Oil drain plug flew out on highway

:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
Got my oil changed at a Kwik Kar oil change franchise several days ago. About 30 miles later, as I was traveling on the highway, I heard a noise as if I'd run over something small or something had come off the car. I hadn't seen anything in the road in front of me prior to the noise and I didn't see anything in the air behind me from a quick glance in the rear view mirror. I kept driving.

Fast forward five miles and I hear what sounds like engine pinging, the car loses power, and the oil light on the dash starts flashing. At that point, I know exactly what has happened and I kill the engine and coast to the shoulder. I look under the engine and the last wee bit of oil is draining onto the pavement. I call the oil change place immediately. It had been 40 miles since they changed my oil, so it was obviously something they'd done improperly. They were apologetic and asked me to tow the car to them, which I did through my insurance carrier.

The tow truck guy arrived less than an hour later (but still had marked himself "on scene" through my insurance company's website/app 10 - 15 minutes before he actually arrived). From what I could tell, he put the car on the tow truck properly, and my lady friend came to pick me up so we could celebrate her birthday as planned. Later, I got a call from Kwik Kar telling me the tow truck operator had dropped off the car and had started the engine (?!?!?). They ran over to tell him to shut it off, which he did, but it was running long enough that the Kwik Kar guys got to hear the racket of an engine running with no oil in it. At some point after that, the tow truck guy then locked my keys in my car and called me to ask if I had a second set. I gave him an earful about starting the car and he implied that he wasn't the problem and somehow I was. Add to that, apparently he had left my car parked half-in/half-out of the garage and the oil change place couldn't close their garage doors for the evening. At that point, my friend and I raced back into town to get my second set of keys and took them to the oil change place. The oil change guys further told me that tow truck guy had tried to get into the car to retrieve that keys and showed me the minor damage to the door he had caused (two places).

At this point, the oil change place has replaced my drain plug and filled the engine with oil. They started the car to listen for noises and they reported that it sounds "normal." They have called in a diagnostician to further check for any problems today. I called the Mazda dealer and asked for some free advice, and the helpful fellow in the service department recommended a compression test, which the oil change place said they'd be doing. The oil change guy already hinted that they shouldn't be held fully responsible because of the two truck guy's starting the engine, but they seem to be taking this seriously. The tow truck is the insurance company's responsibility, so at least I have that in case the engine is hosed. I won't be surprised if the engine is toast or if it's totally fine.

Do you guys have any recommendations as to what they should check besides compression? Anything I should look at/smell/feel?
 
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:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
Update: They are replacing the bearings as a result of the oil loss. Anything else I should replace at the same time? Rear main seal?
 
:
Ottawa, Ontario
:
17 Mazda 6 GT
I had this happen to me many years ago when I was young and ignorant.
It was a '65 Chevy Biscayne, straight six. My first car.
I had my oil changed at a local garage, and same as you, I was driving down the freeway when I lost all the oil (drain plug fell out).
I didn't notice until I looked in my mirror and saw a lot of smoke.
I had the car towed back to the garage, and they filled it up with oil, started it up and told me it was fine and sent me on my way.
I was stupid and young enough to believe them.
The car never ran properly after that, and it started using a lot of oil.
It also had a tendency to overheat after that.
By the time I realized I should have gone after them for a new engine, too much time had passed.
Eventually I scrapped the car.
It still ticks me off to this day that I let them get away with it.
All this to say that you need to stay vigilant on this issue, document everything, and get that engine checked out from stem to stern.
You don't state how many miles is on the car, so that may be a factor if it needs a new engine.
You may be able to get them to pay for a good used engine swap.
Keep us posted.
 
:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
So I just walked over there and talked to them for a while. They have my car up on a lift and lowered it so I could see the damage from the tow truck guy. They have the oil pan off now and will replace the bearings, including the main bearing.

The car has about 130k miles on it only gets driven about 3k miles per year nowadays (about once a week). It has moderate oil consumption like many of the cars on this forum.

In case it helps anyone else, here is what the Mazda service tech told me to say/ask them:
  1. Why are you replacing the bearings? (Even though I know the answer is "Because they are bad.") Not sure what additional information I was meant to obtain from that question...
  2. What affects of oil starvation might I see down the road?
  3. What do I get in writing from this repair?
  4. What other part of the engine might be affected? (Bearings were damaged, so we know there was damage, and what other damage may have occurred?)
  5. Don't add any additives like quieting agents to the oil.
I asked them to use proper gaskets and not make-a-gasket RTV-type stuff. Any other advice? After I get the car back, do I need to take it to my Mazda dealer and pay for an engine diagnostic?
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Mazda recommends the RTV silicone.














I remember some guys used the gaskets for the oil pan and they had a hard time with them leaking.

One guy replaced the gasket with silicone to stop the leaks.

There are two bolts that are hidden under the clutch housing, and you have to drill holes through the housing to access the bolts to get the upper oil pan off.

There's pictures and info in my thread.

Make sure the guys know about this.
 
:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
I just told them about the bolts. Thank you... (And that I was wrong about the RTV silicone.)

I forgot to mention that compression was in the neighborhood of 170 on all four cylinders.

He just mentioned that they are also looking at a refurbed motor, but it's nearly $3000. I was shocked, because I'd always seen costs less than $1000 quoted on this forum.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
I was getting ready to take the sledgehammer to my upper oil pan to get it off. Lol.

