We took our Kia Optima Hybrid (2014) to a shop for an oil change. We've had the car nearly three years, no engine issues at all. Normally, my husband and his dad handle the oil changes, but we were going on a long trip, so we decides to take it in to make sure there were no other issues either. The shop came back that there were two leaks. Odd, because we have had no oil spills where we park the car, but okay. Give permission to fix. We get the car back almost a week later and it seems to be working. No signs of spills. About 40 days later, my husband is driving home from work and the engine starts making a horrible noise. He pulls over and listens to the engine trying to figure out where its coming from. I suggested maybe to check the oil. He says we just had the oil changed, the oil should be fine. He checks it anyway after the engine cools. It's literally bone dry.
How is this possible? This tells me the mechanic that did the oil change did someone wrong, or didn't put enough oil back in it? The engine needs to be replaced now and its not something we can afford.

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    Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Personally, I think your instinct is correct. i'd be blaming the shop who did the work as well. Either they didn't put enough oil in the vehicle or it leaked out somewhere. If you still weren't seeing oil where it is usually parked (after the work), then catastrophic oil loss occurred (burst oil pipe or the drain plug fell out because it wasn't tightened correctly). Again, I'd still point back to the shop who did the work. Mind you, guilt is hard to prove in these situations. Jan 6, 2021 at 18:14
  • Agreed, the guilt will be very hard to prove! We never did see any signed of an oil leak at all. Thank you for your feedback! I really appreciate it! Jan 7, 2021 at 21:11
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    You drove for several minutes with the low oil pressure warning light on? Part of this is on you! Oct 5, 2021 at 4:44

3 Answers 3


You're probably right. Have the car inspected by another mechanic, verifying in writing that there are no oil leaks. Sue the oil change shop in your county's small claims court, telling the judge just what you've told us in your post. Sounds to me like you'll be awarded half the cost of an engine replacement. If, after inspecting the engine, oil is leaking from the "repaired" leaks, you'll probably be awarded the full cost of an engine replacement!

Most small claims courts deal with grievances under $10,000. You represent yourself, so there is no need for an attorney. Present as much evidence as possible, like receipts, pictures, written estimates for the cost of another engine, etc. Be sure to start by asking for a full-cost engine reimbursement. There are likely no court fees and no downsides for trying, so you really have nothing to lose. Good luck!

  • Try to collect evidence from the shop that did the work too, for example you could call them and say that your husband insisted on having paperwork on the repairs because he's meticulous or something. Don't tell them about the leak.
    – lericson
    Jan 7, 2021 at 15:43
  • Thank you for the feedback!! Trying to gather as much information as possible. We've now spoken to two different mechanics about this situation and they have both also agreed with the assessment. This could be a long annoying issue, but it's better then having and unusable brick. Jan 7, 2021 at 21:10
  • If a mechanic is willing to testify in court, you could offer him some money to bolster your claim before a judge. There is nothing unethical in doing so.
    – Carguy
    Jan 8, 2021 at 4:35

I do my own oil change and this is why. In order to get my vehicle inspection for tag purposes, I took it to a national oil chance location that happened to be authorized to do inspections. Soon after, I started noticing an antifreeze leak. Opening the hood, I found out the radiator cap was not totally tightened. I know that to check the radiator water level there's no need to open the cap. Just looking at the return reservoir is enough. By doing my own oil service, I am sure the type, quantity and brand my car will have. The same goes for the oil filter. If someone doesn't have the facility to do it themselves, then ask and look at the service person doing it. After that, check for radiator cap, loose belts. Sometimes, no so honest worker even put sugar in the Gas tank. All they are looking for is to either see you back at their location or, at any other location. It will help the same.


Oil systems are reliable if done correctly, hoses don't just burst out of nowhere. I agree with the opinion that the shop made a mistake.

The first thing to do is blame the last person who touched it (the shop). They will likely rebuttal and have the vehicle towed to their shop for a post-mortem inspection. This should reveal what actually happened and from there, a compromise can be found. Don't get fighty here, or they'll fight back. Acknowledge that a mistake was made and ask them nicely to fix it - arguing will only be met with more arguing.

Shops are/should be afraid to touch time bombs. I've refused vehicles for an oil change, and would often make notes on files (which are clearly printed on the receipt) - ie "lifter tick on arrival". When the car comes back and claims that our oil change caused a lifter to collapse, there's clear recourse. There are people (as mentioned, I've refused them) that will bring in a vehicle right on the verge of blowing con rods through the block for an oil change, either on the premise that oil fixes everything, or in an attempt to get a free engine. It's the shops' responsibility to refuse you and/or make notes on your file if they believe that there are prior problems that they are not going to fix.

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