Shop fail caused oil loss, what next

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1,481
Location
Germantown, MD
My MIL took her 2010 RAV4 to shop a friend uses for an oil change. Came out with $1,000 worth of work (a story for another thread) including a new valve cover gasket. She picked it up yesterday morning, drove to work, and arrived at my place last night complaining that the car sounds terrible. I took it for a spin and after 100' could tell it was out of oil - sounded like a diesel and the oil light was on and blinking. I parked it immediately, verified no oil on the dipstick, and observed that there is fresh oil covering everything on the back side of the engine, firewall, hoses, etc. There's a huge puddle of oily mess under the car now. So I am pretty sure they botched the gasket replacement, the oil all left the engine, and she drove at least 10 miles with no oil in the car. Other note - it's throwing a P0335 code - crankshaft position sensor.

The shop is sending a guy up this morning to look at it. I assume they'll correct the gasket and replace the oil. IMO they're on the hook for the engine being damaged as well but that's not exactly my battle to fight. My question is about the P0335 code - could this indicate some sort of damage that has occured, or is it perhaps coincidental to driving with no oil but will go away once it's been refilled? Thanks.

jeff
 
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25,558
Location
Upstate NY
The issue is the engine has been damaged. I assume they will fix the issue and get it running. Probably will sound fine. But the engine will not last as long as it could have. How do you get the shop to compensate you for that? Ask for a reman engine to be installed?

The shop may say why wasn't the engine shut down as soon as the oil light came on?
 
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Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Shop fail caused oil loss, what next

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greenjp

Thread starter
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1,481
Location
Germantown, MD
They arrived and removed the valve cover, found the new gasket had torn. They're off to the shop to pick up the necessary parts.

Concur on the engine damage - surely it's occurred, not sure what the remedy is. Hopefully they offer to take care of any future related problems. She wasn't planning to keep it very long (it has ~200k miles) so hopefully it's fine until she gets rid of it.

jeff
 
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1,475
Location
Ohio
Crank position sensor - that should not be damaged by a lack of oil. Cam phasers will be impacted, temporarily, by a lack of oil and oil pressure

Agreed. Tensioners and cam phasers driven by oil pressure won't be working, so position will be off.

Even if the shop made a mistake, they'll probably push back and ask why she kept driving with the oil light on.
 

gathermewool

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8,762
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New England
I doubt they'd win a legal battle if they push back, saying that your MIL should have stopped as soon as she saw the light. Chances are the light didn't come on immediately; it likely came on during her drive home and may even have stayed off until she was almost home. If asked, that's the story I would stick with!

IF she already admitted that the oil low-pressure light came on as soon as she left the dealer she can still argue that there was no good place to pull over or she feared for her safety in doing so.

My previous '05 Focus with the 2.3L Duratec engine shut off on me when all of the oil drain out. Not knowing what the problem was, I tried to start it again...stalled again. Looked out the car to the impound where my car was towed and saw an oil slick leading to me.

I'm guessing the reason why more manu's don't also have this feature is so that the car doesn't stall on the highway. They'd rather the engine destroy itself as the operator gets over to the side instead of stalling, causing an accident.
 
Probably no damage.

Years ago, my Buick lost all oil on US-50 south of Washington DC, at 3am. (Lifters were ticking like crazy so at first thought it was speedo cable, until I saw the oil light come on). Using flashlight I saw that the oil pressure sending unit came unscrewed and was dangeling by the wire. Screwed sending unit back in and tightened it with tools on hand. Had one quart in trunk so I poured it in Started car, still clacking drove SLOWLY. After one minute or so, clacking stopped as lifters filled up. Stopped at first gas station and filled up oil.

No lasting problems
 
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17,501
Location
NH
Leaked out all the oil after a valve cover gasket? It doesn't sound like it got driven that long. VC isn't under pressure, it'll make a mess but I don't see it draining 5 quarts out that fast.
 

greenjp

Thread starter
Messages
1,481
Location
Germantown, MD
Alright so they came up and I watched them remove the valve cover, and sure enough the gasket had a through tear right in the location the oil mess would indicate. They got a new one and installed it, filled up the oil and were off. The CEL has cleared and the car seems to drive fine, so for the moment it seems OK. I told her she needs to follow up with them for some assurance that they'll own any future oil related issues. We'll see.

FWIW they were polite and apologetic and didn't ask why she drove with the noise or light on etc. She's a fairly clueless (when it comes to cars) 60 year old so what do you expect 😁

I too thought it was odd that so much oil would have made it out through the valve cover gasket in such a short time - as noted that area is not pressurized. But the noise, mess in the engine bay, dry dipstick, and oil pressure light coming on suggest that at least 3 of the 4.5 quart capacity was gone. 🤔

jeff
 
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