Wal-Mart Fails To Change Your Oil And Lies About It

Tipster Toland pointed us toward the Stonecipher Report which contains an entry about a weary traveler who, against his better judgment, decided to get his oil changed at Wal-Mart. After his car was returned, he noticed that his oil monitoring system was still indicating 10% oil life. He asked the Wal-Mart employee if the oil had actually been changed to which she replied, “Yep, I know it was, cause I did it myself.” He then went to go check the dipstick and discovered the oil hadn’t been changed after all. His post, inside…

Hey everyone, been on the road for two days now and I’m about to pull out of Idaho Falls, ID and head north and then east into Montana.

The drive has been beautiful so far. Eastern Oregon is incredible. I had driven through there in the past, but it was night time and I didn’t know what I was missing, but wow, one of the most colorful places I’ve ever been.

My travel was delayed a bit, however, when I stopped to get my oil changed, and I thought the story was worth passing along.

Now, I ordinarily avoid Wal-Mart like the plague, but I needed a change and I was about to hit a piece of road with no services for over 100 miles, so I figured I better get it done while I had the chance.

Sadly, the ONLY place in town to change my oil was at the local Wal-Mart. So as sick as it made my stomach, I pulled up and did it.

The girl (yes, not a woman) who took my information seemed friendly at first. She politely inquired about the full car load of stuff and said “you must be going somewhere cool.”

“Chicago” I said with a smile.

I handed her the keys to the car and stepped out. She told me it would be a 20-minute wait, so I grabbed the iPod and the paper I had and went into the waiting room.

By the way, the one thing I was happy about was that at least this oil change was going to be cheap. Under $25.

About 25 minutes later the girl came into the waiting room and told me the car was ready. I paid, took back my keys and jumped in, ready to hit the open road again.

But when I turned on my car the oil monitoring system said I was still at 10% of my oil’s life.

That was weird.

I got out of the car and asked the girl if she was sure that the oil change had in fact been done. She said “Yep, I know it was, cause I did it myself.”

“Can you explain why my car is telling me it hasn’t been?”

“Well we don’t reset the meter in any of those Japanese cars” was her response.

I thought maybe she was right. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure if this was something that had to be reset myself or if the car automatically did it upon an oil change.

The only way to find out was to check for myself. So I headed back to the car, popped the hood, and stuck in the dipstick.

Sure enough, it was almost empty.

Unreal. They had just charged me $24 and told me they had changed the oil, but it was never done! They knew they were the only place for miles and miles, this could cause serious problems for people without the monitoring system to alert them it wasn’t done.

If it wasn’t for that I never would have thought to double check. In the future I will.

Anyhow, at this point I wasn’t Wal-mart’s happiest customer ever. So I went back in and told the girl what I found.

She called in the mechanic and IN FRONT OF ME said to him “why didn’t you change the oil?” Clearly she either forgot, or just didn’t care that she had already told me that SHE had done it.

His response was “You told me to just pull it into the lot, you didn’t say anything about an oil change.”

I was on the mechanic’s side for a minute until he looked at me and said “When we get these foreign cars in here, sometimes it gets confusing.”

Now I was just livid.

First of all, my car being foreign was 100%, fully and completely irrelevant to the fact that they had just charged me $24 to allow my car to sit in their garage for 24 minutes before pulling it into their parking lot. A dollar a minute. Wow.

On top of that, the disdain for my foreign car was becoming very apparent now. Which was also irritating. My bet is that neither of these people knew that while their own American cars were built by foreign workers for next-to-nothing wages, all of my Honda Civic (with the exception of the engine) was assembled in Ohio by well paid, and highly skilled Americans.

The parts were also produced in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, once again, by American workers.

Long story short, I thought about getting a manager and demanding my money back. And in retrospect, I should have. But I wanted to get back to the road and try to keep my blood pressure low. So I waited a few more minutes while the mechanic replaced the oil in my ever-so-complex Civic and instead of getting my money back I’ll just blog about what a rotten, evil and horrible place Wal-Mart is.

I hate Wal-Mart. Ok, so now it’s time for me to hit the road, so much for this being a quick note.

The lesson: When your gut says don’t go to Wal-Mart, listen to your gut. Also, it is a good idea to check your engine’s dipstick no matter where you get your oil changed.

A Quick Note From Idaho (And Why I Hate Wal-Mart)
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. XTC46 says:

    if your dipstick was showing almost empty, you have bigger problems then needing an oil change. You should see a nearly full amount of thin runny, dark gross oil when its time to change, not no oil. The real question is…did you check it again after the did it to see?

  2. bbvk05 says:

    That sucks.

    First, oil life gauges mean absolutely nothing. They measure time (3 to 5 months, depending on car) and mileage (3 to 5k, depending on car). Using these two factors they estimate what kind of life your oil has. If the oil is breaking down or leaking, you will get a check engine light.

    Also, it should not matter if the dipstick indicated that it was “almost empty” because engines, unless they are malfunctioning, do not use up oil. If they did not change it should have been just as full as it always was, albeit dirty (honey colored and clear-ish is clean, really dark brown and black is dirty). Thus “almost empty” after an oil change is indistinguishable from “almost empty” before an oil change. There is a range on the dipstick that the oil level needs to fall into, as long as it does you are good.

    Also, without taking the dipstick out, cleaning it, putting it back in all the way, then taking it out again, it is impossible to get a real reading of the oil level. this is due to the “creep” of the engine oil caused by surface cohesion.

    Since op has an half-admission I am inclined to believe it, but the method used was not a bona-fide way to see if they did it or not.

  3. karmaghost says:

    I don’t mean to be overly critical out of the gate here, but a quick google maps search reveals a whole bunch of places to get your oil changed in Idaho Falls. That’s still no excuse for anyone, even Wal-Mart, to not do anything at all to your car, regardless of make and model.

  4. jonnypage says:

    at least they didn’t take it for a joyride.. [consumerist.com]

  5. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to Idaho/Montana. Folks are friendly on the surface but you will be QUICKLY and HARSHLY reminded you are an outsider.

    Consider yourself lucky you didn’t raise your voice or you wouldn’t have had a chance to post until you made bail.

    Driving to Chicago? Stop as little as possible between there and Minneapolis, if you take that route. Most (99%) of roads are not marked as “toll” on the map – but technically they are.

    Your out-of-state plates and foreign car make you a prime target for paying trumped up tolls. Make sure you have a current insurance card and registration and test that all your brake lights, turn signals etc. work flawlessly.

    And what in the hell were you thinking letting a Wal-Mart touch your car?! If you’re taking the northern route (I-90/94) stop again in Billings and have it done. Southern route (I-80) – maybe Casper. Good luck.

  6. I am not blaming the OP or anything, but what does 100 miles matter? It seems that he knew that his car was doing something hinky that 100 miles would matter. Assuming the 10% light just came on, 10% of 3000 miles is 300 miles, not 100. I never freak out when I am driving and I’m close to my oil change time. Most cars can do 5000 to 7500 per oil change. My Dad’s Corolla can do 7500. My 85 Cutlass Ciera gets a change every 3000 b/c it’s 23 years old. Also, when I am going on a trip lie a vacation, I always bring the car in for a full service oil change at my trusted mechanic so I can drive w/o worries.

  7. guilliam says:

    I watched the mechanic change my oil (NOT Walmart) and he asked me if I knew how to reset the oil life because you have to do it yourself. I didn’t so he showed me how. Now I do it myself after it is changed.

