I own a 2003 Mazda 6. It’s a 5-speed manual. Purchased it new, and I have 61,000 miles on it. Low mileage.
In May, at approximately 55,000 miles, I had it in for a tune-up (new plugs and plug wires), oil change, and new brakes all the way around.
Then, in September, at approximately 58,000 miles, I began hearing a rattling noise. This seemed to begin after I had bottomed the car out when pulling out from a roadside vista back onto the main road. Vista parking was dirt, the road was pavement; to pull back onto the road, there was a high place and then a drop down to the pavement. I misjudged the dropoff.
I had family from out of state with me, and we had a trip planned, so I decided to ignore it and go on. No Check Engine Light.
I continued to drive it, having become accustomed to the rattling and since the car was working. Plus I’m lazy! Never checked the oil. Throughout the lifetime of this car, when I have checked it, the oil has never gone down, AT ALL. And since there was no Check Engine Light, no problem…Right? Wrong!
Finally, one day I lost power and the Check Engine Light came on. I checked the oil, and there was no oil on the dipstick. BAD NEWS!
So I had the car towed, and they called to tell me it was the timing chain. They were a bit vague, and they took a lot longer to get back with me than usual. (I have used this garage for the last 5 years.) In fact, they told me, “We’re having to research this issue. We’ve never seen this before.” I thought that was EXTREMELY unusual.
After a few days, they finally called back and said they would have to take the cover off, reclock the cam, and reassemble. So they did, to the tune of $630.
What I am wondering is whether I should insist that they pay for the repair. I say this because:
a) They were the last ones to change the oil and should have filled it up.
b) The car had NEVER, in 10 years and nearly 60,000 miles, used ANY oil whatsoever.
c) After 4000 miles, there was no oil on the dipstick and finally the timing chain slipped.
d) They said nothing about WHY they thought there was insufficient oil to suspend the chain glides, and would answer no questions as to why. Just, “Well, there was not enough oil.”
d) The part about, “We’ve got to research this,” along with all the delays, seems very fishy to me. Professional, certified technicians and they need 5 days to diagnose what to do about this simple issue?