It was just my parts car and I wanted to get a piston out to check out the seized oil rings.

If your car is burning oil, you might want to invest in new pistons while they're in there?


Compression is almost always fine when the oil rings are seized.
That's why a lot of mechanics can't figure out why it's burning oil.

PS... 170 is really good.
 

pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
I think you can just replace the rings on your pistons or even just the oil rings??

I remember Mr. Giggles did a "quick and sloppy" ring job to stop the oil burning.
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
I would think that rings, bearings, oil pump, and even the head needs replacing if cam journals went dry. I would push for the 3k remanufactured motor especially since they started the problem and suspect you will be chasing effects of this further down the road after they throw some half ass attempt at it. It will cost more in time and money to chase one thing at a time as it occurs than just doing the long block replacement. The wrecker guy needs an ass whipping for being so stupid. I'd be taking that up with insurance carrier.
 
:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
At this point, I don't know if they know the full extent of the damage.

I called State Farm today (been with them for 34 years, since I was a teenager). They said I had to talk to Agero, the company to whom they contract towing work. Wow. I was a little disappointed by that response. I really hope the wrecker guy was blind drunk. No one should be that stupid sober.
 

Chris_Top_Her

Banned
Moderator
Contributor
:
San Antonio, Texas
:
'15 CX-5 Miata AWD
😂 rip lubes shop You can get away with rod end bearing replacement if it's done correctly and the engine wasnt running oil less for too long. Would run 5w30 only from now on.
 
:
protege5
agreed. lube place needs to pony up.

It's not the tow truck driver's responsibility. If the oil change place had not left the drain plug loose, the tow truck never would have been a factor, regardless of what he may or may not have done.

The ONLY way I would agree to someone rebuilding the motor, is if it is completely disassembled and EVERYTHING is measured. cylinder bore, rings, cam journals, lobes, valves, rod journals, etc. Just slapping a new set of bearings in it will probably make it okay for a while, but if the journals are scored, then the crank is junk as it sits and needs replaced or sent to a machine shop. bad crank journals lead to low oil pressure. leads to further failures down the road.

130k miles is nothing on that motor. I had over 270k on mine when I sold it and it still ran and drove perfectly, and didn't burn or leak a drop of oil. If you let them cheap out and not go COMPLETELY through the motor and measure every clearance and spec in the manual, you're setting yourself up for failure.

Just my .02. I've built enough motors to know that one thing being a little out of tolerance quickly snowballs.
 
:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
I called them today to get an update and according to the manager, they've moved my car to another Kwik Kar where they have mechanics. He said they're replacing crankshaft bearings and also cams and cam bearings (I think that's what he said). I'll walk the quarter-mile there tomorrow for more details and then maybe drive up to wherever my car is being worked on. If they have the engine opened up, is there anything I should look for?

PB4, they're not doing a rebuild as far as I know, just what I've mentioned above.
 
:
Dallas, TX
:
2003 Protege5
Apparently, they have reconsidered replacing just the bearings/cams without any additional prompting from me. The damage just looks too great with the cams being involved from what they said.

They also said it's hard to get these engines, and they've found a used one in Oklahoma City with 69k miles on it, about half of what I've got on mine. It's not rebuilt or anything, but it is checked over and warrantied. They offered to do the clutch for cost of parts while the engine is out, but they said cost for a Luk-branded one is $550. I show the Luk clutch kit as $72 on rockauto.com and an Exedy clutch kit as $107. I asked them about the discrepancy and they'll get back to me.

Update: The $550 price includes a 60k mile warranty and the flywheel and slave cylinder. I recently replaced the slave cylinder at Mazda dealer and I doubt the flywheel needs replacing since there was no slipping going on. If they can source a simple clutch kit from a reputable brand, I'll ask them to do it. Otherwise, I'll leave it alone.
 
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pcb

The Diagram Dude
:
2002 MP5
Keep an eye on oil-burning with your new engine.

Our FS engines love to burn oil.

I'm pretty sure our engine can test fine but still burn oil.
The only way to find out is to drive it and see if the oil level drops.
 
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:
protege5
Whoa....

Big RED FLAG. I'd tell them to stop what they're doing. You dont want anything to do with that engine. If they're saying cams are toast then that motor is never gonna be right again. Especially if it's a quick lube place doing the work and not a machine shop or engine builder carefully measuring tolerances. If it were mine I'd tell them to stop what they're doing.

and no, these engines are not hard to find. Call jasper you can get a rebuilt engine with a 5 year 100k mile warranty. I just checked and LKQ ships nationwide and theyve got 4 or 5 on their website. I believe LKQ sells rebuilt motors as well, or at least they used to. Check www.car-part.com theres lots of used motors on there as well.

I'd push for the jasper if you can.


Remember, thisnis their fault and their doing. It's their responsibility to make sure you're taken care of.
 
:
protege5
Also, unless you dont know how to drive a stick, your clutch should be fine. I had my original clutch still when I sold my car, 270k+ miles, and it was perfectly fine. Never slipped or had an issue.
 

i12drivemyMP5

___ 323F ___
Contributor
The reason they backed off rebuild is that cams have journals, not bearings and that would mean new head. As was stated, push for new long block and not a used motor. They are not hard to come by, it is just gonna cost them money to have one shipped because none around nearby. The clutch thing is judgement call....if you could end up with new motor and the clutch at reasonable cost, that'd be great.
 
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