Malicious Oil Change? Jiffy Lube Ruined My Oil Plug "On Purpose"

Reader Andrew says he’s certain that Jiffy Lube purposefully filed down his oil plug so that he couldn’t change his oil himself. Conspiracy? Or incompetance? You decide.

Andrew writes (to Jiffy Lube):

My wife and I purchased a home this spring with a nice garage. I could finally change the oil in my wife’s car. She needed her oil changed badly and had gone to you before. Your team had tightened the nut to the oil pan too tight (pneumatic tools I’m sure), so I mentioned to her to have your shop change the oil and to please ask them to not over tighten the nut so I could release it for the next change.

My wife spoke to a member of your team and asked them to not over tighten the oil plug if possible. Not only did she get a horrible look from both the team member and the employee standing next to him, the oil plug head was completely rounded off smooth.

In order to remove the plug without damaging the oil pan, I had to hammer a wrench head 1/16th size too small onto the plug head to kind of form it into the wrench. I then had to use that same hammer to hit the other end of the wrench in order to loosen the plug. I now had a ruined plug and ruined wrench.

The new Pontiac G6 has a new size plug different than most cars. I found this out when I had to run up to the car parts store to buy a new plug. They didn’t have any of the new plugs and I had to wait a week for a new one, thus rendering the car un-drivable.

Neither my wife, myself, friends, or family will ever use your services again.

We asked Andrew if he was certain the oil plug had been purposefully tampered with, and he says he’s sure:

Yes, they filed it by over tightening it with a pneumatic drill. The drill’s pressure was so high that the tool stripped the ridges off the bolt, thus making it almost impossible for me to remove without bringing it back into their shop.

You could say it was job security for them since they saw a potential customer about to leave and do it themselves.

He also included a picture of the ruined plug. Yikes. What do you guys think? Would someone do this on purpose?


Edit Your Comment

  1. jasezero says:

    Thats why you never take your car to Jiffy Lubes or any other quick oil change locations…let a real mechanic shop do it as its the same price or sometimes cheaper.

  2. Elvisisdead says:

    You have to remember that the Jiffy Lube guys aren’t ASE mechanics. It’s possible. Definitely, in that they got it off to change her oil in the first place.

  3. Derv says:

    The closest I come to mechanic is changing the oil on my lawnmower, but that damage looks pretty deliberate to me. No sane-minded person would tighten it that much.

    Moral of the story: Either change the oil yourself, or take it to a real mechanic. My new corolla isn’t going near one of those quick-change places. The dealer costs $5 more and they are trained and certified. A similar thing happened to my dad with his Highlander; he took it to a quick-change place and they forgot to put the bolt on. He drove it home, noticed a bit of oil on the garage floor, and got underneath and found what they had done.

    Don’t trust someone with a GED and a certificate printed off their laser printer to work on your car. The quick-needitfast-now mentality bites ya every time.

  4. Derv says:

    I should clarify; the bolt that they use to drain the oil.

  5. The tinfoil hat brigade is out early today. Chances are they just screwed up. Or, perhaps the unique size of the plug, as noted by the OP, isn’t compatible with their machinery. But I highly doubt the mouth-breathers at Jiffy Lube care whether or not you come back.

  6. Chairman-Meow says:

    Looks and sounds like the JiffyLube tech stripped the nut head. Dumbasses.

  7. merkidemis says:

    On purpose? No. Stripping the plug would make it a pain for even them to get it off. Wrecked it by doing it wrong? More probable. It is Jiffy-Lube after all, not exactly the pinnacle of automotive repair shops.

  8. Chairman-Meow says:

    Or…they used a meteric tool on a non meteric nut (or vice-versa)

  9. tom2133 says:

    I thought Jiffy Lube only hired the best technicians to handle your vehicle service needs. (End Sarcasm)

  10. tom2133 says:

    @Front_Towards_Enemy: Maybe they couldn’t find the metric hammer…

  11. Nighthawke says:

    Send the clowns the bill for the plug, labor and oil replaced . If they balk at it, take them to court. That was pretty much a malicious act that grease monkey pulled off. He needs to be pulled off the rack and put back in the unemployment line.

  12. pockygt says:

    And this is why pan bolts are supposed to TORQUED CORRECTLY BY HAND.

    But, it’s Jiffy Lube. You get what you pay for.

    But thinking it’s malicious? No way. They’re just dumb. This doesn’t guarantee them any work. I’m sure they couldn’t remove it themselves anyways.

  13. chrisexv6 says:

    I took one of my cars to a quick change oil place, once. They too put the drain plug on so tight, I couldnt take it off when I wanted to change my own oil.

    Luckily when I took it back they loosened it without destroying it on purpose (it probably helped that I was standing next to the car while they did it). I did hear “it wasnt on that tight at all”, but I got a blank stare when I said “oh really? is that why you had a breaker bar and were hammering on it to loosen the plug?”

