I had a service at Hyundai dealership that included oil change. A
service advicer called me and said that oil pan plug had damaged
thread. He blamed a shop where I did last oil change. He suggested to
retap and install larger plug. It was done and I was told that it
Next morning I found a big oil spill on my driveway. I went back to the
dealer. The manager said that unfortunately the larger plug did not
work and suggested to replace pan for about $350. Moreover the pan for
my Elantra 99 is 'a special order' and I have to wait. Then I went to
the local shop where the previous oil chage was done. The
owner/mechanic said it was the dealer's fault. They just wanted to
blame someone else. So, I got in the middle.
Could anyone advice me what to do in this situation? I feel that I have
to pay for the repair as it is impossible to prove which mechanic broke
my oil pan.
Not much you can do since you really can't prove who is lying. This is
the main reason I still do my own oil changes, even though it gets less
fun every year older that I get. Typically, a plug that is cross
threaded won't seal well and will leak at least a little. If you are
sure no oil was leaking prior to you visit to the last dealer, I'd
personally suspect they caused the damage rather than the first place.
However, I know of no way to tell for sure.
I'd head back to the dealer and tell them that there was *no* oil leak prior
to their work on the car (assuming that really is the case). It would be
quite obvious because any oil leak is going to leave telltale signs on the
Unfortunately, even lack of an oil leak doesn't implicate the last
dealer with any level of certainty. A cross threaded plug will often
leak, but a plug that was overtightened stripping the threads, often
won't leak. The person who put the plug in should have felt the threads
yield as it is a fairly obvious (and sickening!) feeling. However, the
drain plug will often remain very tight and nobody else will know until
they remove the plug and find that the threads from the oil pan come out
I'd probably try to get each dealer to split the cost of the repair as a
goodwill gesture since you can't be sure who did it. They may or may
not go for that, but it seems a reasonable compromise to me.
Quite true Matt. One would think that if the dealer noticed this upon
removing the plug - and that would certainly be very noticable, that they
would immediately alert the owner and stop there. That's something of a
normal thing to do when on encounters something like that. I don't recall
now from the original post - did the OP say the dealer advised him that they
discovered this problem at the time, or was this an after the fact
revelation? I think in my most fair judgement, I'd say if the second dealer
did not stop immediately and notify the owner they had discovered a cross
threaded plug, that I'd be pretty suspicious of their claim that it was done
by someone before them. Any decent mechanic would stop right there with
that sort of problem.
I also like Matt's compromise about splitting the cost but I am pretty
sure I will pay in full. I already spoke to both of them. None accepted
he could do that. Yes, I was alerted by the last dealer about the
problem. I was there during service and service adviser explained me
that they discovered the damage and they were going to put an oversized
plug to avoid costly pan replacement. I can't know who overtightened or
crossthreaded the plug. I really reluctant to blame the prior shop even
though they charge $50/hr compare to dealer's $108/hr. I have done a
lot of oil changes and other jobs at this local shop and never had any
problems with them. The owner looks reasonable and honest. I have to go
to dealers sometime because my car is still under 100,000/10years
warranty. Unfortunately my experience with dealers is much worse.
Actually I considered the last dealer as the best of 3 dealers closest
to my place. Now I am not so sure.
Unfortunately, there's no way to tell. You'll probably wind up eating the
entire cost. There are far too many monkeys out there who change oil and
have no idea that they don't have to tighten the drain plug enough to
the whole car together.
This sounds like a sleekly situation, Mike, Bob, you guys wanna handle this
Matt is right, im not getting any younger & my back hurts. I get tired of
changing my own oil, but its seems thats the only way i know its done RIGHT
(and economically) I had a similar situation on my wrecked 90" ZX after a
Unless its really loose, maybe there's a TEMP. Teflon thing to use?? anyone
have any ideas for rigs...
I mean, its ONLY the oil :))
...Lenja, its time for a new pan .
Personally, the only fix I would trust is a heli-coil. However, often
the cost of doing that right is almost as much as a replacement pan.
And there likely isn't any need to buy a new one as you may be able to
find a good used one in a salvage yard for 25% of the cost or less.
A heli-coil is a sound solution, but it is hard to do with the pan on
the engine without risking leaving metal shavings in the pan. And if
you go to the trouble of removing the pan, then you might as well just
replace it with a good used one and be back to where you started.
I would go to a local auto wrecking yard and have them do a nationwide
search for a pan. Unless you're willing to pay the new price, this
could be a cost-effective solution. I've gotten some really good parts
and prices this way.
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