in one evening and said the Subaru “smells funny”. Going outside I smelled anti-freeze, turned the key on, and the temp gauge was pegged out on H.
Back inside I asked her how long it had been overheating and she said “Well, how was I to know”.
This led to me suggesting the obvious; the temperature gauge on the instrument cluster.
That was followed up by “Where’s it at…”. Seriously. :frowning:

Since the oil pressure light turns off at a very low pressure (about 3 psi), there may have been enough residual oil to generate pressure and turn off the light, especially if the shop did an extra-sloppy job and didn’t drain the oil fully or change the filter. Which it sounds like they did regardless, since they apparently didn’t put fresh oil in and the engine is now damaged. Which is also why most of us here hate idiot lights, favoring gauges that actually tell the story of what is going on, well before a malfunction turns into a catastrophe.

There are numerous people on this forum that have had all their oil leak out while driving and the oil light never came on until either they came to a stop or the engine seized. So it may be the OP never saw the oil light come on, or the sensor might be gummed up or have a weak spring so it turns off extra early. Of course, as ok4450 said, there are some people that never notice their gauges or warning lights, or maybe most of their surroundings for that matter, based on some driving I’ve seen.

Once again, a little tiny light on the dashboard can go unnoticed for awhile after it comes on, especially if the car is being driven in city traffic and the driver is concentrating on the road as they should.

Manufacturers install an audible alarm if the lights are left on to protect the $100 battery, but a $4000 engine, not a peep. The beeper should sound off when ever the oil pressure is too low or the engine too hot to continue driving.

A lot of cars (including my current one) will give you a “ding” if one of the gauges is reading a problem or if an idiot light comes on.

With engine critical functions such as oil pressure and temperature my feeling is that some additional safeguards should be in place. That could include a ding-donger going off non-stop or even better; one of those 80s era Nissan voice boxes.
The voice box could repeat over and over “Pull over now” followed by either a low oil pressure or high temp warning. This worked with the more benign things such as a door ajar, low fuel, seat beat unfastened, etc.

One of the minor complaints I have about my Lincoln is the location of some warning lights which include the oil pressure lamp. It’s located in the center of the dash as part of the Message Center and if the light illuminated it could be easily overlooked as one’s vision would have to be aimed towards the right side A pillar and down a bit; hardly a place to be looking during normal straight ahead driving.

I am a person who is extremely aware of my surroundings and I believe that things happened too fast, even for the lights to turn on. As far as assumptions, mine are observations based on actual evidence, not sure why some people come to this forum if they are not here to help. Most of you have been great and gave me some insight or helped me think through this situation. If anyone should have noticed anything was this so called “mechanic”.

@Athena FL: My post re. people not being aware of their surroundings was not referring to you at all and hopefully was not taken that way. I think the mechanic screwed up and forgot to add oil, based on your post. The oil light may not have even come on, which is the point I was trying to make.

No, it was not about you, oblivion. Thank you for caring.

Most of us that come here are “Motor Heads” with grease under our fingernails and few of us have a lone shirt without a grease stain in our closet. That’s us, and we shouldn’t expect the average driver to be as keen as we are, when it comes to noticing things about their car. Hell my wife wouldn’t know she ran over a marching band, let alone notice a warning light.

I think we should be giving @Athena FL a break here. She took her car to a professional and expected that person to do the job right. She paid for the work and hopped into the car and only made it a few miles before the engine died.

I can’t speak for everyone here, but every car that I change oil on, is started and idled for a few minutes after the oil change, before I pull the dipstick and recheck the level. Even if the filter was double gasketed, once the gasket gave way that oil was out of that motor in short order.

So weather the OP noticed the oil low light doesn’t matter, the mechanic did a Pi?? poor job and now she needs a new engine.


Please don’t get me wrong. I do care when someone’s vehicle has suffered major damage due to what is obviously carelessness on the part of the person who serviced it. It honestly bugs me, and sometimes pxxxxx me off, to read a tale of woe caused by an automotive service.

My point is that it is common for a motorist to overlook an oil light, battery light, or what have you.
If you turn the key in your car to the run position and the oil light illuminates it’s working.
If there was little to no oil in the oil pan then the light was overlooked and that light can be on when all others are off; at least until the engine quits.
The engine feeling weak as you described it is a sign of trying to seize up due to oil starvation; meaning not enough oil in the engine to keep it alive.

The Check Engine Light could very well have been on due to the hose left loose on the air cleaner but that’s a separate issue although it could be considered one issue based on careless service.

I think they owe you an engine and hopefully this won’t lead to stonewalling on their part. You should accept no less than a comparable mileage engine with a warranty against noises and oil consumption.

@Yosemite: If your wife ran over a marching band, there would probably be some audible warnings present. And I’ll bet it would make a great ringtone. Sorry. I know I have a sick sense of humor. :smile:

She rarely listens to music in the Van, but she likes these “Audio Books” and if the grandkids are along it’s a movie in the DVD player. I can hear her a block away at least. That at least gives me time to usher the dancing girls out the back door.

And she made me go for a hearing test once???


My point is that it is common for a motorist to overlook an oil light, battery light, or what have you.
Careful! "Shoot the messenger" seems to be the M.O. today, if you dare suggest that OP possess anything less than 100% infalliblity in her recollection of events...

…not that it matters. The garage owes OP an engine, and may or may not have a leg to stand on when the garage, in turn, seeks compensation from the filter manufacturer.

I’ve been peppered with holes and still have a pulse… :smiley:

I’d be willing to bet that oil filter did not burst. It was likely loose or double gasketed and pointing the finger at a filter which can’t argue back deflects the blame from the shop.

If that filter can’t be produced in a clear plastic bag now then it’s still all BS in my opinion because a burst filter would be blatantly obvious and why would anyone scrap the evidence.

Tomorrow I will hear from Toyota, they will let me know what is the extent of the damage. I will be consulting you all to see what you think…