    Last time I ever let anywhere but a dealer change my oil. Went to change the oil in my wifes car (which has only had oil changes done by the dealer since day 1), and guess what? Not only was the drain plug on tighter than tight, I had to use the “screwdriver thru the filter” trick to remove the oil filter!! And those changes WERE by ASE certified mechanics.

  14. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    The mechanic I’ve been going to for ten years… I would never let anyone else touch my car. I can drive in after work (I get off at 4) and hand him the keys, and he will do my oil change, check my tires and windshield washer fluid, and have me out of there before I can finish skimming a couple waiting room magazines. And folks, I’m a fast reader. :D

  15. zentex says:

    Yes, they filed it by over tightening it with a pneumatic drill.

    Doubtful. Please take off your tinfoil hat.

    I’ve come across cases where they striped the head because they were simply incompetent. I’ve also come across cases where they simply over tightened it (not with a drill!). What? a bit of oil drip because the bolt has been over tightened over the years? TIGHTEN it some MORE!! That is the logic they employ, rather than sell you a $5 bolt to fix the problem all together.

    You’d also be surprised what happens when you heat&cool and heat&cool a bolt…hint: it usually tightens itself.

    These shops employ people who simply don’t care. They use a wrench that “fits” and are too lazy to get the proper tool once under the car (thus mucking up the head).

    I’ve never worked in a quick-lube place, but I did work in a Restoration Garage that did ‘favors’ on non-classics simply because we had lifts. Oh the crap I’ve seen these quick-lube shops do…

    My wife and I purchased a home this spring with a nice garage. I could finally change the oil in my wife’s car.

    Sir, a lack of a garage is not a valid excuse for not changing your own oil. Driveways, streets, even cardboard in the dirt/grass are all valid ways of changing your own oil. By doing it yourself you save money, get the right stuff, and ensure that your vehicle is not damaged by idiots.

  16. mrbill says:

    A few years ago I drove a Kia Sportage, which wasn’t as bad a vehicle as some people think. I took it to a local Jiffy Lube for an oil change.

    They drained the oil, but then couldn’t get the oil filter unscrewed. After 10-15 minutes of effort, they put the plug back in, filled it back up with new oil, and said “No charge, sorry for wasting your time.”

    A couple days later I took it do the other JL down the street (Burnet Road in Austin) who managed to do everything with no problem, and laughed at the guys from the other shop. I used that location from then on.

  17. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @pockygt: Truth. Why should the mechanic care if the OP had any loyalty to the quick lube place? The mechanic himself probably doesn’t have much if any loyalty to the place himself.

  18. Sudonum says:

    Not seeing the bolt on the car before the OP did his thing with a hammer to it, it’s hard to tell. However as to his statement that they ruined the head by over tightening with a pneumatic wrench or impact driver, not likely. The threads in the pan would strip before the shoulders on the bolt did. Now what they could have done is use the next size larger socket with the impact driver and used it to shear the shoulders off the bolt. Personally I think they just use channel locks on it every time you went there and that resulte in an eventual rounding of the shoulders.

  19. milk says:

    They almost destroyed mine on my old car. The new guys I took it to took 20 minutes to take it off without completely obliterating it.

  20. timmus says:

    (facepalm) I took my van to Jiffy Lube a few weeks ago.

    However I’ve been hearing so many horror stories about oil changes that I’m going to start doing it myself. The only thing that’s stopped me is the horrendous issue of dealing with the used motor oil. I refuse to dump it, especially since we have a water well on our property. Yeah, places will accept it, but I have no idea what kind of container to put this stuff in.

    A couple of times over the years I’ve had to have the oil plug redrilled because some monkeys at these oil change places stripped the threads. I think the straw that broke the camel’s back at Jiffy Lube, however, was their “service advisor” coming in and trying to upsell me on additional services. Screw ’em, once a place starts trying to upsell me, that’s a trust breaker and I never go back.

  21. jer2665 says:

    I worked at a firestone for 6 of the worst months of my working life, and Jiffy Lube here too is WELL known for this. Not that we didn’t have our share of idiot mechanics cranking on lugs with an air gun at like 4 times the tightness they’re supposed to be. Though generally one of them would say something when they strip the drain plug and we’d throw another one in there. It’s not really that they do it to make you come back, they do it because they just don’t care. They’re getting $8 an hour to crank out as many as they can, don’t care if they see your car again.

  22. timmus says:

    (timmus goes and adds “jack stands”, funnels, and oil collection tray to the shopping list)

  23. Gopher bond says:

    I don’t think you’ll ever be able to prove it was malicious. I’ve rounded off bolts like that with a hand wrench by accident just because the wrench wasn’t on straight. I used to have an old classic car that had opposite threaded lugs on the driver side (right loosey, lefty tighty). I would tell everyone in the tire change place, “opposite lugs on this side! remember! Opposite lugs, need to turn them clockwise to loosen!” and damn if they still didn’t snap off the lugs every once in a while.

