We took our van for a routine oil change and...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jun 01, 1995

Dear Tom and Ray:

We took our van for a routine oil change, and when we got it home it was leaking around the oil plug. We called the shop, took it back, they drained the oil, put on a new drain plug gasket, and sent us home. Next day, it was still leaking. We called again, went in, and again they tightened the plug. Came home, still leaking. Took it back two more times. Each time, they said they tightened the drain plug some more, but it's still leaking. So now we've been back four times and we're still getting a drip from around the drain plug. What do you think we should do next? We're losing our cool drip by drip.
Lloyd and LaRue

TOM: Jeez! You two must either be Zen masters or be on Valium. I would have lost my cool two or three visits ago!

RAY: Under no circumstances should you go back to these ding-a-lings. They have proven themselves incapable of fixing your car. Moreover, they have proven themselves incapable of even REALIZING that they haven't fixed your car. If I were you, I'd go someplace else, and never go back to this place.

TOM: My guess is you have either a stripped or cracked oil pan. Obviously, tightening the drainplug some more isn't going to fix it. And in fact, overtightening it is probably what stripped it in the first place.

RAY: Unfortunately, it's going to be almost impossible to prove that the knuckleheads who changed the oil were responsible for your leak. It sounds like they're well versed in the "mechanic's shrug," and they'll probably just claim it was leaking when you brought it in. So as distasteful as it is to let them get away with such shoddy work, I wouldn't waste a lot of time chasing them.

TOM: But I would get it looked at by a competent mechanic. The leak could get suddenly worse. And even you guys might not be so calm and peaceful when your engine seizes.

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