  8. jasezero says:

    There’s a lot in this story that is very questionable, with many of my questions asked by the people above.

    At least they kinda admitted they didn’t do the oil change unlike the Jiffy Lube incidents a few years back. Many of the chains would take your car in and do absolutely nothing. They would go as far as recommend to do other work (fuel filter replacement and other fluid flushes) and wouldn’t do any of it. Then they would deny it if people questioned it. It was on a bunch of the nightly news networks.

    But the biggest issue I have with this story is that your Civic obviously has to be decently new if it has an oil life meter so why is your oil level reading as a quart low?

  9. parrotuya says:

    Here is another reason why Wal-Mart sucks. This person should have had the oil change BEFORE hitting the road like I am about to do this week. Wal_Mart is evil. When you lead a bad life, after you die, you will go to Super Wal-Mart where you will be hopelessly lost in it forever. Wal-Mart Sucks!

  10. trecool95 says:

    At least it was only a 25 minute wait. I’ve had 2+ hour waits at Wal-Mart and I’m not sure thet actually did anything. Sometimes the savings just isn’t worth it. I get my oil changed a local place now.

  11. tator says:

    I had an early 60’s AH Sprite with an oil change indicator light on the dash. It was powered by a switch linked to both sides of the oil filter. When the pressure drop across the filter rose, the light on the dash would come on (indicating the filter had become dirty). No reset or arbitrary mileage/months needed. Just by the way that before the current oil change reminders there were low tech, reliable non-computerized alternatives.

  12. battra92 says:

    I think you people are missing the point. This is not a Wal*Mart issue, it’s a quick job oil change issue.

    Seriously, Wal*Mart, Jiffy Lube, Texaco, they’re all the same. They hire the same high school dropouts who peaked in the 10th grade before getting their girlfriend/step-sister pregnant and dropping out to get a job at the local oil change place because once they changed their own oil on a 25 year old beater they got for $50.

    Okay, so maybe that’s a bit over the top. My dad had his oil cap left off by Wal*Mart, I had my antifreeze drained and never refilled by Texaco (thank God the engine didn’t warp or crack) and a friend of ours was told his engine was “leaking coolant and possibly had a blown headgasket” when in fact one of the dumbasses working there spilled coolant and never told anyone or cleaned it up.

    Now I go to a trustworthy mechanic 100% of the time. If a chain place screws up it’s no big deal as that’s something for the main office to worry about. If a local mechanic screws up he doesn’t want to lose his livelihood and is more apt to make it right and also more likely not to screw up to begin with.

    By the way, you might want to learn a bit about changing your oil as stated above. You shouldn’t see low (unless they drained and never refilled it) but if you did you’d see a check engine light or the engine would just stall and you’d see the oil light IIRC. At least that’s how it was in my old Chevy, I’m not sure about Hondas but I assume it’s the same.

  13. t325 says:

    Most cars can go far beyond the 3,000 miles per oil change….at least enough to make it to wherever you’re going. I would’ve done that and gotten my oil changed at a reputable mechanic.

    I wouldn’t let a Wal-Mart employee fill my gas tank, much less change my oil.

  14. ClayS says:

    I didn’t even know Walmart had oil change facilities. I’m not surprised they are sub-standard, but I’ve found many of the Jiffy Lube type places are poor as well. I used to drive a 1991 manual transmission Civic, and it didn’t have power steering. Invariably, when these places would present me with the list of checks of fluid levels for my car, they would show the power steering fluid as checked OK or that they had added fluid. They would be dumbfounded when I told them there was no power steering in the car. I eventually stopped questioning these places about it because I didn’t like to see them embarrassed.

  15. DrJimmy says:

    I always get my `02 Chevy’s oil changed at a quick change place with big windows. I watch the kids service my truck.

  16. @ClayS: I have a permanent air filter, so they hate when I come in and can’t convince me that I need a new one. I also laugh when they suggested a fuel filter change, and I would say , “which one?”. I run two fuel filters b/c my car sat for one year in garage, and the fuel system was pretty bad. I love the dumb look they get on their face.

  17. Nihon no Purin says:

    @DarrenO: why you gotta diss bile like that? without it lipid emulsification wouldn’t take place, and your duodenum would be very inefficient at processing fats! THE MORE YOU KNOW ==☆

  18. failurate says:

    My now-wife, not at the time, drove her Honda Civic 30,000+ miles without an oil change.
    We still have the car. I’m not going to say it runs fine, but it runs.

    The OP went into the deal expecting bad results and he got what he was looking for. Self fulfilling prophesy?

  19. Change it before you leave and go 7,500 miles or more (synthetic oil and a decent filter). On the highway, 10,000 miles is no problem. Not saying walmart didn’t screw up, but when you combine them with quickie oil change work, it’s bound to screw up.

    (not blaming OP, just proposing an alternative. Been screwed over one too many times by quickie places, including fried electronics to the tune of a couple grand in repairs over 4 or 5 years. All DIY now)

  20. ikimashokie says:

    Being Consumerist, I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of Wal-Mart bashing in these comments, if there isn’t already.

    I’ve never had a problem getting oil-changes at Wal-Mart.

    The one time I didn’t go, and went to Pep Boys instead, they took the oil and filter out and didn’t change them, and when I took the car back a day or two later because it was doing weird things and making awful noises that it wasn’t doing before I took it to them, they didn’t even look at the car and tried to first tell me that the sensor was broken, and then that the car(a Hyundai Accent) had a leak and had burned off all the oil in less than 24 hours and perhaps being driven 50 miles.

    I told them since it didn’t start having problems until they’d touched it, they were looking at it and fixing whatever they broke and I wasn’t paying for it. I get back in the car, and they’ve left their form of “what’s wrong” that said the filter was either missing/dirty/damaged, and on top of that they put 5 quarts of oil in it. The car was fine afterwards, of course, those 5 quarts of oil not going anywhere until the next oil change. I don’t go to Pep Boys anymore.

  21. @tekno-yanqui: Ah, the good old Wisconsonian FIB tax. It’s why God created cruise control. All the out-of-state plates going 55 and all the locals going 80 ….

  22. rockergal says:

    ok I am going against the current here, and have to admit that our local wal-mart does a decent job in the automotive.
    Then again this is a small town and you know everyone that works in walmart.

  23. eiresean says:

    I have a Honda Pilot and live in Michigan. You must reset the oil monitor with the odometer button. It seems the writer automatically thought the oil techs did this. Was this his first oil change? Learn your vehicle.

    I have always used Wal-Mart for oil changes with no problem. No foreign car anger and I live in a GM town (or should I say formerly GM since they have closed most everything and shipped it to Mexico).

    This sounds like a mix up between the counter person and the oil tech. The owner should have talked to management. By not doing so, which would have taken a few minutes, he has not shown the problem to management so it can be corrected.

    Seems he may have a disdain for the folks who live in this rural area.

    Fishy story.

  24. mike says:

    I agree that learning how to change the oil in your car is easy. But when you’re on the road, changing the oil can be difficult, especially since the oil can be pretty hot at this point. And who wants to carry around 4 quarts of oil, oil filter, and oil pan while on vacation?

