I had the oil changed Friday afternoon on my 2018 SUV (15k miles). On Saturday morning, I noticed a 18'x18" puddle under my car. On Sunday afternoon, I noticed a large 45" x 30" puddle under my car and leaking in the driveway and street that clearly came from my car (a stream from each of the three times I moved it). So, I moved the car 10 feet to check the oil. Zero, none. So, I had it towed back to the dealership. And I documented the oil check with a video on my phone.

Thankfully, on Saturday, I didn't drive long distances, but I did drive 2-3 short trips (maybe 15 miles?).

The dealership was nice, apologetic, offered two (conflicting) rationales for the oil leaking out (a o-ring with a cut and an improperly installed filter). The offered three free oil changes. OK.

My question is...what is the likelihood that damage was done to my car? What should I expect from/ask of the dealership?

  • 1
    Even if oil does not show on the dipstick there is still oil in the crankcase, You are probably ok. No good way to tell if there is damage to the engine without tearing it down and doing an inspection.
    – Moab
    Sep 23, 2019 at 21:44
  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Moab's "comment" is correct (should be an answer). There really isn't any way to tell, but odds are, there was most likely minimal damage to the engine. Sep 23, 2019 at 21:49
  • An 18'x18' inch puddle 1/8 inch deep comes to about 127 cubic inch, 2.08 L. On my SUV with 5.2 liter cap, that would be 40% loss. If that 40% dropped the oil pressure so that low oil light come on, you would have some wear...if the oil light comes on, one should stop immediately and drive no more. If the light was on for the 15 miles you may have some damage/scratching of the bearings. You did not mention oil light so you are probably just fine
    – Chris
    Sep 23, 2019 at 21:52
  • @Chris, that doesn't add up. 18*18 is 324, divide by 8 and you get 40.5 cubic inches, which is about .65 liters.
    – GdD
    Sep 24, 2019 at 8:25
  • Math fail 101 D squared when it should be R squared... 31 cubic in. No problems at all then. Cheers for the schooling GdD
    – Chris
    Sep 24, 2019 at 14:20

1 Answer 1


You most likely have no damage. An 18 x 18 puddle 1/8 inch deep comes to about .65 liters, which is not a huge loss compared to most SUVs oil reservoirs. A 45 x 30 puddle of the same depth is about 2.75 liters, which would be a serious loss of oil, but by the time that much had leaked out you realized there was a problem and didn't drive it. Running it for 30 seconds to move it wouldn't have caused any lasting issues.

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