  24. jer2665 says:


    That’s what everyone feels, but the things that are usually recommended are schedule maintenance that people are supposed to do, but generally don’t. Granted I believe most of the recommendations at firestone were based off of extreme conditions, so it’s not quite necessary, but if we didn’t get any of the upsells we didn’t keep our job. (I was one of those people who got to tell people “um, your tired has a gigantic bolt in it and you need a new tire because it’s in the side wall” then you get their dirty looks like “what are you trying to pull?” and then you show them, and they still say “um, yeah, just leave it, i’ll have my husband deal with it”

  25. BeeBoo says:

    Never attribute to malice that which more likely can be attributed to laziness or incompetence.

  26. Snowblind says:


    Put it in a one gallon milk jug. That is what the local recycling company requests we use.

    Or get one of those nifty oil drain pans that stores oil in the base. Mine holds enough for 2 changes.

  27. RobinB says:

    They tried to charge me for more oil than my car will even hold.

  28. Froggmann says:

    Incompetence, yes Malice, no. I have been working on my own vehicles now for 19 years. I know for a fact if they used air tools on an oil plug the threads in either the pan or the plug would be stripped. This on the other hand looks like they were using channel-locks or vice-grips on the plug.

    Oh and folks just so you know your oil plugs will always be made of a softer metal than normal. In case you’re wondering why it’s so the plug will strip out before the threads on the pan will. That way it only costs you $5 instead of $200+ for a new pan.

  29. crackers says:

    @zentex: Actually, I’ve had two landlords tell me that it’s illegal to change my oil when parked on the streets in my city. I haven’t had a driveway or an off-street parking spot in 13 years. So, in my book, not having a safe place to change your oil is indeed a valid excuse for paying someone else to do it.

  30. HighontheHill says:

    Well there you go…..yet another reason to not go to these types of places. You let them off WAY TO EASY; I would have gone for the throat for wanton, malicious destruction of your property. But then, I like to fight when provoked into doing so….

  31. startertan says:

    I had a friend who took her 4Runner in for an oil change. They either lost the drain plug or put in the wrong one but the bottom line was that they put in a larger one. The next time she took it for an oil change, I think it was the dealer, she had to have the whole oil pan changed b/c the plug was now too big.

  32. Froggmann says:

    Oh and yes I do use a quick-lube chain. I don’t have the patience it takes to change oil anymore. Not to mention I hate cleaning spilled oil out of the interior of my vehicles.

  33. Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

    Folks, let’s remember the comment code: don’t blame the victim or call them names. Civil disagreement, e.g. BeeBoo‘s comment, is okay; telling the victim to take off their tinfoil hat is not okay.

  34. madfrog says:

    I absolutely believe this. They are not certified mechanics, and in some cases, will hire anyone who can turn a wrench. I have worked at 2 car dealerships and have seen cars coming in from these places and the damage that they do. Sometimes it may cost you a bit more at the dealership, but they make sure that their guys are certified. Most times, if you bring in a coupon from Jiffy Lube or another place, they will honor it to get repeat business.

  35. First off, an impact wrench and a pneumatic drill are 2 different things. An impact wrench is (as you would guess) a wrench. A pneumatic drill is (again, as you would guess) a drill.

    I also attribute this to incompetence rather than malice, but the OP should be using the right tools to get that stripped bolt out. For 5 bucks he could have a bolt-out set that would have taken it out in 5 seconds.

    Using the wrong tool for the job will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS cause you more issues than the right one.

  36. krispykrink says:

    Next time don’t ruin your tools. Use a drill and an extractor. This is what they’re made for.

  37. wiley14 says:

    I agree with some other readers – they probably didn’t do it intentionally, but because they are idiots.

    I’ve had my own trouble with Jiffy Lube in the past. I used to have an old 92 Eclipse and the seal on the rocker cover would keep busting, but it wasn’t a big deal. Sure, sometimes a drop or two would leak out. I went in for a safety inspection and oil change. The geniuses decided they were going to fix it for me without telling me first. I didn’t know until I came back and see that they have the rocker cover off and standing around staring at the engine with blank faces.

    A year or so later, I took a different car to a different Jiffy Lube. This time, I went in for an oil change and they checked all the fluid levels for my “convenience”. Unfortunately, when I lost all my coolant because they didn’t screw the radiator cap back on tightly, it became a great inconvenience to me.

    Jiffy Lube is the worst. I still use a quick change place for routine maintenance, but it is locally owned and I have always received great service.

  38. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Try this sometime. Remove a metric bolt with an SAE wrench (or vice versa), using the “close enough for government work” wrench or socket that is just small enough to grab the bolt. Chances are you’ll ruin either the bolt or the cheap-ass Walmart* wrench or both trying to turn the bolt. Now add pneumatic power to that. That’s what Jiffy Lube did, and they ought to get sued for it.

  39. skipjack says:

    Whilst in college, i worked in the pit of a Texaco Express Lube. None of the shops in Nashville used Pnematic tools to do oil changes. Perhaps Jiffy Lube does (i’ve never seen it), but it is much faster/safer to use good ole standard wrenches to do the oil change. Why faster/safer? an oil pit….every thing has a thin coating of oil. Most of those places have more than one bay and to have hoses runing to those bays that will already be slippery from being in the pit…it’s just not smart nor safe to walk around. Also, many least 10 years ago, had cross-members, exhaust elements, the way of being able to get a pnematic wrench squarely on a oil pan bolt.

    But’s just as easy to round off a bolt with a regular wrench as it is with a pnematic one.

  40. Aeroracere says:

    @Froggmann: “Not to mention I hate cleaning spilled oil out of the interior of my vehicles.”

    Methinks you might be doing it wrong…

  41. gorckat says:

    Speaking of Firestone…I had a tire disintegrate a few weeks back and had it towed to them, and asked for an oil change while it was in.

    They called the next day saying one of the front brake calipers was siezed up, one rotor was worn down (needing to be replaced in pairs) and needing new brake pads.


    After talking to my uncle, I bought the parts for ~$190 at Pep Boys and going to his house, I determined that:

    1) Neither caliper was siezed
    2) The one rotor that was ‘bad’ could have been turned, but by no means needing replacing
    3) Brake pads a crazy easy to replace (with my uncle’s help, of course :P)
    4) Their labor estimate of 2.5 hours @ $97 was 1.5 hours too long (including test drive)

    My shopping list includes the service manual, ramps, jack and jack stands, oil filter wrench, etc… I’ll be doing my own plugs, wires, throttle body cleaning, oil changes- whatever I can do on a Saturday.

    My wife and I will not be using Firestone except for tires here on out.

  42. mariospants says:

    I don’t get these people who say that a dealership is any better or safer. Firstly, they will give the oil changing job to a junior employee who is – at best – no better than the person at Jiffy Lube et al. so you’re no better off. Secondly, dealerships are CASH STRAPPED these days so good luck getting any “special attention” from them should something go wrong. And lastly, even the dealers make mistakes: take the Audi Quattro Coupe I had in the early 90’s. The local (and really ONLY) Audi/Porsche dealer in my town forgot to put the washer back on the drainplug, and since the metal of that plug and the aluminum oilpan seemed to get along too well a new hole had to be drilled into the pan in order to drain it and a new plug tapped in. Thanks, experts.

    After saying all that, Jiffy Lube DOES owe this guy a new plug.

  43. @The Count of Monte Fisto:

    Ah yes the foil beanies.

  44. seraphicstar says:

    i had the SAME thing happen to me. Yes, i have learned my lesson.

  45. NoLongerInUse says:

    This happened to me at a Jiffy Lube in Tampa. I should have learned my lesson because it happened again in Maryland. In both cases, I wasn’t living somewhere where it was permissible to change my own oil. Now, I’ll take it to a mechanic. I won’t say it’s cheaper, but at least I don’t have to worry about the bolt being over torqued. I did it take it to the car dealer once and I waited for 2 hours, so screw that.

  46. unohoo says:

    @timmus: It’s been a while since I’ve changed my oil (bring it to the dealer now because I hate doing it myself), but when I did, I used to bring the waste oil to Pep Boys. *But* you can probably bring it to any local garage and they should take it, although they might charge you a small recycling fee (that they’d also charge if you brought it to them for an oil change).

  47. ras_d says:

    fucking jiffy lube

    They changed my wife’s oil and cross-threaded the plug so that it leaked out overnight, causing a near engine-seize the following day.
    After calling the corporate office and receiving a refund, we swore off the Lube-dudes forever

  48. Aeroracere says:

    @gorckat: Distributor caps are also notoriously easy to change out.

  49. Corydon says:

    You know, there’s really no excuse for not learning how to replace your own oil and filter. The job is trivially easy, even for the mechanically declined (apologies to Gary Larsen), you save yourself some money, and you know what kind of oil is going into your engine.

    In fact, car ownership ought to come with basic information about vehicle maintenance: how to check your fluids, what they all do, how to change your oil, how to change your air filter, etc. Keeping on top of the basics is the best way of ensuring that your investment in your vehicle will last for many, many years.

  50. lowercase says:

    @mariospants: Agree on the dealerships aren’t infallible thing. The upside though is that they do have more at stake when dealing with a service mistake.

    And I also agree that it’s 90% likely it’s just a boneheaded mistake, not a malicious attack. If the Jiffy Lube manager is smart, he kicks in a $100 autozone gift card to cover a new plug and a couple cases of oil, apologizes for the technical mistake, and everyone can go on about their business. The week out of service really isn’t his fault- charging into a repair/replace job without the replacement in hand is never wise.

  51. elwoodxrl says:

    For those that advise using a “real” mechanic, yes, they are usually better, but not always. We recently had the radiator replaced in our Blazer at a Chevrolet dealer. The next time I drove it I smelled the coolant. I looked under the hood and was surprised to see that there was no radiator cap on the new radiator…just hot coolant spewing from the opening. These things usually do not just come loose. I called the shop and asked about it. They sent a mechanic to my house with a new cap and coolant. The mechanic found the original cap wedged between the radiator and battery. It was never put on correctly and fell down. Their negligence here almost cost me an engine.

    As for disposing of used oil, if you have an oil heater, then you can filter the used stuff and pour it into your tank. The mechanic at the propane company where I used to work did this all of the time with no problems. He heated his garage this way.

  52. I’m always getting asked why I take the time and trouble to change my own oil. Here are my reasons:

    1. JiffyLube once forgot to fill my crankcase after “changing” the oil.
    2. JiffyLube has TWICE failed to properly fasten the underbody fairings to two different cars in our family, causing expensive damage.
    3. It feels good to know you’ve done a job right.
    4. It take few tools, little time, and is cheaper than taking it to goons who will break your car.

    The bolt in question looks rounded off, alright, although there’s no telling whether it happened when Jiffy over-tightened it or the customer hammered a box wrench onto it. In any event, he’s lucky that Jiffy’s over-tightening didn’t strip the threads on the oil pan, causing a catastrophic loss of oil at highway speeds.

  53. synimatik says:

    Jiffy Lube destroyed my clutch a few years ago by pouring oil into the reservoir that had a cap with big letters printed saying ‘DOT3 brake fluid only.’ The oil corrupted all the rings and destroyed the clutch. I went back to them and they, of course, denied responsibility.

    Never, ever, ever use them. They hire high school dropouts that have zero experience in anything but stupidity.

  54. Corydon says:

    @unohoo: In addition to Pep Boys, I know that both Autozone and Advance Auto Parts take used oil for free and dispose of it properly.

    @MikeSims: Holy crap…there are places that won’t let you change your own oil? Gee…I wonder who paid for that little piece of legislation.

  55. VicMatson says:

    Ah..get a pella oil extractor, do it yourself, and be done with it.

  56. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never had a problem with the oil change shops. I’ve gone to the same one for years. They do it faster than I would and I don’t have to deal with the mess, clean-up, and disposal of 5 quarts of used oil.

    I do stand in the garage and watch to make sure they do it right. It is worth the cost for the time and effort it saves me.

  57. @timmus:

    Yeah, places will accept it, but I have no idea what kind of container to put this stuff in.

    Got cats? Use a plastic litter container with a cap or snug-fitting lid. These are becoming more popular. Plastic milk jugs work well too.

    I agree, the worst part about changing your own oil is dealing with the used stuff, but you can even go the extra mile and just buy your own five-gallon paint bucket at Wal-Mart to use for carting the oil off to local recycling centers or auto parts shops that accept used oils.

  58. @VicMatson: Vic doesn’t have a bad idea here; if your local ordinances, your sense of decorum, or other obstacles prevent you from “draining” your own oil, buy an oil extractor, like the one shown here:

    Oil Extractors from Griot’s Garage

    In addition to being cleaner than a ‘lay-on-the-floor’ oil change, these extractors are also the best way to get your oil to the recycler.

    And don’t forget the filter. Even if you use Mobil 1 oil for extended change intervals (10,000 miles) , you should swap your oil filter at least every 3500 to 5000 miles.

  59. WalrusTaco says:

    After I consecutively went to three different mechanics for the same problem (each one blamed the last mechanic for doing shoddy work: “Yerp, that last mechanic RIPPED YOU OFF, now for only $250….” and the last mechanic telling me that my oil filter was too low to the ground (while putting a rag in my tailpipe and watching the smoke come out, telling me I needed a new catalytic converter), I said screw this I’ll teach myself to DIY.

    Not that its easy, especially on the streets of Brooklyn, but I’ve saved myself $1000 over the years, and nothing makes you feel more like a man than fixing your own car.

  60. JayDeEm says:

    I have been using JL for years without a single problem, though when I moved out of state I had to try a couple of different locations before I found a staff that I really liked. They have also replaced my drain plug for free (on both cars) when the seal started to show signs of wear (or perhaps they accidentally destroyed it). Our cars are 11 and 6 years old, and neither has left a drop of oil on the garage floor.

    I used to change my own oil, but gave up when it became more work to dispose of the used oil than it was to change it… The oil disposal tanks always seemed to be full. As for the up-sells, knowing my maintenance schedule and keeping records have been the best defense. I still take the cars to a dealer for any actual repairs that I can’t (or don’t want to) handle myself.

  61. iamtheskeener says:

    i had a horrible experience at jiffy lube years ago where they somehow broke my ignition switch and claimed it was my fault. i will never ever bring them my business again.

  62. timmus says:

    @CaliforniaCajun: Got cats? Use a plastic litter container with a cap or snug-fitting lid.

    Freaking awesome idea. I considered gallon milk jugs but we’re not milk drinkers. But we do got the meowsters, so I think that’s what I’ll be doing. Hopefully the containers aren’t leaky.

    Now all I’ve gotta do is figure out whether to get the cheap $2.50/bottle generic oil or the $4.00/bottle Pennzoil at the auto parts store. I have no idea whether the cheap stuff is bad for my vehicle or not.

  63. mavrick67 says:

    I used to work in an auto parts store across the street from a quick change oil place. The staff there used to come in and buy replacement drain plugs BY THE CASE because they kept rounding them off, stripping threads or just losing them

  64. redorkulated says:

    The picture is compelling, but remember that this is AFTER the offended party essentially ripped the bolt to shreds by pounding a small wrench onto it. So, it’s impossible for us to tell how beat up the plug head was before it was assaulted.

    That said, I’m sure that there was some damage done. I blame the prevalence of air tools in these low-skill shops (lube joints, quick and fast tire places, etc). Airtools are great, but they encourage unskilled mechanics to cut corners and make mistakes. My guess is that a mechanic left the wrong size socket on his tool. With a hand tool, you notice the problem immediately, no harm done. With an air gun, one pull of the trigger later and the part is ruined.

  65. katylostherart says:

    i think it’s incompetence. jiffy lube hires people off the street and “trains” them to change oil and do lube jobs. it’s not like they had to take real automechanics classes or were raised with cars or something.

  66. SpdRacer says:

    @CCS: Did you checked with the city, maybe your landlords just didn’t want you doing that in front of their property.

  67. optm says:

    This happened to me about 9 years ago in Missouri. Wife couldn’t wait to get her oil changed, took it to Jiffy Lube and asked them not to overtighten the plug. Next time I changed the oil I had to put the car on jack stands and use a hammer and breaker bar to get the plug out. That was the last time I’ve ever had someone else change my oil.

  68. gnubian says:

    The last (emphasis on last) time I went to jiffy-lube for an oil change, they came in at the end and told me my wipers needed to be changed because they were damaged .. I got a little confused being as I had just replaced the inserts 2 days before.

    The had bent out the metal strip in one of the inserts (directly in front of the driver no less).

    That was 3 years ago. It’s unfortunate that companies resort to these kind of tricks to make a buck.

  69. jonnyobrien says:

    Dealer maintenance is no insurance against idiot oil changers.

    My work truck was 100% dealer maintained by Drum Hill Ford in Chelmsford MA and went 80,000 miles with no problems until the chimp they have doing the oil changes cracked my oil pan.

    Not only did they not accept responsibility for their mistake, they tried to tell me I must have hit something. Replacing the oil pan on a Ford Ranger takes 8-10 hours and requires removing the transmission and lifting the engine. That was the last time they ever saw my truck.

    Large commercial trucks use a drain plug that never has to be removed. It is simply a valve in place of the plug. Once the mechanic replaced the oil pan, I had the valve installed. Works like a charm according to my fleet mechanic.

    Why do I never have these problems with my BMW? Oh, right, if BMW dealers were doing things like cracking oil pans the customers would kill them.

  70. BrandonW says:

    Like many others here, I doubt it was malicious. More than likely it was pure incompetence. Especially if it does have a non standard head.

  71. SpdRacer says:

    @timmus: I personally prefer Castrol GTX, nice mid-range price, and a high quality product. Remember to buy a case and TWO filters, that way you onl;y make one trip for two changes. (I do not work for Castrol, just really like their products)

  72. FDCPAGuy says:

    First off the damage shown to the drain bolt is due to the person hammering on the size smaller socket to remove it. Juffy Lube used an air tool and torqued it on too tight rounding the corners on the bolt. I wonder if the guy had a 6 point socket. Usually those in combination with a breaker bar will give you enough side wall contact to remove it. If all he had was a 12 point it would most likely spin.

  73. MikeHerbst says:

    I realize I’ll be skating the line of “blaming the victim” here but I have to points:

    1) Remember that we only have pictures of the “after” where he hammered a wrench onto the nut, thus explaining its appearance. I wish we had a picture of the drain plug after the oil change place but PRIOR to the shadetree work done by the OP. My bet is that it was rounded by using channel locks or an adjustable wrench, which is the “field expedient” way most non-ASE mechanics will get a drain plug off if they don’t have the proper socket or wrench size. (See original post about a nonstandard plug size.)

    2) If the drain plug was overtightened (and I’m not saying it wasn’t), then it was probably overtightened by hand. Any pneumatic tool would have enough torque to strip the bolt entirely out of the thin sheet metal of the oil pan. (Actually the “bung” nut welded to the pan would strip out of the pan). So yes, it may have been overtightened, but probably because somebody used a long wrench or channel lock pliers and a lot of elbow grease, instead of a torque wrench.

  74. Youthier says:

    I don’t think it was malicious but it does prove a point about the attitude of employees. Had the Jiffy Lube guys not given Andrew’s wife a “horrible look”, then they probably would have assumed it was just a mistake. But because Mrs. Andrew got attitude, she assumed they were out to get her.

  75. Fallom says:

    The argument hinges on the fact that they overtightened it with a pneumatic tool. Based on my experience with power tools, it only takes a moment’s inattention to accidentally drive something far more than needed.

  76. JulesNoctambule says:

    I think my mechanics are overdue for a nice tray of homemade cookies!

  77. secondgreatdepression says:

    If you live in California, the state runs a very good used oil collection program that provides a convenient place to drop it off.

