View Full Version : Jiffy Lube disaster

10-07-06, 09:31 PM
They neglected to drain the oil before adding 6 quarts, for 12 total. I made it about a block before a "pop" and billowing white smoke out of the exhaust, followed by a check engine light. They drained the oil and brought it up to proper levels and cleared the check engine light. Car still billowing smoke. They let it idle for ~1hr hoping the oil would burn off, but it didn't get any better. Check engine light hasn't come back on. I had them write up the incident very detailed and sign it. Manager was professional towards me, but fired the tech on the spot. Hopefully customer service will do right here, but I bet I'm out a car for awhile. I just got everything (valve covers, timing belt, etc) done ~1year ago and now this.

Car towed to dealer, no way I was driving it billowing that much smoke. I'm fearing a new engine, and for sure the cat's are toast after all that smoke.

Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions? Anyone else had an issue with Jiffy Lube and has advice? If we are talking about a new engine, or even a rebuild, I can't front that kinda money... Suggestions about arguing for a new vs rebuilt engine?

I've been going to Jiffy Lube for a long time with many different vehicles witout issue. Why does it have to be the Catera I love so much, no that it's fixed up?



10-07-06, 11:17 PM
Other than the inconvenience I would not be worried if I were you.

It looks like Jiffy Lube just bought you a new engine:)

It was a very good idea that you had them write this up in detail.

Have the Cadillac dealer write you a quote for a new engine with all associated replacement cost and give it to Jiffy Lube. Should they refuse to cover it threaten to take them to court, the treat alone should get them moving. If it comes down to court there is no question that you will win. I believe the maximum damages in small claims court is $10 000, so small claims court will suffice.

I met someone who had a similar issue when they had their oil changed at Wal-Mart. Basically it was quite busy and two guys were working on the car, and both assumed that the other filled the oil after draining it. Shortly after the car owner left, a few blocks down the street the engine began ticking and promptly seized. Without haggling Wal-Mart agreed to pay for a new engine.

Under no circumstances should you even pay a penny out of your own pocket for this :tisk:

Keep us updated!

10-08-06, 03:37 PM
Mike very sorry to hear your story. What a bitch!!

It's always possible Jiffy Lube will do the right thing and make you whole without legal prodding. I hope that's how this turns out though I would be surprised.

If not, and if you are forced to take them to court, be aware your prospects could vary greatly depending upon the state in which the the work was performed. Not all states provide the same level of consumer protection. You might be in great shape, and you might not be in such splendid shape, depending again on WHERE the work was done.

The firing of the perp could perhaps make you feel good, or not, but it's not going to make you whole. Remain alert and take nothing for granted.

Good luck!

10-08-06, 05:30 PM
Actually, I didn't ask the guy be fired, but it was a stupid mistake on an expensive car. We shall find out soon if Jiffy Lube will be a problem. I hope they will do right. This happened in California, which tends to have pretty strong consumer proctection laws, so I hope they just do the right thing. If they do, I will tell everyone they did do the right thing. They should after that latest 60 minutes fiasco I just found out about. My insurance company, USAA, is also ready to step in as needed, so I think things will eventually work out, although it may take weeks/months. :-( I miss my car already.

10-08-06, 08:54 PM
I know of a guy with a 93 allante, with a north* who went to Iffy Lube, and they did the opposite as what they did for you, drained his oil, never added any more, engine died very quickly, and they did the right thing and bought him an engine.

At first be very professional, make what you want done (new cats, O2's, engine and so on) but be very courteous and polite about it, write it all down, if they do the right thing, good, if not then start the threats, lawyer, BBB, local news, and so on, but dont start in that matter.

Good luck man, and enjoy that free engine

10-08-06, 09:07 PM
BBB, lawyer, etc. They once put 8 quarts of transmission fluid in my 1997 Anniversary Edition Z28. Car was perfect. Well it was perfect until they did that. Brand new transmission was installed at their expense.

10-08-06, 10:43 PM
Any idea on the lag time for getting them to do this? Thanks for the reminder about the cats and O2's!

10-09-06, 12:35 AM
Any idea on the lag time for getting them to do this? Thanks for the reminder about the cats and O2's!

Did you get a repair quote from the Caddy dealer yet and show it to Jiffy?

With Wal-Mart it took less than a week. It all depends on how cooperative Jiffy Lube is. Should this matter go to court your insurance company may cover you and they'll deal with Jiffy Lube. This depends on your policy of course. From what you said this seems to be the case. If so, the Caddy dealer should already be working on your car and you should not be bothered with this matter any longer.

10-09-06, 01:00 AM
No, they won't get into the car until tomorrow. But, like any Caddy dealer, they charge and arm just to look at things, I think ~$250. Hopefully Jiffy Lube will work with the dealer and get me a rental car so I can get through the week while they figure out what to do about the car. I'll let you know how things go in the morning. Hopefully they will be open as tomorrow is Columbus Day...

