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Truck was started with NO oil in it

So I took my 2010 Toyota Tacoma into get an oil change today at western slope auto here in Gj Colorado. It has about 7k miles on it. I was standing there with the tech when he started my truck up and let it run for a min then shut it off to check the oil, well he pulled the dip-stick out and it was bone dry! He placed it back in and checked it again, oops he says! " I forgot to put the oil in!!" ya BIG oops!! Do you think my motor is ok since it only ran for a min and did not get drivin?

It’s very likely that there is no damage. An idling engine has almost no compression because there is a strong vacuum in the cylinders at bottom dead center and just because the oil pump isn’t pumping oil, it doesn’t mean that the engine parts are dry. Capillary effect (surface tension) keeps oil in the main and rod bearing clearences even when the engine is shut off.

I’d ask for some sort of documentation from the oil change place acknowledging their error. Just in case.

There was probably no damage done, but you won’t really know for years.

Did the engine make any unusual noises while it was running?

A few seconds and then shutting it off can mean no damage exists. If this engine ran for a “minute” as described then there is damage to the crankshaft bearings. That few thousandths of an inch oil film on the crankshaft journals will scrub off in a few seconds and the bearing overlay will start disappearing.

Filling the engine with oil after the fact only covers the problem up for a varying amount of miles to time. The only way to get a handle on this would be to drop the oil pan and remove a few bearing caps; preferably caps that are fartherest away from the oil pump as they are the last in the chain and the ones most likely to suffer first.


As OK has stated, and I agree if it has ran for more than a few seconds without oil, damage is highly likely. It’s probably too late, but with a vehicle with this low of miles I would suggest a tow to the dealer so an actual Toyota engine tech could peruse the bearings for damage. Of course this would be on the oil changing places dime. I say dealer because this is a fairly new vehicle that not a lot of mechanics have seen and you can bet the dealer tech has more than likely already seen twenty of them engines this year.

No. Because 85% of engine wear occurs during a cold start. And that’s when there’s oil in the oil pan. Now start an engine with no oil in the oil pan and run it for a minute and there’s going to be engine damage.

I agree that the pan should be dropped and the bearings inspected for damage. And if there’s damage to the bearings there’s also damage to the upper end of the engine and probably the oil pump.


When I started engines before installing the lubrication option I would shut it off if the OIL PRESSURE WARNING LIGHT did not shut off after five seconds. Your engine is probably OK but somebody needs more training.

I agree with this, get documentation that they knew what happened, in case something DOES happen to it because of their mistake.

I did get them to write down they made the big goof and iv only driven it home since then and I can’t hear anything different so we"ll see…

Thanks everyone for giving me sum great feed back, it was much needed. Finally got to talk to the shop GM at the dealer and he swears up and down the truck is fine ( of course he would) and that there will never be any problems with the truck so I suggested looking into it more like you guys said and he didn’t want anything to do with it!.. So I feel I deserve an extended warranty or sumthing and he was like ya right. Guess all just hope for the best :slight_smile:

The fact that the engine was running and warmed up a half hour earlier means the engine was well lubed even though there was no oil pressure for a “minute”…Since there was no load to speak of on the bearings, and they were wet with oil from having just been under pressure, chances are there will be no damage…

I have to respectfully disagree with that. There’s a couple of thousand pounds of pressure in a firing cylinder and that .0015 of an inch layer of thin hot oil is not going to last long with no oil pressure on one end of the connecting rod and 2000 on the other end.
If a locomotive meets a pickup on the tracks who’s going to win that battle?

Of course the GM, Service manager or whomever is going to state that it’s fine. That’s near standard operating procedure and odds are the service manager gets a bonus based on lack of screwups. A new engine on a 2010 Tacoma will pretty much assure his bonus will be history.

I can tell you what will happen if a problem shows up in a year or two. It will be blamed on something or someone other than themselves and after that amount of time you will be up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
You can try and nip this in the bud now or possibly suffer the consequences later.

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On top of all that, and the issues you had with the person you were dealing with, remember: They all have a boss. Keep going. There are more people to talk to, and eventually, someone will listen. Been there, done that. I’ve gone all the way to corporate before when something stupid happened, and they refused to handle it. That ball rolled downhill, and I had a very apologetic phone call and a nice fix.

Good luck!

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Are you really going to let them off so easily? I would be even more motivated to get some satisfaction if they did that to me. They are hoping you will fold and it appears they were successful with very little effort on their part. It’s your truck and your battle but I hope I can convince you to try one more thing.

You need to go to the shop GM and ask him who his boss is. He may start backpedalling immediately. If not, then go speak to that person. Be calm but firm. Tell that person what happened and that you feel they are trying to duck responsibility. Explain that you attempted to be reasonable and only wanted assurance that no damage was done.

They could fix this with very little expense by purchasing the manufacturer’s extended warranty for you. If not, you’ve already been advised to take it elsewhere for a teardown to assess the damage. You will be seeking full restitution for all diagnostic and repair work. You’ve spoken to a local independent mechanic who is ready and willing to not only do the work but to represent you as an expert witness if the need arises.

It would be best for both of us to come to an agreement and avoid all of this so you’ll give them until tomorrow afternoon to decide to do the right thing. I’d suggest that he consult with his legal counsel regarding his potential liability and the financial wisdom of offering up the warranty to avoid protracted litigation and expense.

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NO im not giving up, i contacted an attorney and he is going to give the dealer a call and let them know i will be seeking at least an extended warrenty if not more. its just iv been down this road before and trying to fight a deal is near crazy. i bought a 08 f-250 (6.4l disel) back in 07 and had tones of problems with it and it was this same dealer! it dragged on for months and they ened up paying a for a few things and that was it… this place is a true ripp off and so is the 6.4 that ford made for 3 years!

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I have a similar scenario but my car ran for about 5 minutes then shut off. I then added oil to the car and let it sit. Now it won’t start and it makes this spinning sound. Is my motor seized up?

You need to have it towed to a mechanic. It’s likely shot.

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