Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Stall and Smoke

I had my car serviced yesterday and 80 km later the car stalls on teh hwy without any warning lights whatsoever. Once the car has come to a standstill the temperature guauge goes through the roof. The engine is smoking profusely. While waiting for the tow truck once the engine has cooled down a little, the dip stick shows that there is no oil at all and smoke belows out as the dip stick is pulled out. The plug is in position and there is no obvious evidence that there has been any leaks…any comments appreciated, should I take it back to the dealer or to another mechanic for evaluation? what is the chance that the engine is completely fried and how can I tell?

Thanks in advance

Make mode and year of car would be helpful. It certainly sounds like whoever serviced the car make one or more serious errors. Don’t try to drive it until you have spoken to whoever did the work.

What was “serviced” That could be anything from adding window washer fluid to rebuilding an engine.

It certainly sounds like the engine is fried.

Many modern engines do not react well to overheating, and of course, no engine is ever the same after running it with a low oil level and/or no oil for…who knows how long a distance. The combination of extreme overheating and the lack of oil on the dipstick sounds like the engine seized from lack of lubrication, so I suspect that the bearings are shot and the heads and other components are badly warped.

As Mr. Meehan requested, please fill in the missing details regarding make, model, model year, odometer mileage, and of course, what type of service was performed on the car prior to this incident.

I would suggest that the engine be examined by someone other than the facility that serviced it, so that you can get a more objective opinion on the extent of the damage as well as the probable cause of the problem. Get a written report on the situation, and then approach the facility that serviced the car prior to the incident.

Smoke blowing and no oil is a strong indiucator that the guy who serviced the car (oil change?) did not screw the oil filter on tight enough, and it worked itself loose, spilling oil over your exhaust system and causing the smoke. Or he could have only put one or 2 quarts in when the lunch truck arrived and he forgot to put the rest in. If no oil at all was put in, the car would go no more than 7-10 miles, before the engine seized.

This exact thing (oil filter blew off) happened to me some years back, but luckily the smoke came out from under the hood and I stopped the car immediately. I was down to 1 quart on the dipstick, but that still leaves enough oil in the crankcase, so the service station cleaned my engine and did the job again.

As others advise, don’t start or drive the car; your engine is likely toast and the service station, if they did change the oil, owes you a rebuilt engine at least. They do carry insurance for this type of thing, so be firm!!!