10-09-06, 11:06 AM
Thus far, Jiffy Lube is doing the right thing. No arguing. Getting me set up with a rental car, I'm sure some POS but at least I can get to work, and have contacted the dealer. Very nice and professional. Nice surprise. Hopefully this will continue like this, even if the bill gets ridiculous.

10-09-06, 08:45 PM
Well, dealer says engine is fine, exhaust and intake coated in oil, so they are going to clean it out and do an engine flush, or several, and see how things go. Looks like I stopped driving and turned the engine off and saved Jiffy Lube major $$$.

So, I may get my car back sooner than I was expecting. Driving the rental car, I forgot how quiet the Catera runs/rides. I'm also reminded how heavy the car is compared to the engine output, especially at stop-light to stop-light.

10-10-06, 01:37 AM
When you get your car back make sure you listen closely for any engine ticking.

When overfilling the oil to such an extent there is risk of hydrolocking your engine. Basically a large amount of oil is pulled through the PCV system where it enters the combustion chamber; since liquids are incompressible, the piston hits a brick wall and rotating assembly can get damaged.

Hopefully the dealer is competant and did not miss any minor damage of the rotating assembly which can manifest itself later (spun bearing etc.).

Can you describe the initial pop you heard in more detail?

10-12-06, 03:59 PM
Nicely Handeld Graphics! I have USAA as well, and let me tell you, best insurance company ive ever dealt with HANDS DOWN. They would have def. backed u up.

Too bad u werent able to get a new engine.. but hey, if u have problems in the near future, should be quite easy to blame on the jiffy lube fiasco.

I am an adimit preacher of self oil changes. this is why. I also dont like to fill the oil to the max when the engine is reaching 50k miles.. I like to go about a half quart less. Ive been thinking of using 10w40 on the car from now on too but havent tried.

By no means am i saying its ur fault. You are clearly an inteligent person.

It takes me a while to find a trust worthy mechanic, but when u do. hold on to them.

10-12-06, 11:37 PM
Still don't have an update. The dealer has sent an invoice in and I'm waiting for Jiffy Lube to make their decision. The dealer says they need to replace the cats and O2 sensors, and do a lot of cleaning. The are concerned about my ability to pass smog in a year given how much oil was put through the exhaust. Bill is pretty high. Calls starting to not be returned from Jiffy Lube. I'll give it a little while longer before I escalate as so far Jiffy Lube has been cooperative.

I've never had an issue with quick change places, and I've been going to this particular one for several years. It's mainly the general problem of being too busy to get the car up on ramps, getting the oil changed, and getting cleaned up. I'll probably start making the time...

10-20-06, 01:58 AM
An engine flush is a stupid stupid service, and I don't see how even if they had the positive benefits they are claimed to, it would help your car in your situation.

10-20-06, 02:22 AM
Should get the car back in a day or two. The darn thing stopped smoking in front of the insurance adjuster for Jiffy Lube, so no exhaust replacement. I'll have to reopen case if I don't pass smog next year. Full intake cleaning and a bunch of other tests were done. We shall see how this goes...

10-20-06, 03:32 AM
that sucks

my buddy gets his oil changed at penzoil, and today they told him he has no oil cap. he told them the last time the hood was open was the last time he got a oil change there, 3000 miles ago. the apologized and paid for a new oil cap for him from the dealer.

10-20-06, 06:26 AM
I remember seeing the result of starting an engine with no oil cap on a BMW 540i 4.4 (2000)... Friend of mine started a car up before I put the cap back on. Thousands of little drops of oil shooting up in an arc making a horizontal line of dots across the hood liner and drops all over the engine bay.

On a BMW 4.4 the oil filler is right above the cam drive chains on the passenger side valve cover. Painful cleanup, though a most ammusing show.

As for your smoke stopping, that means that it produced smoke for how long? An hour of running? Half an hour? Either way the converter has to be replaced. You should give their adjuster the dealer's estimate and recommendation. They (the insurance company) of all people should know that it will cost more if it has to be done later.

10-20-06, 10:45 AM
Jiffy Lube refused to replace the cats and O2s as the car is not smoking and the dealer can proove that they have failed. There's not much I can do as I can't proove they are broken. Yes, the dealer expects them to fail within a year or two, but there is no current proof.

10-20-06, 02:10 PM
:devil: Take a wrench, remove the O2 sensors closest to the engine (no idea where they are on that car), inject a couple ounces of oil, replace the sensor. Since you already KNOW it will fail and that it will be their fault, why not just speed up the process a bit? Do that a few times it will definitely zork your cat.

On mine (Eldorado 4.6), I could just pull the sensor in either manifold or the one before the cat and use an industrial syringe to do it. Now, I'm not really sure if I would do it or not, I'm part joking and part serious. The scary part is that I don't know how serious and how joking I am (ratio). I guess I wouldn't know unless it happened to me. :stirpot: