Q: Engine damage after oil change

asked by on December 28, 2016

I had a routine oil change at a major car dealership. When I left the driveway, my dashboard lit up with an indication there is an engine problem. I drove directly back to the dealership. A few days later they told me there was engine damage during the oil change. They said that an employee was let go and they will do whatever it takes to fix the engine. I told them that I do not want the car back. They replaced the engine block after I told them multiple times that I do not want the car back. I'm worried there will be issues down the road. They are telling me that my car is only worth 11,000 and I owe 15,500 on the car. They admitted that they are at fault and not charging me for engine replacement, however I don't want the car back. What are my rights?

My car has 77000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

Your question poses two general issues, the first relating to auto mechanics and vehicle reliability and the second to your legal rights. Let me first deal with the first issue inasmuch as a resolution of that may make the second issue irrelevant for you. If I could guess, the engine damage was caused by the failure of the Mechanic to add engine oil to the engine after all the oil was drained out and/or the engine oil filter was not reinstalled or leaked at the gasket. IF the foregoing is the fact circumstance (you should confirm the CAUSE of the damage with the dealership), then the engine on your car was frankly destroyed upon re-start of the vehicle. Engines simply cannot be run safely without adequate engine oil even momentarily. Indeed, when an engine is rebuilt, ideally the oiling system is pressurized with oil using external tools prior to even attempting to start the engine for the first time. However, in your circumstance, you have to keep foremost in mind that just because an engine is essentially ruined does NOT mean that it cannot subsequently be replaced with a NEW engine or otherwise repaired to like new condition. In fact, IF the dealership installed a new short or long block engine assembly, and IF that installation was done properly, you are now quite literally better off than you were when you appeared for the oil change, simply because now you have a new engine. So, if they indeed replaced the entire engine, and the replacement was performed according to the instructions (admittedly, the weak link here in your issue inasmuch as nobody follows instructions these days) you are probably perfectly fine and may indeed now be in a better position than you were before. If you want to confirm what your present position is with regard to the engine, you could request a vehicle inspection and for nominal cost YourMechanic will dispatch a certified mechanic to your location, get your first hand account, review the paperwork to determine what exactly was replaced, and INSPECT the work that was done. The ultimate result is you would have more information from which you could determine if the dealership has made you whole which of course is your concern and your objective. The foregoing is how I would recommend you handle this because it will create less hassle and inconvenience for you and most importantly accounts for the very real possibility that all the damage has in fact been repaired and you have been restored to better than your original position. With regard to legal advice, it is blatantly illegal in my locale for non-Attorneys to offer legal advice. This is generally the rule across the country. However, as a mechanic, I can tell you that if you have credible and documentable (provable) evidence that your vehicle remains in a damaged condition and/or you have suffered any losses on account of the mistake that the dealership made, you have the right to file complaints with the Attorney General’s office in your state, the state licensing agency(ies) for the dealership, the BBB, and any and all other entities that may have jurisdiction over that business. You also have the right to institute a Small Claims action and/or contact an Attorney who could serve as your advocate in any needed negotiations with the dealership. To conclude, though, based on the information that you have provided, if you are able to confirm that the damage was fully repaired, and no new damage was introduced, you needn’t worry at all about future impacts on the reliability of the vehicle. If you have doubts, simply get it inspected by a certified mechanic. If you have additional or follow up questions to the end of resolving this, please do not hesitate to re-contact us.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

What others are asking

Car won't start after cleaning battery

The battery terminal connections should be inspected since they were serviced recently. These are often left loose, or even applied too tightly. Allow me to explain: Some people tend to turn the securing fasteners on batteries until they cannot...

Causes of overheating 2012 Hyundai Accent

Hi there - overheating is caused by the inability of the cooling system to deal with the heat generated by the engine. The engine itself can overheat from a stuck (closed) thermostat, or a blown head gasket (which effectively "superheats"...

Car tilting after going over curb and impacting tree at 10 mph. Bumper bar is damaged, bumper arm broken. Side of impact is higher

The frame and/or suspension components have been damaged. To determine which will require some measurements and inspection. If all the damage is suspension related, that is assuming none of the sub-frame is damaged or the suspension mounting bosses, it is...

Car radio dead

Hello, this could be a simple problem to fix. If the fuse is blown it will cause the radio to have no power. You could also just have a bad radio, and if this is the case, the radio unit...

maintenance

Hi there. Our mobile mechanics have the tools and supplies to complete most routine maintenance services that your 2012 Honda would require. We have created a great tool that allows you to look up your vehicle's maintenance schedule. Once you...

Can i put wheel spacers on my Yaris?

You can if you find ones specifically for your Toyota Yaris. Just be aware that these spacers set the wheel out wide and will cause premature wheel bearing failures. If you need assistance with the installation or run into any...

How does the security system work in a 2012 Honda Accord?

If your Accord has a security system as a standard feature (all but LX models), you have built in anti-theft protection. The system is designed to flash the lights and honk the horn if someone tries to enter the vehicle...

inner Cv axle wont come out?

You will need to get the axle removal tool at a parts store and hook it to a heavy duty slide hammer. Give it some good raps with the slide hammer with the tool behind the axle joint. This should...

How do I change the Bluetooth language?

The Bluetooth Hands Free system is available in English, French, or Spanish. To change the language, follow these steps: 1. Press and hold the Phone Send button for at least five seconds. 2. After being prompted by the system, press...

Related articles

The Top 5 Selling Cars in Alabama in 2012
2012 2012 was a great year in Alabama for auto manufacturing, but that wasn’t the only bright spot. Vehicle sales in Alabama were also robust in 2012. Nothing much changed in terms of the vehicle types that were most popular...
A Buyer's Guide to the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder
Whether Whether you have plans to go off-road or just want a vehicle that’s nice and roomy, the 2012 Nissan Pathfinder is definitely worth a closer look. Key Features As a dual-purpose vehicle, Nissan made the 2012 Pathfinder with three-rows...
A Buyer’s Guide to the 2012 Cadillac SRX
The The 2012 Cadillac SRX is one of Cadillac’s top sellers and one of the more popular luxury crossover SUVs on the market. It has a fuel saving eco feature along with being practical and comfortable. Once the eco mode...