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I dropped my car off on Friday for an oil change and tire rotation. I drove off the lot and got down the road when I started hearing noise upon acceleration, couldn't accelerate to 2000rpm, and it started shaking. Within another minute, the check engine light came on so I pulled over and called the dealer service center back. They instructed me to drive it back to the service center so they could make sure it was safe. I drove back and it started shaking even more, was consistently making noise, and I couldn't go faster than about 30mph. It smelled like it was burning, as well. In total, round trip, I drove a little less than 5 miles.

When I got there, they told me it was nothing physical that they could find and they didn't know what was wrong with it. It was closing time so they sent me on my way with a rental vehicle for the weekend.

Since, they have told me there was a small oil leak due to the crush washer being shattered. When I asked how much oil was in my car on Friday when I arrived back, they told me around 3qts (my car requires 5qts). They have spent the last day and a half "taking care of me" and "ensuring there is no damage" and called me this morning to say my car is fine, full of oil, and I can come get it. All is well.

All of this to say, I don't think I believe them. Would a shattered crush washer cause me to lose 2qts of oil in less than 5 miles? How much damage could there be to my engine? Is this worse than they are letting on? Thanks for your help.

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Being only 2 quarts low I wouldn't expect engine damage to occur. However, what you are describing sounds like the engine overheating drastically due to lack of oil and trying to seize up. The check engine light coming on is a good thing at least - they should tell you the code it threw. It honestly sounds like they might have forgotten to put oil in and are blaming it on the crush washer "shattering". You should have them run a video scope through the spark plug holes to ensure no cylinder damage was done. In any case, they were the last ones to work on the vehicle and are liable for any damages they caused.

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Any crush washers I have seen are copper- soft and ductile, doesn't shatter. However there was a leak at the drain plug whatever the material ; the fault of whoever changed oil. Depending on the nature of the leak, a lot of oil can leak very fast. As a boy , I screwed up an oil change gasket and pumped out most of the oil in a couple hundred yards. No oil pressure can cause bad damage quickly. I hope you can get assurance from them that they will stand by their work.

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  • Funny. I worked on a car where the owner did their own oil and filter change. They removed the old filter, but the square cross section gasket from the old filter remained on the engine block. They installed new filter with gasket on top of old gasket. And that held oil pressure for a bit. Fortunately the leak sprayed onto the exhaust manifold creating LOTS of smoke. Easy fix, once you understand what happened. Two stacked rubber gaskets does NOT seal twice as well.
    – zipzit
    Oct 26 '21 at 20:54

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