Oil change mess up

I had a HUGE service job performed on my 1999 S70 Volvo on Dec. 14,2007. It cost $1400.00, was done at the Volvo dealership in Spokane, and included an oil change. I noticed about a week ago that my car was sounding grumbly when I started and also when I would turn corners the oil light (Aladdin’s Lamp), would flick on and off. This had not happened before so I checked my engine oil when I filled up and the dip stick read nothing. I want to say that I regularly check my oil and get my car serviced, but hadn’t checked my oil because it had been changed so recently. Any way, I added 2 quarts immediately and drove to Lloyd’s auto repair here in Coeur d Alene where I live to see what was going on. They got under my car and tightened the oil filter about a turn and a half by hand. They noticed it was covered in oil. I told them I could add more oil and watch to see if anything happened. I went home and added 3 more quarts. Now my oil stick shows that the oil is just a pinch above the full line. My first question: Have I added too much oil and made matters worse? My second question: Could my car have been damaged by the low oil and subsequent noises it was making? By the way, it quit making the noises as soon as I added those first two quarts.

Thank you, (I hope you can answer this quickly, (like maybe today),

Yours in car tragedies,

Diana Gray

Yeah, you were down, what five quarts…and how much does it normally take…five quarts?

So, odds are decent that some sort of damage had been done … what and how much and when and how that damage might manifest itself is up for debate. Did you get any documentation from them about how they left the filter loose, in the event that the engine seizes next Wednesday ;>0

Being a touch over on the fill is no big deal, but is it like just an 1/8th of an inch, or is it much more than that…I tend to run the paranoid level…if it is an 1/8th or less I wouldn’t get excited…More and i would drain some out. Of course my cars all have Fumoto oil drain valves, so it’s pretty simple to tap out a few ounces.

I would not worry too much. Rapid lube facilites do this all the time; when you need 4 1/2 quarts, and it is not bulk oil, they will put in 5, instead of filling it up and giving you the other 1/2 quart.

BTW, I do all my own changes just because I like to look around while under the car and see what else is ready to be fixed…but no matter who does it…I usually drive about a half-mile afterward, stop, look under the car while it’s running to check for leaks like the filter that manifest themselves more when running.

Then I shut it down and check the dipstick…Did I mention I’m a but paranoid…but that has saved me twice, once when I had crossthreaded the filter and oil was leaking out and once when it was overfilled by about two quarts…

You must have a large sump in the car to be 5 qts low and still not trigger the light. I suspect your car is OK, but don’t make a habit of this.

I would make two suggestions however. #1 Why have a dealer do that kind of work. They are almost always going to charge you more and they are not likely to do a better job than any good independent mechanic which might cost you 50% less.

Second don’t go to a quick oil change place. The specialize in things like forgetting to put in the oil or forgetting to tighten the oil plug or filter etc.

The noises you heard could be metal against metal. Not a good thing generally.
My suggestion is to check your oil the next 3-4 days and note where the oil level is on the dip stick.
Keep your invoice for any future issues.
I don’t think much of your dealership for being so incompetent in changing the oil,and YOU had to add your own oil.

A little over full is not going to hurt anything.
Way under nothing on the stick will cause damage to some degree.

What I would be concerned about here is that you added 2 quarts, drove to this Lloyd’s shop where they tightened the filter. You then drove home and added 3 quarts.
This means you’ve been driving around for how far and how low on oil during all of this?
Why in the world would the guys at Lloyd’s allow you to leave after tightening an oil filter with a potential expensive problem looming?

I side with you about not checking the oil level so soon after a major service and if there is damage the dealer could be responsible for it.
However, this needs to be documented thoroughly and the point could be made that both you and Lloyd’s have had your hands in the stew already which could lead to them denying any responsibility.

I agree with most…you could have serious engine damage here…Not with over filling…but with LOW oil…Driving ANY car with little or no oil can/will do serious damage to the engine.

I also do my own oil change. I always check for any leaks before & after I drive the car around the neighborhood. And while under the car, I look at all the CV boots/joints, struts/shocks, tie rod ends, ball joints, bushings, connectors, any other leaks, etc… which some or most of the shops/lube places don’t always do or neglect to do.