Q: Oil drain plug and pan missing after oil change

asked by on August 26, 2016

My SUV’s mileage is approximately 130,000. The oil and filter were changed two months ago at the authorized Suzuki dealer (the same place I purchased my car). While driving home from the dealership, the oil light came on. I pulled over, shut off the car, and opened the hood. Oil was spraying near the bottom of the engine (4WD). When I crawled under my SUV, the oil drain plug was gone and there was no oil in the oil pan! I had driven up to 6-7 miles. I called the dealer to get to where I was parked on the side of the road and do something! They came and filled it with oil, a new plug, and then I drove it back to the dealership. The engine was checked and they said it was OK. I demanded they put on the report that the oil plug fell out after they had changed the oil and they did.

Prior to this happening, my oil level on the dipstick would hardly move in between oil changes because I rarely drove the vehicle. Now, since the last oil change it has dropped about ⅓ or more from the “full” mark and my vehicle is not even due an oil change any time soon. I am concerned that the engine might be damaged. There is no bluish smoke coming from the exhaust when I am driving. The coolant level stays constant and normal. Except for the new problem of the malfunctioning oil level, the engine is seeming to run like it did before the botched oil change. I am thinking that the rings/valves might be damaged, but there is never any smoke from the exhaust. The dealer suggested that I bring the car in every week so the oil level can be recorded. Other than that, he won't do anything and seems very reluctant to do anything. I do not know if they are just stalling for some reason unknown to me. In your professional experience, what should be done to get my car properly functioning again?"

Hello there, this is a rare accident that can occur when oil changes are performed. In this type of situation, an oil sample is taken and sent off to a facility that can perform an oil analysis. This is done to determine if the lack of oil is caused by long-term damage or if there is any metal in the oil. With the dealer taking weekly oil readings, they are attempting to see if your Suzuki Vitara has excessive oil consumption that would indicate an issue. This is something that can take some time to show symptoms and diagnose. If you would like to have this checked elsewhere, a certified technician from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to inspect the relevant systems and let you know how to best proceed.

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