  25. katylostherart says:

    i’m gonna hafta go with the two people who mention the fact that low doesn’t equal not changed, because they’re right. you change your oil and it gets clearer. if you have crack in your engine block or your piston rings are going, or something similar, then your car would be burning or leaking oil. as it is, if you correctly checked the oil level on a car with a dipstick, it would only appear to be an inch or two deep. this is not an indication of an oil change. the poster is making no sense.

    i drive a honda civic. i go about 6000 miles between oil changes and it’s got 133k on it. runs just fine. if you’re making a long drive you get a tune up/oil change BEFORE you leave your town.

  26. Caroofikus says:

    I have to go with Wal-Mart on this one. I have one of them there Accords, and you have to take a drain plug out EVERY TIME you change it. That’s the last time I buy foreign.


  27. dregina says:

    Something about this story just sounds/feels like a lie to me. I hate Walmart and know how scammy low cost oil change places can be, but something about this just doesn’t ring true………….

  28. katylostherart says:

    @linus: if his car is seriously running with an empty oil pan he’d have to carry 4 quarts with him just to make sure the engine seizes. also, you do it in the morning after a night’s rest. i’ve done that too. it’s really not difficult. you get a large disposable tupperware from the grocery store (with lid). i’ve had shops let me dispose of used oil. people are really nice if you say please.

  29. howiedi2 says:

    OK. So, my first question is: Why does this guy hate Walmart before he stopped in for his oil change? I have gotten bad service at a Walmart, at a Target, Best Buy, Car Toys, etc. but, I don’t think of the whole company as being bad. I complain and get what I am supposed to be paying for. That being said, I think this guy ran into some ignorant hicks who were simply covering each other’s ass. A lot of Walmarts seem to be full of those. I’m always on someone’s side if they get bad service but, I would be on this guy’s side even more if he would first explain what his problem with Walmart is. I go there a lot for basic household items and I’m sick of people criticizing. Hey, if the prices are lower and I’m getting the same stuff, I’m going to pay the lower price. I get my oil changed at my Suzuki delearship AND I do it BEFORE taking a road trip.

  30. katylostherart says:

    engine doesn’t* seize (pebcak today)

  31. Aladdyn says:

    On some dipsticks it can look like there is no oil on them when your oil is fresh, on one of my cars its almost impossible to see the level, until you position it just right in the right lighting.

  32. IrisMR says:

    A civic. Every damned kid gets a civic as their first car, and you telling me they never changed the oil of one of ’em? You kick a rock and there’s 30 civics popping out. Ridiculous.

  33. Yeah, no more Wal-Mart for my family, either. The one in Oneonta, NY almost destroyed my father’s little Chevy S-10. They drained the oil, changed the filter, and never REFILLED the oil! THEN they drove his truck out to the parking lot without oil!

    Thank god my dad checks over people’s shotty work. Needless to say…. Wal-Mart MORE than compensated him on their error.

  34. boss_lady says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’ve heard that none of the Wal-Mart ‘technicians’ are actually trained to do much besides change oil.

  35. My wife went to Walmart once to get an oil change on her Civic, yes one of those complicated foreign cars, and they forgot to put the cap back on! We noticed a ridiculous large oil stain underneath her car the next day, popped the hood, and everything was coated in oil. I can’t believe they forgot to put the cap back on. So freaking complicated.

  36. Jbball says:

    I too try and avoid Wal-Mart as much as I can, but sometimes you just have to go.

    I used to have an F150, manual, and had my oil changed there one day. Everything went great and I paid and went out and waited for them to pull it around. While standing there, I watched as they pulled it out of the bay and parked it at an angle next to another vehicle.

    The poor excuse of a human being neglected to put it in any gear or use the parking brake, so when he jumped out, it started rolling… towards the other car. He desperately tried to open the door, but it was locked, so he quickly fumbled the keys in his hand and unlocked it, jumped in and stopped my truck inches from the car to its side.

    Fuck Wal-Mart. Pieces of shit.

  37. mospeada says:

    Some namby pamby who doesn’t know anything about oil/cars is complaining because some high school girl doesn’t? I’m so sympathetic.

    Buck up, be a man and learn something about a car! First up, the oil doesn’t go down as you drive unless there’s a problem with oil being burnt or leaked, period. Get over the whole “they don’t like my Civic” victim crap, its as tired as the anti-import attitude.

  38. socritic says:

    Proud to say i’ve never been to a Wal Mart. Vote with your feet!

  39. Dobernala says:

    @mospeada: I’d say its a legitimate complaint if any oil change tech doesn’t know how to deal with the oil change system on one of the most popular cars in America.

  40. glennski says:

    Wal Mart left the lights on my truck after an oil change and drained my battery completely. Then they had the nerve to say that it was an older battery anyway, so if there were any issues with it taking a charge they wouldn’t be responsible.

  41. glennski says:


    They didn’t change his oil, and admitted as much.

  42. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    The state of OP blaming here has gotten disasterously bad here.

    /shakes head

  43. MrEvil says:

    I think we can all learn something from the OP’s experience. LEARN TO CHECK YOUR FREAKING OIL PROPERLY!

    Toland, seriously dude, oil is not consumed by your engine, at least under normal low-wear circumstances. Only the last 1 or 2 inches of the dip stick is actually used to show you how much oil is in the engine. The rest of the length is to get that last two inches from the pull handle on the stick to the very top of the oil sitting in the pan. With a proper X quart oil change the oil should only appear in the middle or towards the bottom of the crosshatches when cold.

    Also, those oil life monitors on newer cars, they are merely a reminder for complete morons that can’t read the freaking odometer. That’s all they do, they don’t have any fancy sensors telling you if the oil is broken down or if it’s got any contaminants. It’s just a timer for idiots (Not implying that you are one, but I’ve heard some whoppers). You could act like the thing never existed and just go by the Odometer reading. It’s like Lexmark’s maintainance count on their printers, it doesn’t really tell you anything other than you’ve printed 50,000 pages since the timer was last reset.

    Last thing, It’s not going to irrepairably damage your car if you wait until you reach your destination before changing the oil. Just make a mental note to get it done ASAP.

  44. zentex says:

    @DarrenO: amen. I’m having a hard time with the OP.

    10% life doesn’t mean your oil is low on the dipstick. You really need to look at color, smell, & slick to determine life left in the oil.

  45. packetsniffer says:

    There’s something odd about this post.

    First, he claims his oil life was at 10%. That’s all right, he’s driven it for a while. But then he says he checked his oil and it was almost empty? It seems that he’s equating his oil life meter to a gas gauge — showing how much oil is left before he runs out. Unless his car is consuming oil, and thus, has bigger issues. But then why didn’t he disclose that or sound alarmed that his oil was low (other than feeling he’d been ripped off)?

    Naturally Wal-Mart is at fault here for not changing his oil, but it seems that the poster stumbled upon this fact purely by accident.

  46. coan_net says:

    I haven’t been in Wal Mart auto part for awhile, but I believe their waiting area has windows of the car bay – why not just watch what work is done to the car.

    Where I do get my oil changed, same thing. I can see the car pulled in and what work is done.

  47. EndlessMike says:

    Errrr…the vast majority of American cars are still built in the US and Canada, with a minority made elsewhere (Korea or Mexico).

  48. packetsniffer says:

    Didn’t see the couple posts above mine before posted. Now I’m just being redundant.

  49. cmdrsass says:

    “Now, I ordinarily avoid Wal-Mart like the plague”

    Every Walmart story includes this phrase and it’s always a lie.

  50. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I’m not sure I’m buying this post at all. Firstly, you do need to reset the gauge yourself. Secondly, “almost no oil” means one thing to me: The OP probably did not check the oil with the car running at operating temperature.

    The information that matters the most is not provided: did the oil look clean? Or was it a thick black sludge?

    @bbvk05: Actually, most of them record the actual number of engine revolutions, and some of them actually have sensors that measure the ammount of additives in the oil to see how broken down the oil is.

  51. vdragonmpc says:

    Heh, not a lot of mechanical people in here I see.

    When you change your oil and filter it will be low after you start the engine the first time. Its possible that they didnt check the oil level after the change. If they didnt old oil would still be on the dipstick. It would take two or three pulls out to swish the oil through.

    But thats just the mech part.

    I used to get a great deal at Wal MArt on oil changes back in the day as you could add 4$ to your oil change and pull whatever brand you liked from the shelf for the 14$ change. I preferred Castrol Syntec for my turbo.. For several years I was getting some good value. Then one sad day I got what they called “ultimate change” and they charged over 50$ and said they vacuumed the car and cleaned the windows. That was almost the end for walmart changes… Them breaking my fan shroud on the ‘ultimate service’

  52. zentex says:


    seriously dude, oil is not consumed by your engine

    ‘normal engines’ no. Some engines were designed to consume oil…no not 2 stroke jobs, I’m talking Rotary’s (i.e. RX-3/7/8). I know what your point was, just an FYI.

    or…those worn out engines where you do the ‘redneck oil change’. Oil blow-by so bad you don’t need to change the oil, you just keep adding ;-)

  53. Hanke says:

    @bbvk05: Didn’t know he had a Honda; however, I assumecd he had a Mazda RX-8, with a rotary engine that does, in proper operation, burn up oil.

  54. bohemian says:

    If you think your car might need routine maintenance do it before a trip. Getting any kind of car work done on the road is a recipe for getting ripped off.

  55. Hawk07 says:

    Wow, Civics. A very rare and hard to find foreign car which would explain Walmart’s reasoning. :/

  56. battra92 says:

    @verucalise: Oneonta …

    Boy I’m craving Brooks BBQ Chicken right now. Thanks a lot! :P

  57. KyleOrton says:

    @Eyebrows McGee: It’s Wisconsin’s open road tolling. It costs a hell of a lot less than the crap they’ve been installing in Illinois and actually DOESN’T dramatically stop traffic.

    Seriously. Driving in Illinois sucks. At least driving through LA you understand that 12 million Acuras and luxury SUVs would create traffic like that; in Chicago, it’s like the state is just trying to screw stuff up.

  58. Ben Popken says:

    Maybe he doesn’t know the most about cars but that’s no need to roast him over the coals. Say your piece and state your facts and don’t be a jerk about it.

  59. battra92 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: The state of OP blaming here has gotten disasterously bad here.

    I don’t think it’s so much OP bashing as it is skepticism on his level of knowledge on what happened.

  60. failurate says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: It’s difficult to empathize with a person when they paint themselves as a paranoid elitist prick.

    “On top of that, the disdain for my foreign car was becoming very apparent now.”

  61. Mayor McRib says:

    @Ben Popken:
    Maybe a more gentle way to handle the OP would be a reminder that EVERYONE who owns a car. Take a basic car repair class. You don’t need to know how to put rebuild an engine, especially if you never plan to work on your car yourself. You will at least learn the basics on what to look for and how to defend yourself properly when you take your car in for service. You would be surprised how many people don’t even know how to change a flat tire. Part of the responsibility to owning a car includes having a basic idea on how it works. At the very least you can learn something from reading the manual.

    That being said, Walmart did a disservice.

  62. failurate says:

    Here is what I think went wrong… the “girl” called the wrong car up as finished. Was lazy and didn’t feel like correcting her mistake.

  63. sisedi says:

    I thought this happened to me once but I never checked because I was a dumbass with cars and now I’m only slightly more knowledgeable, Wal-Mart, too!

  64. beavis88 says:


    You’ve never owned a Volkswagen, have you? :| According to VW (or maybe just my former shady-ass dealers in the Boston area), something like 0.9 quarts burned per 3000 miles is still within “acceptable tolerances”.

  65. Dobernala says:

    @MrEvil: Actually, those oil change reminders, at least on GM cars, monitor the temperature, duration of trips, number of cold starts, and other things that would affect the life of your oil. They do not just go off at X miles.

  66. @beavis88: On my VW, I believe the official line is 1qt per 1,000 miles is acceptable (ie, won’t necessitate any warranty work). Thankfully I’m at a fraction of that, and it’s a combination of leaking and burning. Too minor to require fixing, thankfully.

  67. scooby76 says:

    Can’t say as I am surprised. A friend of mine had an issue at one of these drive through places locally. He sat in the waiting room watching the guy put in regular oil, when he asked for synthetic, and then said they would replace the air filter. The guy took out a new one from the box, took out the old filter and then put the old filter back in. When they tried to charge him for the filter and synthetic oil he went off the hook and threatened to make sure no one would ever take their car through there again. The let him go without paying anything, lets just say all the other people in the waiting room got up to watch their cars to make sure the techs were doing what they were supposed to.

  68. mndjkc says:

    @tekno-yanqui: Please if your not from the area don’t speak for all of us. As far as Montana goes the majority of the population seems to be former Californians. That may be the more likely source of the attitude you described.

    And I-80 runs through Laramie and Cheyenne, but no where near Casper. Casper is a few hours north on I-25.

  69. katylostherart says:

    @Ash78: that is mental. i owned a 69 (har har laugh) beetle and it didn’t go through a third of its oil supply in 1000 miles. that’s a near constant drip.

  70. Mudpuddle says:

    Are you trying to tear your car up? Dont you wonder why your losing oil? You really felt you had pushed the lack of oil to the last 100 mile before doing anything for your car, perhaps we should report you to the honda civic abuse agency. Bad man… bad bad bad man

  71. @cmdrsass: Once I got snowed in at a motel in West Virginia for THREE DAYS (two days before we could even leave the parking lot, three days before we could safely get on the highway) that shared a parking lot with a Wal-Mart that was open. Barely staffed, but open.

    Now, I don’t ORDINARILY shop at Wal-Mart, but we were pretty desperate for food and a new computer game or two. Being snowed in in a motel room is BORING. Of course we didn’t have boots so we had to tramp through the snow and get soaked, but frankly we were so hungry it was worth it.

    True story!

  72. savvy999 says:

    In a bar one time, I once bet a guy $10 that he couldn’t find the oil filter in his car in 2 minutes or less. It was a Honda Civic, btw. Easiest 10-spot I ever made.

    I doubt that 80% of people know where their oil filter is, or what it even looks like.

    That being said, the OP shouldn’t get ripped off. A little more education about his own car, and cars in general will help people like the OP stop this kind of BS. Predatory shops like this exist because consumers simply have no idea they’re getting hosed.

  73. shorty63136 says:

    Man, when I was like 19, my dad let me borrow his ’96 GMC Jimmy to drive to my grandma’s house about 150 miles south of St. Louis and he told me to get the oil changed while I was down there.

    Again – against our better judgment, he told me it was ok to get it done at Wal-Mart and I did it while I was on my way back home heading to St. Louis.

    I get about 15 minutes on the road and the car starts making this RIDICULOUS noise.

    Yeah – Wal-Mart didn’t put enough oil back in. I turned around and my aunt called her mechanic – on a Sunday – and he said they only put one quart back in!

    $3500 for a NEW ENGINE! Wal-Mart denies everything and paid for NOTHING!

    Wal-Mart on Westwood Blvd. in Poplar Bluff, MO. Fucktards. The whole lot of ’em.

  74. Shadowman615 says:

    My car either leaks oil or burns it, so it’s also usually pretty low on the dipstick by the time I get the oil changed. Sure, I suppose that equates to “bigger problems” with my car too, but frankly, it’s a 8-year-old Hyundai accent which was cheap to begin with, and I’ll be buying a new car within a year. So it’s probably not really worth it to me to get fixed.

    My point here, is that the OP’s story isn’t necessarily made up just because his oil was low. And the fact that he has “bigger problems” with his car doesn’t give those guys at Walmart the right to scam him like that.

  75. evslin says:

    Those blasted Japanese cars will get you every time!

    Or something.

  76. MyPetFly says:

    Something like this happened to my dad decades ago, so now he spray paints a small mark on the oil filter. If the mark is still there after an oil change, he knows who’s ass to kick. : )

  77. Dobernala says:

    @shorty63136: There is no reason to let them get away with that. You should have sued the bastards. They probably would have settled, given that they have insurance to handle those little “oopses” made by their mechanics.

    Given that your car was working perfectly well before and that you can probably prove you have been driving it fine for years, you would have ample proof to convince a judge Wal-Mart did it.

  78. Oh, incidentally, “Automobile Maintenance for Dummies” is a good book for the car-ignorant among us. Takes you through step by step, explains things very clearly. Has kept me from getting ripped off more than once and I knew what to do in a couple of breakdowns, which totally impresses friends who were also car-ignorant. :)

    I have no particular desire to do car stuff myself, but I can now identify all the parts of my engine, check all the fluids and filters, and add fluids when needed or take it in to the shop if necessary.

    And when I do have problems, I have a much better idea what category of problem it is, even if I can’t identify it specifically, so I know better if I ought to call a tow or perform a little percussive maintenance. ;)

  79. @battra92: HA!!! They just had a local BBQ by us, bought us some of their yummy chicken at the firehouse ;-)

  80. Lithium542 says:

    He’s got bigger problems if the dipstick on his Honda was almost empty. He either has an insane oil leak, or leaves a smoke cloud like a James Bond car. With an oil sensor like that, I’m guessing his car is fairly new.

    Yes, Wal-Mart is stupid, but he’s even worse posting an implaudible story, as “10% oil life” is very different than “10% of your oil is left,” volume wise.

    Third option, the drained the oil, and forgot to put the new stuff in, which I think is probably likely.

  81. vdragonmpc says:


    My best friend’s wife has a Beetle. He does body work for a living and loves working on cars. He HATES that car with an inhuman passion. He once put synthetic oil in the car trying to make it last and it burned it up in no time. It took several oil changes to get it right again. Her car hates Synthetic. It goes though the seals like crazy. You should see the fun with brakes on that car or changing the headlight… His biggest peeve is the ground effects. They had the car serviced at the dealer and they warped the ground effects on the lift. When he protested they said he must have done it. He walked the lot and noted that all of the Beetles had the same damage.


  82. darksunfox says:

    Wait… who doesn’t change their oil BEFORE the long trip instead of trying to find a place to stop during it?

  83. Clipdat says:

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned that in order to get an accurate oil level reading from the dipstick, the engine has to be completely cool. This is the only way you are going to get a true accurate measurement. (well, as accurate as a dipstick can be)

    If the oil level is read while the engine is still near operating temperature or warm, you aren’t going to be measuring all the oil in the engine because the majority of it is still going to be inside the engine. It takes time for the oil to drain down into the pan after shutting the car off…

  84. Jander14 says:

    No matter where I get my oil changed I always take a magic marker and put the date on my oil filter. This way I can open the hood just to see if they’ve changed it.

    Once they changed the oil but not the filter so I brought this to they’re attention…..to hear the mechanic reply “I COULDNT REACH IT”

    All of the quick change oil places & Wal-mart are Bad about changing the oil, but NOT THE FILTER!

    Look at the money they save by not doing this.

    Got to love it!

  85. Geekybiker says:

    Well, at least he didn’t drain the oil and forget to put oil back in like jiffy lube does from time to time.

  86. Dobernala says:

    @Clipdat: My owners manual on my Saturn specifically says to do it when the engine is warm. I was always taught to check the oil when it was warm on my other cars, too.

  87. facingtraffic says:

    Wow. That’s pretty pathetic. Especially calling foreign cars confusing. I’ve never seen cars that were easier to regular maintenance (oil changes, brake stuff, etc) than Japanese small cars, specifically the Civic and the Corolla.

    @Dobernala: That way all the oil fully drains instead of sticking to stuff, and it also speeds up the process.

    @Geekybiker: Once I was in a hurry changing my own oil in my Corolla and I went and put a full quart in before putting the plug back in the oil pan.

  88. Rachael says:

    Any quickie oil change place is likely stocked by fools, be it Walmart or Jiffy Lube.

    Most of us have stories about the time a car went in and was screwed around with by an employee.

  89. GameVoid says:

    Blah blah, Wal Mart is evil, blah blah.

    I get my oil changed there every 3 months, and unlike the “good places”, they also vacuum out the inside of the car for no additional charge.

  90. incognit000 says:

    I just changed the oil myself for years, until I got a lot of good press from a local Valvoline quick-change place. I gave it a go, and much to my surprise (and delight) the guys were very friendly, made a big deal of showing me the dipstick before and after, and even showed me some of the oil they took out and some of the oil they put in.

    My guess is that most of these places are run by people too stupid or too lazy to be auto mechanics (and I hate to knock on them but that is often a very low bar) so the few competent ones are rare.

  91. drunxor says:

    ive never placed foot in a walmart and dont intend to ever do so

  92. radiochief says:

    @battra92: You are so totally right. Unfortunately, most people don’t figure this out until something goes wrong.

    It all depends on chance. A little mistake can cause a big problem.

    I used to go this local place that had a Mobil, an automated carwash, auto-detailing and 3-bay oil change facility. Locally owned, clean, fast and reasonable prices for all services.

    Until one Saturday, I decided to take my car in for an oil change with my wife. We pull out the lot, the oil light goes on, I drive a block down to make a U-turn and go back to the place. The engine seizes in front of the bay it was just in. They thought it was our fault, and I was livid. Ihad been going there for 4 years for regular oil changes, not to mention car washes. Nobody wanted to do anything, until we mentioned lawyer and local news station.

    They replaced the engine with a rebuilt one with supposedly less mileage. We wanted new, but that was not going to happen. The car never ran as well after that.

    All for what, because some kid or guy could not remember to put the drain plug on?

  93. That-Dude says:

    ding ding ding winner winner chicken dinner

    I have even walked into the bay just to see what was going on.

  94. LUV2CattleCall says:

    I’m an avid Wal-Mart fan, but I don’t doubt that they messed up in this case… Just because the OP was a bit confused on car terms/info doesn’t mean this didn’t occur. I somehow don’t doubt the anti-Honda sentiment of the locals either…it’s amazing how many people get brainwashed by GM’s “American Revolution” ads and don’t realize that while Chevy is building some engines in China and trucks in Mexico, Toyota/Honda, et al are buying up the abandoned plants and bringing in jobs.

