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Too much, not enough

Hey Guys, heres my story. Went to get my oil changed at a large box store that rhymes with callmart. Its quick, convient and I can do a little shopping while I wait. All seemed to go well, I was in and out in about 30 minutes. I left and went on to run my saturday errands. The idle was a bit strange but seemed to even out occasionally. I noticed the transmission slip once or twice but thought “how could an oil change effect my transmission?” It wasn’t until the end of the day and about fifty miles later that the transmission slipped badly and I decided to investigate. I decided to check the oil level and when I removed the dipstick it showed oil almost all the way up the dipstick. Of course I rechecked it three or four times to be sure. My thought was that they simply had forgot to drain the oil and put five quarts on top of the old stuff. I was partly right. What happened was they mistakenly pulled the plug on the transmission and then added the new motor oil. When they discovered their mistake they told me that they would have to have my truck(06 toyota tacoma/6 cyl) towed to the dealer because they could not work on the transmission. Can you tell me what damage they may have done? I have yet to talk to the dealer but I need an honest, unbiased opinion.

I’d say the engine will be ok, (monitor for leaks, etc. closely for some time afterwards) but the transmission will ‘probably’ have to be rebuilt/replaced. And yes, I’d have them take it to a reputable Toyota dealer. Document everything in case of future problems.

They may have caused damage that will require a new transmission to be installed in order for you to have a truck in the same condition as when you presented it to them.

You would like to see some kind of “fail safe” design to prevent this from happening.

Refill the transmission with the correct amount of fluid, drain and refill the engine with the correct amount of oil, and NEVER go to “callmart” again.

C’mon, take your car to a mechanic, not a chain store.

There is. It is called ‘proper training’. Most of these places hire kids or wanna-be mechanics at near-minimum wage. And thier training has less useful information than my 5 year old’s reading primers. Stay away from these cheap oil change places like the plaque if you want your car to last.

I would want that transmission to be flushed to remove the motor oil before filling it with the correct trans fluid. And, even with that precaution, the transmission may not function properly in the future.

Why people go to places like Wal-Mart (or Jiffy Lube, or others of that ilk) for vehicle maintenance is beyond me.

what may not be clear here is that I think my transmission was completely drained of fluid and I had probably 10 quarts of oil in the engine.

That is clear, unfortunately. Document everything in case you have to sue them in small claims court. If for whatever reason I take my car anywhere for oil change, I park right outside and check all my fluids and also give a good leak inspection to the under the hood area. You can never know who they hired and trained yesterday.

Your transmission was not completely drained, but it was driven too far for the amount of fluid that was in it. There was some wear in fifty miles but the transmission might not fail for a while, although you will need it rebuilt sooner than you would like. Hopefully, when the fluid level is again full, the transmission will still be bad, or they might say that it wasn’t damaged. It was damaged. The engine was overfilled and “Marty” did not check it. There probably isn’t any training done by Wal-Mart except for back and forklift safety as well as the ever-popular blood-borne pathogens. Same as everywhere else.

No, it is definitely not clear, because of the way that you expressed the situation: “What happened was they mistakenly pulled the plug on the transmission and then added the new motor oil”

I interpreted that to mean that motor oil was added to the transmission. And, from another statement, I interpreted your wording to mean that you checked the transmission’s dipstick (“the dipstick showed oil almost all the way up the dipstick”), and that this check confirmed that the transmission had been filled with motor oil.

Now that you have clarified the situation, it is clear that the transmission needs far more than just being refilled with fluid, and it needs a rebuild now, even though it might not fail for a few months to a year. As to the engine, there could have been bearing damage resulting from foaming of the excess oil, because unfortunately, oil foam doesn’t lubricate properly. Since I doubt that the concession at Wal-Mart is going to agree to have the dealership tear the engine apart for inspection of the main bearings, your best bet is to make them buy you an extended warranty on the engine.

And, please do yourself a favor and go to a REAL mechanic or to the dealership for maintenance in the future.

MOST of the tranny fluid is in the torque converter…NOT the pan. So there was still fluid in the system.

Why people take their cars to Wally World or Jiffy Lube for service is beyond comprehension.

It sounds to me like Walmart has admitted to the mistake and they are making the appropriate repairs. At least they are not fighting you on this. Let us know how it turns out.

First, there could be engine damage. If the oil was filled high enough, the crank shaft might have stirred the oil into a froth, which doesn’t lubricate very well and starves your engine of oil. Did your oil light come on? If not, there probably isn’t any engine damage to worry about.

Second, there is probably damage to your transmission. It will probably run fine with the proper amount of fluid, but the damage will probably remain unseen until this event is long in the past. I would ask for a new (not rebuilt) transmission since a rebuilt transmission might not last as long as your current, slightly damagaed transmission. Technically, Walmart doesn’t owe you a new transmission, but they should pay for one anyway since they are neglegent. Shoot for a new transmission or compensatory damages to pay for a new transmission some time in the future when this one gives up the ghost. It won’t hurt to try.

Lastly, in spite of the lack of training and pure boneheaded lack of attention to this job, someone should have checked the oil level before you got your car back. Even if you go to a trusted mechanic for oil changes, next time you get the vehicle serviced, check all the fluids yourself before you drive away. Anyone can make a mistake.

Update:
Toyota dealer says truck is fine. Called walmart and told them that I needed a new transmission because of what I heard here(thanks). They turned it over to their insurance. Insurance company talked to toyota dealer and then told me that they would cover any expense, should I have trouble with engine or trans, in the next five years. Never going to walmart again. Thanks for the help.

That’s Wal Mart. On a local note…

Since there was some slippage involved in this escapade, I would strongly advise that you get some of these promises in writing if you have not already.

A verbal promise can be pretty transparent and if the transmission drops 6 months from now amnesia may strike en masse.