Jiffy Lube Up For Double Reaming

Yesterday, within 58 minutes of one another, we got not one, but two stories about Jiffy Lube trashing two separate customers’ cars in different ways. Neither accusation is provable; by themselves, mere coincidences. Together, though? Too strange a dark alignment of the illest stars.

The first comes from J.N. who found that her simple oil change by Jiffy Lube resulted in a busted, dented, leaky oil pan. Jiffy Lube says the car was fine when she left; J.N. didn’t hit anything with her car since. She thinks they busted it, but we’ll suggest another possibility: that problem was pre-existing, but Jiffy Lube never bothered to actually change or check your oil. It ain’t like they don’t got the history of charging for work they didn’t do.

The second email comes from Joshua K. Jiffy Lube not only attempted to hard sell him on numerous extraneous “repairs” (like a slightly off-white air filter with a twig stuck in it) but then proceeded to bust his CD player.

Both emails after the jump:

A few days ago, my “Check Engine” light came on. I realized I was way overdue for an oil change, so I hopped over to the local Jiffy Lube (which I’ve used several times in the last year and a half or so) while running errands. I had them change the oil and was told that I would need to see a dealer/mechanic about the sensor thing.

Today, I took it into a shop that gets great word of mouth. They told me that my throttle sensor was failing (which makes sense; starting and idling/trying to roll slowly in traffic have been really odd lately), but they also asked me something strange.

“Have you hit anything lately? Rolled over a curb, hit a median?”

Um, no. Why?

Apparently my oil pan is bent and the tube used to change oil doesn’t seal anymore. I’ve got a leak. The combined cost to fix (includes another oil change, too) is just over $400. I called Jiffy Lube and of course they say my car was fine when I left them.

I know for a fact that I haven’t hit anything lately. You remember stuff like that. Sure, I’ve been parking on the street lately… but I doubt vandals could have done this sort of damage.

Ultimately… because it’s nothing I can prove, and because I’m just a clueless chick with a car, I get to clean up the mess.

Needless to say, Jiffy Lube has definitely lost a regular customer.

From Josua K.

My wife’s car was in need of an inspection and an oil change. Normally, I would have taken the car to the local Saturn Dealership that has always provided excellent service. However, my wife had a coupon for the local Jiffy Lube on oil changes. I normally wouldn’t go there but as our financial situation is very tight right now, a $7.00 discount would make things a little easier.

It was a mistake from the beginning. Right from the beginning, they tried to tell me the car’s odometer was wrong, indicating it had to have been at least 100,000 miles higher than it was. The first sales pitch came with offering higher grade oil. I always get the mid-grade oil for the car and accepted this “pitch”. But things got worse. They tried to next sell me replacement wipers, wipers that work perfectly and were replaced within the last year. I declined the offer and tried to send a clear message I wasn’t looking for anything extra.

After getting through the sales pitches, I went and waited for an hour in the waiting room trying not to listen to CNN News. A mechanic comes in with the car’s air filter. The air filter had a dry leave and a twig in it and was a very light grey. I expected as much as the filter was replaced only four months before. They try to sell me on a replacement air filter. I tell them again, I’m not interested. Another fifteen minutes pass and I get the car back.

Now, my previous experience is that anytime you take a car in for service, they always shut it off anyway. So in advance, I turned off the car radio. After I finally have regained control of the vehicle, I leave. Instead of turning the CD player back on, I decide instead to listen to the radio. It was only that evening that my wife discovers that the CD player is refusing to read any CDs.

It was working a minute prior to the inspection/oil change and the next time it is used, the CD player is dead, refusing to read any CDs. We are going to be taking the car in Thursday to the Saturn Dealership to get the car fixed but it is likely going to cost us money we don’t have. What I would really like to know, is what recourse do I have regarding the CD player?

None, we’d guess. You can’t prove it… and, without taking Jiffy Lube’s history into account, it could well be a coincidence. Our readers might beg to differ, though.


Edit Your Comment

  1. LLH says:

    recourse? LOL. right. there’s not a frickin thing you can do mate. count your lucky stars that’s ALL they broke. here’s a link to jippy loods hall of shame.


    add yours to the growing sagas of whoa. and never use a coupon on car repair or plastic surgery – just a thought.