    I usually like changing my oil myself, but my car takes 8 quarts of Mobil 1 and a $23 oil filter, and since the disclaimer about an additional charge for oil only applies to trucks and SUVs, it’s cheaper to go to Wal-Mart than to do it myself – and it gets cleaned for free!

    @bbvk05: @MrEvil:

    While that’s true for many cars, some (including mine and the newer GM cars with the Onstar diagnostic suite) take into account things such as ambient temperature at time of start, acceleration habits, highway/city style driving, time, and miles driven. I think it’s convenient that BMW introduced a monitor that allows you to go further between changes vs. the old arbitrary mile quota right around the same time they introduced free maintenance with all their cars!

  95. battra92 says:

    @verucalise: Yeah one day this summer I’m taking the 2.5 hour drive down there just for the chicken.

    Granted according to Google Maps and a division of 32mpg times $4 a gallon gas it will be a $40 chicken (unless of course I pack my car with 4 passengers)

    Maybe you could FEDEX me a few? ;)

    @radiochief: Yeah, those things always suck.

    Granted, I have a new car now and my mileage just hit 3000 since my last change but I’ll probably wait a week. Hyundai says 3750 using the oil they require (synthetic IIRC) and I’d like to keep my warranty intact otherwise I’d do it myself.

    By the way, for the OP, when in doubt go to a dealership (you pay a lot more, though)

  96. A few things:

    I am by no means an expert on cars, but I just have no patience/sympathy for a guy like this. Basic car knowledge is easy to learn and should be known by anyone who drives, and I’m talking simple things like proper fluid levels, brake life, tire pressures, etc. If you want your car to last, even the “indestructible” foreign cars, you need to properly maintain it. If my mom can do it, then so can you.

    First, look at your owner’s manual for what your vehicle requires. You’ll find that just about all modern cars don’t require a 3000 mile oil change, and are sometimes recommended every 7500. Don’t take what you read here as gospel, follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

    Second, “all” oil filters are made by 3 or 4 companies. Do not buy FRAM filters as they are the poorest on the market. The ones that are manufacturer branded (GM, Ford, what have you) are of higher quality and in my experience only a few bucks more expensive.

    Third, oil sensors depend on the car in question. Some simply do time and mileage and then come on, like a ’95 Accord my sister owned a few years back. GM actually has, from what I’ve read, a really good sensor that uses an algorithm to determine the oil life left. As simply as possible, it tracks engine revs and contaminants to constantly adjust the oil life remaining calc. The SAE has papers on this if you’re in for a read.

    Fourth, assuming this guy’s car was not drained and then released and he took it to Wal-Mart down a quart then he should know that he could have just added a quart of oil and been on his merry way for another ~500 miles. Of course, this assumes he even knows where to add the oil. Hint: It’s not the hole on the rear quarterpanel.

  97. mthrndr says:

    @howiedi2: Don’t you realize that Wal-Mart is the antichrist and that american corporations will be the death of all of us? If you don’t hate wal-mart, you’re not cool.

  98. drakono says:

    You can’t get an accurate reading by checking immediately after an oil change, dipstick.

  99. ladypalmer says:

    I’ll never forget going to Jiffy Lube with my Camry and being urged to change my differential fluid. MY DIFFERENTIAL FLUID. In a 4cyl 2WD Camry? I really let them have it over that one and never, ever went back. Luckily I have a wonderful, honest mechanic and a nearby oil change place that does a nice job for when I can’t get to him.

    We need to praise the good companies more….big and small

    AutoTech Nashville FTW

  100. drakono says:

    @ladypalmer: [www.startribune.com]

    ALL street cars have a differential. The only question is whether it has fluid separate from the transmission.

  101. Anonymous says:

    @mndjkc The passive-agressive locals I enountered were not Californians, this is certain. I was out in that area of the country to do a job for the company I worked for in various locations. It was like a trip to the twilight zone.

    @Eyebrows McGee – For those readers who don’t understand FIB it stands for Fricking (well, stronger) Illinois Ba$tard.

    The background is: Illinois doesn’t have a heck of a lot of state parks that are much more than flat treeless fields and definitely fewer lakes than Wisconsin. Options for recreation are somewhat more limited. It’s not my opinion either – I remember sitting in an apartment in Chicago where I was living, looking at the state park map and saying – “You’ve GOT to be kidding.”

    I grew up in Wisconsin in a town that was 11 miles from the state line… and am not offended in the least by the FIB concept – I’ve said it more than once, myself.

    Illinois sales tax covers everything except books and newspapers. From anywhere on the north side of Chicago the drive to the closest group of stores in Wisconsin is a little under an hour and a half. Given that you’re going to pay 8% tax on your milk in Chicago, it’s no wonder that the grocery store parking lots in Wisconsin are jammed on weekends with FIBs.

    The State of Wisconsin has some written and unwritten policies to discourage them. Written policies come in the form of higher “non-resident” fees for state and county parks. A car-load of residents might pay $5.00. A car-load of non-residents may well pay $35.00.

    The other one is more insidious. Small Wisconsin towns use speed enforcement as a giant cash cow. The cops all know the locals so they are less likely to get a ticket (they are also, well, local… they will show up in court to fight it). But if the speed limit is 25 and the car with the Wisconsin plates is doing 38 and the car with the out-of-state plates is doing 37 — the car with the out of state plates is the one thats going to get the ticket. Far less likely to make the trip all the way back and go to court. (The entire area around Lake Geneva, WI is the VERY worst. That entire county is a speed trap.)

    The police agencies without exception deny that this is the case. All it takes is a drive up I-94 from the state line at Kenosha as far north as you’re going (I used to drive Chicago to Minneapolis and was WELL AWARE that my Illinois car may as well have had a huge dollar-sign shaped target on it!). Anyone with eyes and a brain can see that the Wisconsin drivers are speeding as much as everyone else – but 90% of the cars pulled over have out of state plates.

    I was pulled over once in a car with Minnesota plates. I was doing 76mph, 11 over. However when the trooper came back to the car he asked, “Did you used to live at [address] in [name of Wisconsin city]?” I replied in the affirmative. He handed me a warning and told me to slow down and have a nice day.

    As for oil changes – I have a local mechanic I trust here in Phoenix and ONLY that mechanic handles oil chanages. I do mean, mechanic. As in certified.

    The employees of the typical quickie-oil-change place don’t give a damn about your car. They are working there for a variety of reasons, like not graduating from high school, having to buy diapers for a baby they did not plan on or to buy weed – or some combination of all three.

  102. bbvk05 says:


    Interesting features. I had heard they were possibly coming out, but thats not how honda and GM do it. I was told that any kind of qualitative measurement would be skewed by the fact that oils vary so wildly in many respects.

  103. La-la says:

    I once got a bad flat tire in Northwest Indiana and was towed to Wal-mart, apparently the once place remotely nearby to get tires. They only had one of my tires so I only replaced a single tire. As soon as I got back on the expressway, my tire pressure warning light came on. When I checked the pressure, none of the tires matched, but the new tire replaced by Wal-mart was about 15 psi off from the set pressure. I can’t believe they let me drive away like that.

  104. bbvk05 says:


    Volkswagen and Land Rover both say that. Its true that some of it can get eaten up, but their systems are more disposed to doing it. Thats why people call landrovers leaky pieces of shit.

