Quick lube screwup

I have a 2000 Chevy Prizm with 73,000 miles on it. I got an oil change today and the guys at the quick lube forgot to put an oil filter on my car. As I turned onto my street my car stalled and I was able to park in front of my building, what do I do next?

Call the tow truck. Have it brought back there. Have the job done right and when you start the vehicle listen for unusual sounds, especially knocking. If you hear any, get everything in writing and call a lawyer. Have the engine evaluated at a full service shop…at the quickie lube’s cost. Then take them to court for the damages.

Then never, ever go to a quick lube again.

Oh geez, this is why we endlessly warn people about going to those places.

Hopefully what happened is the PCM detected the lack of oil (or oil pressure) and stopped the fuel to the engine before any serious damage took place. Did you at any point hear a loud knocking noise, something like a hammer beating against your engine?

Contact the place immediately and tell them what is wrong. They may want to send someone out to look at the car and then tow it themselves. Keep calm (you seem that way in your post) and insist that the car be checked for engine damage. Do not let them look at it unless you apre present. You amy want a witness whether the inspection takes place at your place, theirs, or another shop. Don’t take them to court unless they won’t own up to the problems.

How far is the “Quick Lube” place from your home? If they didn’t install a filter, i’d expect the oil pressure warning light to come on within a few miles.

Did you notice the oil pressure warning light as you were driving?

No, luckily the lube place is very close, 1.5 miles. Car stalled and I rolled it to my apartment. I think I will have it towed to the dealer, watch the inspection, notify the company and go from there. Thanks for tips.

The lube stop is only a mile and a half from my place but the oil preesure light is in the blind spot behind my steering wheel and I have no idea how long it was on. The engine wasn’t “knocking” but the oil pan is bone dry. I think I will have it towed to the dealer in the morning and go from there…get the shop info, file a complaint, etc. I am not pissed enough to have people fired or in trouble but it seems to me that if my engine needs replaced their insurance should cover it. thanks for the reply

With no oil filter, they would never have made it out of the bay without someone noticing… This is kind of hard to swallow.


Good point. Much more likely the filter blew off at some point during that 1.5 mile drive.

I worked at a independant “quickie lube” in Kalispell MT. The owner worked with us,this guy was strict,he made the guys working the “pit” call out,filters tight no leaks.drain plugs all tight and even how many grease fittings we serviced.This guy actually knew when your grease fitting count was off.I think having alot to loose personally (as opposed to a guy who is a manager) made him run a tight shop.

That’s how it works at the “quickie lube” I work for. After we put the oil in we have to visually verify the bottom-side technician double-check the tightness of the drain plug and oil filter, then we start the car while the bottom-side technician checks for any leaks while running. While it’s running, the top-side technician checks to make sure that there is no oil light lit or that the oil pressure gauge reads normally. My bet is that perhaps this filter wasn’t tightened properly or it was defective, because there’s no way they could have sent it on its way with no filter whatsoever.

The oil pressure light would have stayed on if no filter was installed. Evil engine noises would have ensued very quickly.

There is more to this story…If they never installed a filter but installed the fresh oil, that oil would have been pumped out all over the shop floor when they started the engine…Someone would have noticed…

So. The filter failed (for some reason) on the trip home, which would leave a mess in the road that you can still find…Or they never installed any oil either, so no mess anywhere…In any case, serious engine damage has occurred…

“Quick lube screwup”

Isn’t that a little redundant to say?

the oil pressure light is in the blind spot behind my steering wheel

I suggest you adjust your steering wheel so it doesn’t hide anything important, like the oil pressure light!

I have to agree with those who pointed out that without a filter, the oil pressure would have never built up and it would have pumped most of the 4 quarts of oil out immediately. Maybe they put on the wrong filter and it came off just before you got home.

As for the oil pressure light, why don’t the manufacturers hook up the chime to this. If you leave the keys in, leave the lights on, try to drive with the parking brake on or don’t buckle your seatbelt, that chime goes off to remind you. Except for the seatbelt part, none of the others are as damaging as oil pressure. The oil pressure light should flash also, not just come on steady. The check engine light will flash at you if you might damage the converter, a converter is nowhere near as expensive as an engine. Just my soapbox here.

If the engine ran even for a few seconds without oil pressure, it has suffered serious damage. A properly maintained Prizm should last at least 200,000 miles. Even if it doesn’t make loud knocking noises after a filter is installed and it is filled with oil, its life expectancy has been badly shortened. The quick lube place owes you a fresh engine. Given the age of the car, the most appropriate choice would be a remanufactured engine, with a warranty, installed by a good, independent, foreign car shop.

What I’m having a hard time figuring here is this. If the filter was left off or even if it was left very loose there should be an oil trail out of the shop and a spot(or puddle) in the parking lot. To shake off in 1.5 miles the filter would have to have been left very loose I would think.

Are you absolutely sure the filter is missing and this is not a case of a loose drain plug? Have you retraced that 1.5 miles to look for that filter?

Missing a filter or drain plug followed by stalling means some serious engine damage. If they screwed up then they’re going to owe you a new motor.


you would have never made it home,or off the lot,for that matter.

stop the DRAMA,assume a hot engine at start up,65psi,guess what,the pump will empty the pan in seconds,(so no way is this senerio feesible.