    Ironically, the nearest to me is our town’s Jiffy Lube, a place I avoid like the plague for the reasons ably described in these comments.

  78. floraposte says:

    @Corydon: There are plenty of fine reasons for not doing one’s own oil changes, ranging from physical infirmity to preferring to use that time for something else. There’s no inherent virtue in the task. I’m far from rich, but I’m poorer in time than I am in money, so it’s worth it to me to buy my way out of tasks that I can inexpensively delegate.

    I’m fortunate in that I have a splendid and reliable local mechanic who’s kept me on the road for fifteen years now, thirteen of ’em in the same vehicle until it got rear-ended. He does the oil changes as part of regular servicing, I walk over and pick the car up when I’m going home from work, I’m supporting a local business that’s very active in the community, and when I have a problem at short notice he’ll fit me in pronto, even though he doesn’t make much money from me (bless Hondas). And then I get to go home and play rather than trying to fit my surgically amended vertebrae under a car and spending time trying to get rid of used motor oil.

    Maybe it would be different if I didn’t have somebody reliable and was making the rounds of the who-cares in-and-out places, but since I’m not, this seems like a worthwhile expenditure to me.

  79. aka Cat says:

    The Jiffy-Lube jerks maliciously over-tightened the plug, leading to it accidentally being stripped. Two explanations in one!

    @zentex: My homeowner’s association specifically prohibits oil changes, as well as any car maintenance that takes longer than 30 minutes. I suspect they don’t want to deal with oil and other stuff being thrown out in the community dumpster.

  80. 00exmachina says:

    I doubt it was deliberate. I did the same thing to my car when changing the oil. Forgot it was metric and the closest standard size sheared off the flats on the head.

    With a hex bolt very little of the flat actually bears the force your putting on it so they’re easy to round off.

    I had to put to old bolt in a vise and file flats back into the head to get it back into the oil pan, so I could drive to a parts store and get a replacement. It wasn’t a fun day but this could really happen to anyone without intent. Bad luck happens, at least they got the bolt back in.

  81. neilb says:

    FYI, I have changed the oil on a number of quickie-lube tightened vehicles. The secret for the filter is to put on a latex glove–like the kind your doctor uses when he…well, nevermind. You can get these (non-sterile, of course) at a hardware store for painting, etc. I know it does not seem like it should work, but it does.
    Since I learned this, I have not used the screwdriver through the filter trick even once.

    When you decide to do the oil on your own, get a new drain bolt and washer–it will give you a better seal than the one destroyed by quickie-lube. I applied liquid gasket for years instead of doing this…it just never occurred to me to buy a new plug and washer.

  82. SigmundTheSeaMonster says:

    You took a new G6 to a Jiffy Lube? WTF!!!
    You know what, I am NOT surprised at the result.

    You have a garage.
    You can get a pair of ramps, a oilpan, and a socket set.
    You should change it yourself.

    Yes, it is messy.

    But you avoid “wrench monkies” damaging this critical part.
    Sorry for the sarcasm but, I doubt stupidity is deliberate.

  83. bagumpity says:

    Don’t be so hard on the Jiffsters. That happened to me once, and all I was doing was loosening the restraining bolt on my R2 astromech droid. Damn thing ran off screaming about some guy named Obi Wan Kenobi, and you would not BELIEVE the crap I had to go through to get it back.

  84. JohnMc says:

    Such destruction would not have to be deliberate. It they are using a pneumatic wrench at too high a pressure then this could be the result. Though if that were the case I am surprised that the thread bore on the pan wasn’t stripped as well in some fashion.

  85. Ragman says:

    I’ve had problems with Honda over-tightening drain plugs and oil filters. My civic’s filter is only accessible from the end, not the sides. I’ve also had to use the bolt removers and a hammer to get a drain plug off of the wife’s car after the dealer had tightened it.

    I doubt the bolt was sabotaged. Likely the mechanic didn’t pay attention to torque settings on the tool.

    Definitely invest in bolt/screw removers if you do any kind of tool work.

    I use an oil change container, but I dump it into an old 5 qt oil jug to take it to Autozone. It’s easier to pour since it’s got a handle, and has a better cap. I have two old jugs, so I can hit both cars before recycling. Autozone, Pep Boys, O’Reilly’s – they all recycle oil, but you have to dump it in their big container. Firestone and Walmart also take oil. O’Reilly’s & Firestone also take oil filters.

    Speaking of not having a place to change your oil, it seems that in front of Autozone is the place to work on your car around here.

  86. krispykrink says:

    @timmus: Go to the auto parts store when you get your supplies and get an oil change drain container. They screw open on the side, you lay it under the drain plug and let the oil go in there. Close it up, take it back to the same auto parts store, and they’ll drain it into their bigger one and give it back to you for future use. All done.

    Changing the oil was something my dad taught me to do when I was 5.

  87. campredeye says:

    “Yes, they filed it by over tightening it with a pneumatic drill.”

    I sure hope to hell they didn’t, I know if I saw someone with a jackhammer under my truck I’d make them stop!


