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Oil change SNAFU

If one were to take their car to a service garage for an oil change with no problems and just looking for regular maintance only to get in car to drive away and not even get off the lot before console starts flashing oil problems, stop driving, and you do just that before even getting off the lot a few seconds later… would it surprise anyone to hear that the mechanic overfilled the oil level by 2 quarts?

But even more so, what then? And if the problem was NOT because the mechanic put in too much oil, what kind of problems would the car have been having before getting regular maintenance as described above?

I wish I could say this was only hypothesis, but it could happen, and are there any circumstances mechanics insurance people could find to say problem was pre-existing and how would they know?

Thanks in advance for any feedbace… Respectfully, Isi

“would it surprise anyone to hear that the mechanic overfilled the oil level by 2 quarts?”

No “mechanic” was involved with this…Maybe some grease rack moron…

This is AMERICA!!! You pay your money and you take your chances…! If you want to know what your oil level is, OPEN THE HOOD AND CHECK IT!!!

Even before you drive your car off the lot after paying for services? I had not thought about it from the;

“No “mechanic” was involved with this…Maybe some grease rack moron…”

perspective. I wish I could find an argument, but you make a good point I suspect.

Respect, Isi

Many quick service places just pump five quarts into the engine and let it go at that, without even checking the dipstick. That is a common capacity, but not all cars take five quarts, and sometimes their equipment is not properly calibrated. That can lead to overfilling the crankcase. I would like to know more about this story. What you have posted is about as clear as mud. What lights were flashing? Did this actually happen, or is this a hypothetical situation? I have never heard of warning lights coming on so dramatically and quickly due to the crankcase being overfilled by two quarts. Two quarts, low or over, will not cause any symptoms on most vehicles.

lets not forget the ones who drain the tranny fluid, then REALLY overfill the oil

Many chain quick service places use a computer to look up oil capacity of engine and set their lube gun to that amount. It is a win-win situation for customer getting proper amount and also cuts down errors and waste of overfilling.

More specifically, 2 quarts overfill would not cause an oil light to come on.I mention this so that the public does not get the idea that this can happen.

2 quarts overfill on an engine that is full at half a quart may have issues (but those engines are not in cars equipped with oil lights).

Then why would the garage forman say it would, could, did… rented us a car, did not charge for the oil change, and sent to dealer for flush of engine and re-fill? Even my girlfriend found info on this very sight that says 1.5qts. overfill can do severe damage quickly due to getting around rockers and “frothhing”… etc etc…

Yes, it happened to an 02 VW passat with 60K on it. 6 cylinder 1.7 liter engine. The oil light started to flash first, within seconds of starting followed by info panel on console giving auditory warning and flashing stop on console…which I did. There were NO problems with vehicle before or when drove onto lot.

And the garage forman told me himself… their computer told technician wrong amount needed and it was their fault. I would not have thought it could be so serious and I am just trying to educate myself a little bit and appreciate you all’s help:) Respectfully, Isi

If anybody is still paying and attention and willing to share their wisdom/experience/whatever… it would be greatly appreciated!

I remembered something a little bit ago that seems to me might be relative. As stated above, after leaving garage, the warning lights flashed and dinged almost imedeiately and I never got off lot. BUT, garage mechanic jumped into and took for test drive. It seemed like could have been as long as ten minutes, but like I said, just now remembered and it could have easily seemed like longer than it was under circumstances… but they did, at least around the block kinda thing, drive the car before they looked at whatever they look at to verify amount of oil they should have put in.

Thanks Y’all! Respectfully, Isi

It is very hard to make out what your actual question is.

From reading everything in the thread so far, I can see this:

It’s an '02 VW Passat.
It went in for an oil change.
During the oil change, the oil was over filled by 2 quarts.
During the oil change, no one at the “shop” that changed the oil ever looked at the dipstick to see if it was over filled, under filled, or just right.
The “shop” handed you the keys, and when you started up the car, and started to drive away, the car informed you that there was a problem before leaving the parking lot of the “shop”.

You then asked the “shop” to look at the car, and they took it for a test drive, with the warning lights still going off, came back, and then FINALLY checked the oil level.
They then admitted guilt to over filling the engine with oil.

So what is your question?
Can there be damage?
Potentially, yes, there can be. Most likely to the main crankshaft, and connecting rod, and camshaft bearings.

Can the car warn you if the engine is over filled?
Yes, some German cars can in fact warn you if they are over filled.
My Porsche Boxster does this. My gf’s Chrysler Crossfire does this, also.
Its entirely possible your VW Passat does this too.

I don’t understand what your actual question is.
The way you have worded your post to be so round-about has made it very difficult to determine what information it is that you are looking for.


Yes, it happened to an 02 VW passat with 60K on it. 6 cylinder 1.7 liter engine.

In 02 the engine should be 1.8 turbo charged engine. You DO REALIZE that this take specific SYNTHETIC OILS as a REQUIREMENT, don’t you? I really doubt that the quick lube carries the VW 50x.xx oil that you require, nor the higher spec oil filter either.

This is what got VW/AUDI into real trouble around 2000-2002. Too many VW/AUDI sold to too many people and too few dealerships charging too much for the limited distribution oils. Now the oils are more available, but they’re not being (necessarily) used by the same consumers.

That all said, I really can’t see too much happening between the guy driving it in, over filling it, driving it out (he didn’t have trouble there, did he), and you not getting off the lot. Hopefully this is just a resetting thing via some VAG thingie.

When you get this straightened out, consider running Auto-Rx through the engine for one oil change (maybe more) (

…and make sure that any place you use has the approved oil. It has to meet the VW 502 standard, but that may have been superseded.

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the replies and sorry for sounding so cryptic. What you describe, BC, is exactly how it went down. I think, now that I have had a couple days to think about, is that I’m worried about their suggestion of pre-existing condition. They are going to have an insurance inspector look at before approving and going forward with needed repairs. My Q, as specific as I can, is what would the car have been doing before we took for an oil change if there were pre existing problems?
For those kind of problems, do you have to take engine apart and visually inspect to diagnose? There were no performance issues with the car, never had a problem with whole time have had it… and yes, we are aware of the special oil needs and why we spend 60bucks on regular mainteance instead of the 20-25bucks you can get it done for with regular oil. Thanks again guys!

I just had an oil change and before I left the lot I popped the hood and checked the oil level. I don’t care if it embarasses the shop folks, I’m going to double check their work before I drive away and find out the hard way they screwed up.