Oil overfill, oil light, now no oil

Took my car to have oil changed and later the next day noticed oil under car. Checked dip stick and it was very over filled. Had a 2 hour drive to get home and at the end of trip, the oil light starts to flash and it smelled burnt? I parked the car over night and checked the oil this am. There is none to be seen on the dipstick and a puddle under my car. Contacted lube shop and manager says he wants to make this right, and will call me back. I have not cranked and plan to tow to dealership and asked for rental, but any advice or help on what to expect would be great? I am a sinlge girl and I dotn know much at all about cars.

Sounds like they put the wrong oil filter on and overfilled it. Now the oil has leaked past the filter. There may be some severe engine damage already, don’t start the car. They should tow it in. I would definitely ask for them to pay for a rental car until yours is fixed.

“later the next day noticed oil under car.”
“2 hour drive to get home and at the end of trip, the oil light starts to flash”

Their mistake is yet to be known - but some bad mistakes were certainly made.

Your mistake was taking this trip when you had evidence that you were leaking a lot of oil. The oil light means that the engine is now probably seriously damaged. But your trip means that you are at least half-way responsible.

Hopefully this is an honest shop that will recognize their error and take care of you. But they might look for an find a way out of it.

Did I mention I am a girl?

It is a miracle that I even noticed (a SMALL not HUGE amount of oil under my car) and thought to check the dipstick. I had no idea that too much oil was even a serious problem?

I had to get home and had no idea that driving the car was a bad idea?

The oil light was only on for less than one mile at the end of the trip. I would have pulled over had it flashed during the trip. I called a friend when I got home who advised that I check it in the am before cranking it. THIS is when I noticed a huge puddle of oil under my car.

I do appreciate you pointing this out, and I want to be fully prepared, I just dont see how this could be my fault? I dont think I should be expected to know about oil overage as general knowledge and that is why I paid them.

Its not so much about oil overage as it is about seeing the oil leaking. (Ok - so I’ll commend you for noticing and checking the oil). The root problem here is the leaking - not the overfill.

The thing to do at that point would have been to call the shop that did the oil change and ask them. Say - “look, I have this oil puddle under the car and I checked the dipstick and it looks like there’s too much oil in it.” And they would have said “bring it in and we’ll look at it.”

Anyway, if you drive a car you should know the basics. E.g. your owner’s manual will tell you not to overfill the oil. And oil leaking enough to leave a puddle…? You’re not alone though. Many people create serious problems for themselves this way.

Once the oil light does come on its probably too late already - so if the oil light comes on its best not to drive another 10 feet.

Anyway…the shop that changed your oil obviously screwed up and as far as I’m concerned they should be on the hook for fixing whatever issues resulted. But I’m just saying that if they want to make an argument that you knowingly drove the car with a problem they can - because you did.

Point taken. I should take the time to know a bit more as a car owner. And thank you for your insight. I need to hear the good, bad and ugly if I am going to be prepared for what I am sure is to be a headache. I stand by them being at fault though. My car was fine when I drove it to them, and it is not now. They are the catalyst that started this reaction and hopefully they will make it right.

My wife always gives me this line - that I hate - from her grandmother: “A lie you must never tell, the truth you don’t have to tell.” Just keep it simple when you talk to them - they changed the oil. A two hour drive later, and your oil light was on and your dipstick dry. And you purposely didn’t start the car since.

Ha ha, I like that. And yes, I am not trying to get anyone fired or sue them, I just want my car back to the condition it was in prior to them touching it.

[i] Did I mention I am a girl? [/i]   That's nice, but frankly you are ahead of most men because you had enough sience to ask about it. You also are providing better answers to questions.

Thanks Joseph, the update: The manager of Lube Shop drove 2 hours to me. I did call a neighbor (male presence) to join us for his input/witness. He inspected the car and found no oil plug. He put oil in and cranked and it ran fine. He apologized and was very nice. He asked me to bring it bak in this weekend when I am back in his town and they will change the oil again. He said if the motor goes in the next months that he will be responsible and take full responsibilty.

If you are happy I am happy but that verbal guarantee you got is pretty shakey. This story does not make sense (I am not saying it is you that is making it difficult), if there was no oil plug the oil is gone in moments. What probably happened is the plug was loose and leaked a bit until it fell out (that is when the oil light came on and you drove another mile) Driving a mile with no oil is ample time to damage the engine but you claim your engine is fine. Like I said, if you are happy (with a verbal guarantee too make things right if your engine fails in a few months) I am happy.

It seems they messed up twice on your car, overfilled it and left the plug loose.

You didn’t mention it but the paigewatson night have led us to that conclusion. Proof is still better than guesswork. The puddle means thaat something is broken but we don’t know what until it gets checked. If you are lucky, the oil pressure sensor blew and caused the puddle. Yes, it could be minor.

A flashing oil light generally means no oil pressure and engine damage to some degree.
You mention only noticing a small puddle of oil underneath the car. What you do not see is the oil drip trail that followed you for many miles.

You should be very leary of any proclamations that things have been checked out and are fine, etc. On the surface this may seem so but underneath, figuratively speaking, things may not be fine.
Driving even one mile with the oil lamp on can cause engine damage and the engine may even appear to run fine; for now. The question is what will it do in 3 months, 6 months, or a year.

So if you were me, what would you do? I have a friend that says he has a buddy at a local Chevy dealer that he trusts. Should I ask manager to allow me to take it to a shop for test at his cost? I am all ears?

I want to be reasonable but I want peace of mind more.

If this were your car…what would you do?

Absolutely, you should inform the Lube manager that you want to have the engine partially torn-down (by a mechanic of your choosing) in order to assess what type of damage might have taken place. Ask him how he intends to pay for this examination of your engine.

Unless you pin him down with specifics–and unless you get them in writing–he could very quickly develop amnesia regarding all of the nitty-gritty details.

Thanks VDCdriver, I can do that. I think for my worry to be put aside, it will require an independant review of the engine.

Todays update: I just called a local Toyota Dealer and spoke to Service. The guy said, they would be glad to test the engine, but it wold only be a noise test. He said if it is not knocking then it is most likely fine and it would be money wasted in his opinion. He said he WOULD let them rechange the oil and clean it and make the manager put in writing that he will cover engine for the next 6 mo. He said, if on the off chance it is damaged, it will show up in days? What do you guys think?

Sounds good to me.

I think that if you really went for one mile with no oil pressure, it will be dead long before six months are up.
BTW, how many miles on this car anyway?

tardis, it has 148,000 miles on it and it has been a wonderful vehicle.

And the service guy says if I only went one mile with the light on, and there was still a puddle of oil the next morning, he felt it had 1-2 quarts when light came on and may have been enough to prevent any damage.

I figure, the dealer only stands to profit from this, and he is telling me not to bring it in? So I dont know what to think?