Engine seizure 11 miles after oil change on Subaru Outback on 2/14/16. Engine had no oil. Now need engine replacement and Jiffy Lube claims no fault.
Following an oil change on our Subaru Outback Legacy 2005, performed at Jiffy Lube **** ******** Ave, ****************) at approximately 2:15 PM on February 14, 2016, my family experienced an engine seizure 11 miles after leaving Jiffy Lube. Traveling north on I-91 at approximately 2:30 PM, we experienced an engine seizure. We were right at Exit 17A and able to get off the highway before the steering and brakes completely failed.
Traveling with two young children, the engine failure was a terrifying experience that could have resulted in a serious accident and injury or death had we not been driving in the right lane of the highway and right near an exit. By the time we safely came to a stop, we had completely lost all steering and brakes. The incident also caused and continues to cause considerable inconvenience, as we were on our way to a vacation, traveling from New York City, and lost a full day of vacation as a result. Adding to the inconvenience is that we have lost use of our car for two months, because the engine will not be ready until late April. We opted not to rent a replacement vehicle during this time, as the cost would be prohibitive, but the lack of vehicle is seriously impacting our mobility.
After the car came to a stop, we found that the dipstick was dry, indicating that there was no oil in the engine.
We called Jiffy Lube and they sent a technician out to the location after trying the engine and seeing that it was not turning over, he proceeded to pour what appeared to be an entire 5-quart bottle of oil into the engine though he later claimed he only poured in 1.5 quarts and that there was already some oil in the engine. He took out a large bottle of motor oil from his vehicle (large 5-quart size with a handle) - and proceeded to fill the oil tank, checking the dip stick along the way. He stopped halfway through and tried to start the car, but the engine still wouldn't turn over. He finally emptied the entire bottle into the tank, tried to start the car again, and nothing happened. If there was already oil in the engine, topping it off with 1.5 quarts of oil wouldn't have made a difference so not sure why he is claiming this. The engine still did not turn over, and the car was towed to ******* ****** of **** *********** at our expense.
Since it was Sunday evening, all local dealers and auto repair places were closed. Jiffy Lube called a tow truck for us, originally saying they would arrange the tow. The tow truck towed us to a local Subaru dealer, ******* ****** of West ************ and then drove us to a ******* *** down the road, where we had booked a room for the night. Stefan A.******* from Jiffy Lube followed the truck to ******* ******* we assumed that Jiffy Lube would cover the cost of the tow but he told us that they couldn't cover anything until it was determined that they were responsible, advised us to save all receipts.
After inspection, Subaru's technicians confirmed that the engine was destroyed and that the engine needed to be replaced. That is now happening, but the car is still not ready as of 4/26/16. The total cost of the new engine as well as tow truck, rental car, hotel and the original oil change was $7,757.05.
The following day, Mr. A.******* called us 5 different times, and Jiffy Lube offered to pay for a rental car so we could continue our vacation. They also said if it were determined they were at fault they had someone who would replace the engine cheaper than Subaru - however we did not want the work done anywhere but an authorized Subaru repair shop.
Since then, I wrote a letter to Jiffy Lube and FL Roberts (3/18/16) trying to resolve this amicably, asking them to cover the $7,705.07 costs, the bare minimum of costs associated with the incident. After coming to ******* Subaru and taking photos of the engine, they emailed me to tell me that they could not determine that they were at fault and would offer us no compensation.
We are seeking full compensation from Jiffy Lube for the engine replacement parts and labor (as well as any related damage to electrical or other automotive systems that may be discovered when the engine work commences), the cost of towing from the scene of the breakdown to the repair shop, our hotel for the night in West Springfield while we awaited a diagnosis on the car, and the cost of the rental car we obtained the following day for our vacationas well as reimbursement for the original oil change. The estimated total cost is $7,757.05.
Since Jiffy Lube has turned down our initial claim in full, we are also having the engine taken apart by an independent auto specialist to perform a forensic evaluation to determine the cause of the engine seizure. If Jiffy Lube does not settle with us soon, we would also add the cost of the engine core and expenses for the evaluation and report to the total we are requesting from Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts, estimated to be approximately $1,000 in addition to the $7,757.05 originally requested.
In speaking with the dealership, they could not conclude we caused the engine failure. AT this time they further looking into the matter. According to our inspection everything related to the oil change was correct.
Dear Ms. ********
Thank you so much for speaking to me on the phone last Friday morning, and for your assistance in reopening this matter.
I understand that my previous complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB Complaint Case# ****** (Ref#XX-XXXXXX-XXXXXX-X-XXXX)) was closed following Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts' response to BBB, stating that according to their inspection everything related to the oil change was correct, and that they could not conclude that they caused the engine failure.
We are not satisfied with this response and, as I mentioned on the phone, we have obtained new information that Jiffy Lube was at fault. This information was obtained from a teardown of the engine by an independent automotive engine expert - *** ***** of ******* **** *** Sales in *******, MA. His report confirms that the cause of the engine damage that led to the breakdown was absence of motor oil.
With this email, I am attaching the original letter we sent to Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts on 3/21/16, with copies of all invoices/receipts for the tow truck, hotel, rental car, engine replacement - and the original oil change. I have also attached Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts' response of 4/6/16, in which they claimed there was no evidence that they were at fault and would not process our claim.
I have also attached *********'s engine report here, as well as a brief summary of his experience in the auto industry, and the invoice for his services.
The final attachment is the NEW invoice from ******* Subaru (the one attached to my 3/21/16 letter was still an estimate, although the total is very close to the original estimate, with tax adding an additional several hundred dollars). I have highlighted in yellow the parts for the engine replacement and at the bottom of the page the labor cost ($2,062.50), and in pink the cost for purchase of the engine core, which was needed for the teardown. The final page shows the tax. Note that there were several other repairs done on the car and I have not included all of those pages so as not to confuse anyone - the only pages included are those that pertain to the expenses associated with the engine replacement.
We will also now need to add the cost of *** ******** engine inspection and report ($1,120) as well as the cost for the purchase of the engine core ($500) to our requested settlement from Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts. Our total claim request is therefore now $9,748.40, as itemized below:
Engine Replacement Costs:
Remanufactured engine (same as quoted): $4,395.90
Other parts: $575.88
Tax (6.25%): $310.74
Labor (as quoted): $2,062.50
Car rental: $443.48
Original oil change: $46.14
Engine core purchase: $500
Tax on engine core: $31.25
*** ***** engine teardown and report: $1,120
SUBTOTAL ADDITIONAL COSTS: $2,403.38
We are very hopeful that Jiffy Lube/FL Roberts will acknowledge at this time that they bear responsibility for the engine seizure, and compensate us in full, so that we do not have to hire a lawyer and drive up the cost even further, not to mention the considerable inconvenience this has caused our family. We were without a car for several months as a result of this, and the original incident was quite traumatic for all of us. All we are asking for is fair reimbursement for expenses related to an engine seizure which all evidence shows was caused by a faulty oil change at Jiffy Lube.
Final Business Response In looking over the attachments, we do not see a spec sheet from the inspection. Can we please see a copy of the inspection. Thank you for this information. We are going to contact Mr. ***** and are going to resolve this issue. Based on the report there is evidence that we were at fault.