  2. DeeJayQueue says:

    Jiffy Lube are slime, but what do you expect? Their entire business model is based on taking advantage of people who are too lazy or stupid to change their own oil.

  3. Hawkins says:

    You want Jiffy Lube horror? I got yer Jiffy Lube horror right here:

    I took my car to the JiffyLube on La Brea, in L.A. They did a fine job: changed the oil, didn’t jerk me around.

    Two weeks later, I went to buy gas at a Mobil station. I waved my little SpeedPass key-fob thingie, but it didn’t work. No big deal, I thought. It must be broken.

    A couple of days later I called Mobil and asked for a new SpeedPass. They asked me why.

    “But it can’t be broken,” they said. “You’ve racked up $4,000 in gasoline purchases in the last two weeks!” We read the near-microscopic numbers from the side if the SpeedPass, and they didn’t match what Mobil had in my file.

    Somebody had switched the SpeedPass on my key-ring, and traded it for a dead one, and was using mine at a frantic rate, apparently using it to fill up one car after another.

    Mobil eventually forgave the charges, since they were clearly fraudulent. I can’t prove anything about JiffyLube. But the charges started immediately after my oil change, and I keep reasonably good control over my keys.

    There are several lessons here, I think:

    1. Don’t give your entire key-ring to the Jiffy Lube man, or whoever. Just give them the car key.

    2. The whole SpeedPass idea seems pretty risky, given the number of ways you can be defrauded without knowing about it until you get the bill.

    3. This was several years ago. Perhaps Mobil has figured out a way to spot potentially fraudulent transaction patterns by now. But they certainly hadn’t back then.

  4. AcidReign says:

    …..We had a Jiffy Lube near where I live, and it was owned by a very rare species of human: the honest, competent car mechanic. About two years ago, the city decided that they didn’t like a (very clean and freshly painted) oil-change place in the same block as the city park, and used Eminent Domain to force the owner out. Never mind that the building had been standing there since the 1920s…

    …..This mechanic once fixed my transmission for $15, after a big chain had told me I needed a new one for $1195.

  5. Poormojo says:

    I had two friends that worked as manager and employee of a Jiffy Lube near Detroit, in the suburb of Roseville. They routined bragged about cars they messed up on accident, and about how the corporation didn’t care.

    They would race through jobs as fast as possible, and then everyone would run back into the office to watch horror films, the Simpsons, or porn.

    A small list of the terrible deeds they did:

    * Forgetting to put the oil cap back on, causing the oil to gush out of the car.

    * Losing dipsticks and not replacing them.

    * Replacing the car’s oil with antifreeze on accident.

    * Draining the oil but NOT refilling it, and sending the driver on her way, only to have her car totally seize up and die on the way out of the parking lot.

    They thought all of this was hilarious, and in most cases the Jiffy Lube corporation paid for the damages. Still, buyer beware, eh?

  6. He says:

    The air filter thing is an old trick. They take a handful of dirt (or in this case a twig), dump it on the filter, then take it to the customer and say “do you want this replaced?” Then if you say no, they put it back in with all the new crud (sometimes backwards if they can). I don’t think a twig could even get through to a modern car’s air filter.

    You should get a washable filter anyways. That’s real economy. K&N is the best known provider of such, but research it on your own.

  7. RMSugarfoot says:

    I took my car to a Jiffy Lube for an oil change before taking a 2,000 mile road trip. When he finished, he mentioned that he had even greased the rear end for my trip.

    I had an 87 Chevy Cavalier with front wheel drive. He was talking to a single mother of 5 who had replaced the brake pads on that car. I have replaced the tie rod ends on my old Pontiac. Needless to say, that place never saw me or my car again.

  8. MorethancorninIndy says:

    Many years ago I went to a Jiffy Lube in Indianapolis, Indiana. I asked for a simple service, but after waiting about a half hour, they came to me and told me that they had already completed other services that I didn’t ask for and racked up a price that was very unreasonable. (I am SURE it was way over the $60.) I have never gone back to Jiffy Lube since. (Most of what they claimed they did, I could have and would have rather have done myself.)

  9. Major-General says:

    @DeeJayQueue: Actually, some of us don’t have anyplace we can do it in or the vehicle is just a little to unwieldy.