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I brought my 2000 Honda Civic to my local Castrol shop for an oil change.

After leaving for work the next day my wife told me there was a three foot wide pool of oil where my car was. I moved my car at work and saw a two foot pool of oil where it was parked.

I took the car back to the Castrol shop and was told the engine oil pan gasket had to be replaced for $200. This has never been replaced before.

I said that my car wasn't leaking oil like this before I took it to Castrol and they said it just needed to be replaced.

I declined their repair and drove my car home. Today there's another three foot pool of oil under the engine.

I plan on putting a couple quarts of oil and taking it to an independent mechanic on Tuesday (after Memorial Day).

Did Castrol forget to tighten the oil filter (or something else) and are trying to rip me off? Or does my car need its engine oil pan gasket replaced?

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    My bet is that your oil filter and/or sump plug washer weren't installed correctly. – Captain Kenpachi Aug 19 '15 at 9:38
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    A general argument against quicky-lube oil change garages: After their warranty ended, my car's previous owner had one oil change done at a quicky-lube type shop before selling the car to me. The shop tore off the protective shield under the engine, destroyed two other plastic pieces, and never bothered to replace them. Another time, I picked up a friend for lunch while her [BMW] was being serviced, only to pull back into traffic behind her car, driven by a service rep, who spun the tires away from a red light and took it up to 60ish mph in a 35 zone. – MooseLucifer Mar 22 '16 at 20:44
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I agree with @knocksAndMisfires - it sounds strange that the oil pan gasket would have to be touched for a routine oil change.

If the oil pan/lower sump was removed then this may necessitate a gasket change since they tend to be a single-use item, but this should not be required for a routine oil change.

One other thing worth mentioning: $200 for an oil pan gasket is ludicrous.


Speculation

One of the things I dread is damaging the thread of the oil drain plug in the process of reinstalling it back in the oil pan. It might explain why your vehicle is leaking oil all of a sudden.

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    Presumably the $200 is the "installed" cost, not just the parts cost, but that can't be less than two and a half hours of labor or their hourly is more than a dealership's, so still absurd. – jscs May 23 '15 at 18:52
  • I thought that sounded a little high. Hopefully the mechanic can take care of it for a more reasonable price. – Ryan May 23 '15 at 19:21
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If there was no oil leak before the oil change, then there is a possibility of wrong repair done at the workshop. Generally, for changing oil, the oil pan need not be touched at all, except for the oil drain plug. If the vehicle underbody is checked on a two post lift, then the leaking area could be spotted. Taking the vehicle to another mechanic is a good decision

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Odds are they did a shady job and are now trying to rip you off. No reason why it should be like that unless if they did that by accident or (worse) intentionally.

If you can, take a look underneath and see where its leaking from. Likely to be from one of 3 places: 1. The drain plug. Maybe it just needs to be tightened. Or maybe the drain plug has its own gasket that needs to be replaced. 2. Around the edges of the oil pan. If this is the case, then they were right and you need your oil pan gasket replaced. 3. Around the oil filter. Maybe they put it on crooked or it needs to be tightened.

Sounds like you should go to another place and have them drain, tighten everything properly, and refill.

Lots of oil changes / mechanics are shady...

  • I'll see which of the three options the mechanic says and post back. Hopefully nothing shady was going on but I have my doubts. – Ryan May 24 '15 at 2:42
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    I've had so many issues at oil changes that I prefer to do it myself. Economically it doesnt make sense, but at least then I know that the job was finished properly. Or just search for your trusty go-to place and stick to it. At all costs, avoid Jiffy Lube. – user4471973 May 25 '15 at 7:46
  • @Ryan Did you ever find the problem? – Bill N Aug 19 '15 at 16:44
  • @BillN A couple days after posting this I took my car to an independent mechanic. They confirmed that the engine oil pan gasket did need to be replaced. I haven't had any oil leaks since. I think the Castrol shop was telling me the truth but I'll never know for sure. – Ryan Aug 20 '15 at 18:38
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Keep in mind that oil pan gaskets are 20 bucks stuff and they're easy to change at home by yourself.. It'll take you 30 minutes at most.. Jack up the car and do it yourself and save $$$

  • 30 minutes seems really optimistic. I'd budget 1-2 hours for a non-mechanic to do it. – Brian Knoblauch Aug 19 '15 at 16:13
  • She didn't specify an engine. I don't know about Honda Civics in particular, but sometimes an engine hoist is needed to drop the oil pan. That's not a tool just anybody has access to or the knowledge for. – Zach Mierzejewski Aug 20 '15 at 3:31
  • On my 2005 Chevy Suburban, it looks like I have to drop the differential in order to get the oil pan out. It doesn't seem like a 30 min job to me... – Nathan DeWitt Sep 13 '16 at 12:16

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