    I owed a VW bug. Its tendancy to suck and the fact that its virtually impossible to change the tires led me to sell it.

  105. bwcbwc says:

    Check oil cold, transmission fluid warm.

    All you guys bashing the guys story as implausible because there wasn’t any oil on the dipstick after the oil change: Regardless of the state of the engine before the oil change, the measurement after the change should have shown a measurable amount of clear oil on the dipstick if they had actually refilled it. Either that or they “forgot” to recap the drain hole or reinstall the filter. No matter how you slice it, they didn’t do the job that he had paid for.

    And I’m not surprised you got an attitude about foreign cars. Even if someone in that town does drive a Honda, it’s probably an SUV or pickup.

  106. econobiker says:

    I hipped to the write-your-initials-on-the-oil-filter when a nice independent place in IL wrote initials and date in paint pen on the filter plus paint penned the edge of the re-installed drain plug to oil pan.

    I expanded on this by initials, date, mileage, and weight of oil so I will never forget what I previously put in the car/truck.

    My family also had a family friend lose his Honda Accord engine when a dufus didn’t refill with oil…

  107. Jmatthew says:

    “Eastern Oregon is incredible. I had driven through there in the past, but it was night time and I didn’t know what I was missing, but wow, one of the most colorful places I’ve ever been.”

    See, he’s set us up to know he’s lieing right here.
    The gorge is gorgeous, but once you leave the gorge you’re looking at desert and army chemical dump facilities for eons… It might be pretty for the first 15 minutes, then your brain freezes over with boredom and you realize you’re passing through the lease interesting landscape on earth.

    Not to say there aren’t pretty places in Eastern Oregon, there are, just nothing you’d see passing through the main highways. Unless this guy is doing a “pretty tour” of eastern Oregon with all his free time, i call BS.

  108. Tonguetied says:

    Boy Idaho Falls must be growing. I don’t even remember there being a WalMart there when I lived there. Of course that was 25 years ago…

  109. jjason82 says:

    “The lesson: When your gut says don’t go to Wal-Mart, listen to your gut.”

    No, as the guy said, Wal-Mart was his only option. It was the only place offering an oil change for the next 100 miles. Sounds like you need to read your own articles a bit more closely it seems.

  110. darksunfox says:

    One more oil change “mechanic” error (this guy even had that accreditation patch on):

    Him: Your car is pretty new. Did you repaint it?
    Me: No, it hasn’t been repainted.
    Him: Well, looking underneath, I can tell that it’s been repainted.
    Me: It’s a Saturn. There ain’t a splotch of paint on most of it. How can you tell that?
    Him: …

  111. buyer5 says:

    I’ve owned several “foreign” and “american” cars and one of each was a pain in the ass to change the oil on due to filter location, BUT not impossible. One was a Saturn SL2, and the other a Nissan Altima, both had their filters on the back of the motor. This is normal for transverse mounted engines but they both had some obstructions making it a little hard. It just happens…

  112. baristabrawl says:

    But it’s Wal-Mart.

  113. hatrack says:

    Not being overly critical of your post but does Google Maps also give the hours of operation for these other places? Maybe Wal-Mart was the only place open when this happened. Or perhaps it was the only place he could get into right away.

  114. @battra92: Phew…. 2 1/2 hour drive from WHERE?? Geeez, maybe I should just send you some of their BBQ sauce and you can do your own BBQ for much cheaper!!

    On a personal note… my friend had her wedding there at the log cabin with a buffet…. DIVINE.

  115. duffbeer703 says:

    My dad went to Wal-Mart for an oil-change and specifically asked for synthetic oil. He usually does it himself, but it was a new car that wanted 5W-20 oil and he didn’t have any on hand. After dropping the car off, he then proceeded to buy a shotgun for reasons unrelated to the story.

    When the assistant manager went to put the shotgun in the car (you’re not allowed to carry guns in the store), my father happened to notice through the window was pouring el-cheapo, Wal-Mart brand oil into the car!

    So my dad confronted the assistant manager, who said that while he did pay extra for the synthetic oil, it was impossible to adjust a work order for some mumbo-jumbo reason. He demands to talk to the general manager, who comes back (about 45 minutes later), apologizes, and voids the initial sale, and has the clerk re-ring it — again charging extra for the synthetic oil!

    So, kind of pissed off at this point, he demands to see the manager again, and he comes back 30 minutes later — with a state trooper. The GM asked the trooper to arrest my dad for fraud!

    To make a long story short, the trooper talks to my dad, finds the 5 quarts of 5W-20 in a garbage can, listens to the incoherent and conflicting stories of the staff, and makes the manager refund the money that he never paid for the oil change!

  116. Consumer007 says:

    @tekno-yanqui: You said
    “Consider yourself lucky you didn’t raise your voice or you wouldn’t have had a chance to post until you made bail.”

    Um what the fuck ever!

    It is his RIGHT to raise his voice when he is ripped off, and THEY should have been arrested for fraud, not HIM. Raising his voice IS NOT a crime. YOU need to get a clue.

    Just because you would have been a wimp bottom-feeder in the store doesn’t mean everyone else should, and if they have spines they should be arrested.

    Being an assertive / even aggressive consumer and standing up for your rights IS NOT A CRIME. EVER. PERIOD.

  117. Dobernala says:

    @bwcbwc: No, you check oil when its warm. Not cold. Read your manual.

  118. DailyDriver72Imp says:

    People should just learn how to change there oil. It’s not that hard like pulling out a engine or transmission. I use to help people, but I don’t want to be bothered with the sub-standard job these so-called “techs” do anymore. The “friend” calls me up and asks me to change this oil. I actually had to take off the oil pan and use a pair of vise grips on the inside to get the rest of the plug cause he took it to the local quick-oil shop{Now known as Valvoline Quick lube} and those morons busted the head clean off.

    In the end,I had to re-tap the hole and put in a new drainplug for it. I asked him to pay me for the drainplug and he has the nerve to say no, so I told him to get bent and don’t come back.

    Seems everyone wants to be your friend when you know your stuff about cars and you put out your own money for there car.

  119. kpfeif says:

    I’ll pile on.

    This guy known nothing about cars and is a DBag for going off on Wal-Mart when all he needed to do was RTFM and reset the dumb “oil life” monitor on his Honda.

    They changed the oil. Also, this story (or one almost EXACTLY like it) was on digg a bit ago, but it seems some of the details have changed a bit. I think this may be one in a series of “let’s make up some shit to bash Wal-Mart” posts.

    I’ve bought tires at Sam’s Club for years. They do a great job, they’re cheap, fast, and courteous.

  120. g4lt says:

    First, there’s a Pennzoil literally across the lot from the only walmart in IF (ammon, actually). Second, apparently the walmart is in OP’s mind the only place in IF to get your oil changed, because it’s pretty much diametrically opposite of any place you’d get on the highway from to head east, coupled with the fact that you actually have to TRY to avoid an exit with a jiffy lube or Pennzoil within spitting distance in the IF area. Third, dude just got a MAJOR screwjob and didn’t even involve a manager?! riiight. complete bullshit, I’m guessing he went through Lolo pass anyways and never saw SE idaho

  121. ShadowFalls says:


    Umm wow.. engines burn oil over time, that is a fact. It shouldn’t be near empty though, since the engine was just on, its not a perfect matter.

    But the color of the oil would be clear to indicate if it was changed or not as it was supposedly just changed.

    Walmart’s behavior here was appalling, a person who did not know much about their car could have caused real damage thinking it was just changed.

  122. bbvk05 says:


    As if I was disputing that engines burn oil at all. In a well functioning engine it would hardly be noticeable, especially using the POS dipstick that comes with the things.

    Your other points about the clarity and color of the oil were made by myself and others before the “do engines burn oil?” discussion took place, and I think we agree on them.

    The OP’s story is implausible on its face because he likely did not check the oil correctly and because his standard for if the oil was changed being “low on oil” is not a way to determine if, in fact, the oil was changed. That was the point. If the oil was noticeably outside of the operating range the OP has bigger problems and thats a fact, and even though engines do burn very small amounts of oil.

  123. Smashville says:

    I call bullshit. If your new Civic is leaking oil – especially before its first oil change – you have a major, major problem…and wouldn’t be able to drive from Oregon to Chicago. You need to get to a Honda dealer and fast…and, as you indicated that you knew nothing about the meter being reset, the car is either brand new…or new used…either way, these meters are fairly new and your car is probably still under warranty. Take it to the dealer immediately…this is a major, major problem.

  124. pwik says:

    I have been using Walmart for my oil changes for a number of years and am very happy with their service. They have large windows where I can watch them work on my car, they always reset my oil change monitor and wrap the left over oil in the bottle in a plastic bag and put it on the floor of my car.

    Wherever I go, I know there will be a Walmart close by, and they will honor the work done at all other Walmarts. I have had the Walmart in Durango, CO fix a problem caused by the Walmart in Albuquerque (actually my husband’s fault…) for no charge with no hassle. I like that kind of service.

  125. SinDex23 says:

    One of the major flaws with Wal-Mart TLE is the workers. While they try to hire competent workers, it rarely happens. The TLE I work at is filled with lazy slobs that would rather sit and talk about sports or the latest video game than work on cars. I chose to work there because it was a change of career for me.

    I spent 2 years working as a social worker and finally decided that enough was enough. I realized that I had a love for working on my car, but breaking into the business is a pain in the ass when you are beyond college years and such.

    @ LUV2CattleCall Don’t know where you got that information from but every oil change comes with 5 quarts of oil. Anything above that and you get charged the going rate for each additional quart. Even partial quarts are charged the full quart price. So if your car takes 6.1 quarts of oil, expect to pay for 7.

  126. ltlbbynthn says:

    We ran our mitsubishi mirage for several years without changing the oil. Every car person I told about that freaked out and said it’s SO DANGEROUS, but geez the 152,000 mile engine has never broken down and is still running great. Now we change the oil at regular intervals, but it’s definitely not the end of the world if you run a few thousands miles over.

  127. SinisterMatt says:

    @Tonguetied: @g4lt:

    Actually there are two (since I lived there about 2 years ago) Walmarts in Idaho Falls. One in Ammon, and a newer one at I-15 and Broadway, IIRC.


    Indeed. Idaho Falls is probably the biggest city on I-15 between Pocatello, Idaho and Butte, Montana. There should have been myriad of places that would have changed his oil for him. Though, if it was late at night, then it would be safe to bet that a lot of places were closed, but the OP seems to imply that it was daytime.

    Judging by the fact that the OP was going to Montana, I am going to guess that he went to the Walmart at I-15 and Broadway St. in Idaho Falls. I had a tire changed there once. They did a pretty good job. I can’t remember what the problem was, but they ended up not charging me for labor to put the thing on.

    The very last time I had Wal-Mart change my oil, I told them I wanted 5W-20 in the car once and they put 10W-30 in it. I didn’t notice until I got home and saw the sticker. It freaked me out to think that they couldn’t follow simple directions, so I have resolved to not get my oil changed at Wally World ever again!

    But the whole errors in geography thing makes me question the story.


  128. ideagirl says:

    @mospeada: Not sure how that rant contributed the this thread. Can you clarify?

  129. houston2882 says:

    you all sell Wal-Mart short. without them and their pricing the entire retail sector would be giving you the shaft. Hate Wally World but at the same time better lover them

  130. thisisjacked says:

    I took my car to Wally World for an oil change once, and when they gave me the keys and I started to pull out, I almost lost a tire. I got out and looked and found that all of the lugnuts were taken off both of my driver side tires. I went back in to ask where the lugnuts were, as I knew for a fact that they were there before — just had my tires replaced a week prior @ Sams — and they said there weren’t any on there to begin with. I went straight up and talked to the store manager, who I’d known quite well because I *worked* there at the time, and he went and pulled tape and saw a random mechanic who wasn’t even working on my car take the lugnuts off and put them in a dish while the other mechs were doing the oil change. Um…? Typical of Wal-Mart, I guess.

  131. Edward Lionheart says:

    Darren O:

    Do you work for Wal-Mart or a company that does business with/accepts money from Wal-Mart? You have to ask around here. I have my suspicions.

  132. GreatWhiteNorth says:

    In Waterloo Ontario there is a shop, Economy Lube, I have been using for 20 years for oil changes. This is not a big corporate chain and was only one location when I started using them (5 locations now). From my first visit and continuing to this day the last thing the technician does is pull the dipstick and show me the level of clean oil in the engine. This reinforces for them and for me that the job has been done. They have done this each and every time without fail. As a result of this and competent all round customer service I have been a faithful customer for 20 years.

    So listen up big corporations… great customer service can gold plate the bottom line. Stephen, the owner, no longer does the shop work himself and he drives very expensive cars now and is doing very very well. The technicians that do the work are paid decent wages and this keeps them working in the shop. I know quite a few by name and recognize most of them regardless of which location I go to. As a result I am confident that they know what they are doing. I do still watch what is going on with my vehicles and this pays off.

    They aren’t yet perfect. There have been a couple of times a too keen counter jockey has tried too hard to do up sells with the oil change. More than the typical “would you like fries with that…”. They caught my wife a couple of times and she bought services not needed, duplicating work I do myself. I have helped her see the light and wise up to the sell… she doesn’t get fries any more.

    Interestingly, last year one of their new trainees accidentally started draining the transmission in my wife’s Subaru, easy mistake on a Subaru and not the first time I’ve seen it happen. I caught the mistake before the trainee’s trainer as his view was obstructed. I commented to the desk manager, he commented to the trainer, who constructively corrected the trainee. No swearing, cursing, berating, or threats, just correction. A very good practice if you want to have good competent staff working for you.

    And, yes, the unscheduled transmission flush and fill was free that morning… as was the oil change… and decent coffee.

  133. DarrenO says:

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    2. Ths gy wnt t g chck f t ws dn by gng t chck th dpstck nd nw knws tht t wsn’t dn bcs th l ws lmst mpty? Bllsht, bvsly ths gy wrtng ths bl knws nthng bt crs. s smn ls pntd t lrdy, f yr cr ws lmst t f l y hv mch bggr thngs t wrry bt nd shldn’t b drvng th cr fr ny lng dstncs t ll.

    Th whl stry jst scrms f bng ntr. bvsly smn tht dsn’t lk Wl-Mrt nd wntd t s hw fr thr bllsht stry wld mk t.

    Cm n Cnsmrst, pttng strs lk ths p wtht ny knd f vldtn jst mks y lk stpd. Thr’s n wy ths n s vn rmtly tr.