  88. Ragman says:

    @CatMoran: “My homeowner’s association specifically prohibits oil changes, as well as any car maintenance that takes longer than 30 minutes.” Dude, seriously?? Is that for inside the garage? I can see the HOA Nazis freaking over doing it in the street. Well, I guess some of THOSE people would freak over doing it in your garage.

    @neilb: I use latex gloves for my oil changes as well. When I found the joy of removing my Civic’s filter for the first time, at least I can say the glove kept my hand clean while I ripped a dime sized patch of skin off trying to unscrew it. On the bright side, the car now has a K&N filter with a nut on the cap.

  89. Ragman says:

    Shopper’s tip: instead of buying one of the disposable “oil mats”, use the doggie potty pads. Basically same material, same size, better price.

  90. reznicek111 says:

    @zentex: Unfortunately, as a couple of commenters noted, many jurisdictions (and homeowners’ organizations) prohibit repairing your own car on their property. Then again, I’ve known several landlords who have banned on-property DIY car repairs in their lease terms, even when there were no laws in town against doing so.

  91. linoth says:

    It actually works out nicely for me locally. No garage, so in the summer I lay down on a stone drive-way and change the oil myself, but in the winter when it’s freezing cold I have it done by the dealer.

    Scary thought, isn’t it? The JiffyLube next door charges ~$32 last time I went near them and tries to up-sell me crap I don’t need. The dealership charges $25 and I just have to call and make an appointment.

  92. Atsumi says:

    They’re just too lazy to tighten it by hand, I think.

    I lot of places do that with lugnuts, and that’s no fun.

  93. LoganAdams says:

    @pockygt: Very, very right.

    I spent years working in my dad’s garage and we all were carefully taught how to always hand-torque the drain plugs into place so they could come off when they were supposed to but wouldn’t fall out on their own.

    Shameful, Jiffy Lube. Just shameful.

  94. Shrink_Ray_Bandit says:

    @campredeye: I thought the same thing, but certainly he meant “wrench”. Even so, such a blunder doesn’t give much credibility to his story about “what he knows that happened” Especially related to an event he wasn’t a witness, or even a party to.

    And Timmus, sometimes you need a transmission fluid flush/fill. Sometimes the mechanic will ask you if you want it. Sometimes you should say yes to people who try to help you.

  95. tgdvw66 says:

    Speaking as a former technician, I’d say it was done unintentionally through ignorance or apathy. Most likely the wrong wrench or an impact gun with the wrong socket was used to initially round off/overtighten the drain plug. Quick Change/oil change specialty service centers are notorious for this type of service (this includes big-box stores.) That being said, I’d also like to point out that I’ve experienced some owner-maintained cars with similar hardware problems.

    IMHO – The ideal place to have your oil changed is your local privately owned garage or the dealer – that is, if you’re not going to change it yourself. Sure you can save a lot of money by having your oil changed at Jiffy-Express-Quickie-Lube places but in the long run, your car will be better off with factory parts and attentive service. Dealership service also allows you to involve the manufacturer if you aren’t satisfied with the service or should you encounter catastrophic repair problems. (Litigation is never fun, so spend your money at a place where that is the least likely outcome.)

  96. Ninjanice says:

    I think most quick- change oil places are shady. I’ve had issues with plenty of them. Yes, I’m female, but I also have a little knowledge about cars, what mantenance needs to be done, etc. I don’t change it myself because my condo association doesn’t allow us to work on cars on the property. I can get away with doing some things- topping off fluid levels, changing air filters, etc. though. I had been going to the same place for 10 years and moved. That’s when I went to the quick change places. Worst mistake ever. They would try to upsell me on things, tell me I needed things replaced that I didn’t. I finally got fed up and went back to the place I had gone to for years, een though they are 20 miles away and I pass 20 different oil change places on the way. I definitely learned that if you find a good place, stay with them even if it may seem a little inconvenient. The convenience of going to a quick-change place will soon be outweighed by their greed, ignorance or lack of customer service.

  97. duncanatrix says:

    On Saturday my parents took their truck to Jiffy Lube because they needed an oil change before my brother drove the car to Virginia to ship out. On Sunday when he pulled out of the driveway there was a puddle of oil under the car, and my dad (a former mechanic) determined the cause of the problem.

    The oil plug had been stripped, and a small metal thing (looked like a spring; I’ve since learned it’s called a helicoil and is used in place of screw threads) was wrapped around the plug. It had snapped in half. The best explanation that the Jiffy Lube district manager could give was that one of the places we had taken in before–and, because of my dad’s work schedule, 95% of all the oil changes done on this truck, and all of them in the last two years, were done at Jiffy Lube–had used the helicoil as a temporary fix to the stripped plug, because they “don’t use those.”

    Worst case scenario, we’d have to replace the oil pan, which due to the design of the F-150 would require removing the engine and flipping it upside down to access the thing ($700-1000). We ended up going to get a new helicoil put on ($180). I don’t know exactly what the appropriate course of action is, but I feel like Jiffy Lube probably broke the helicoil with their pneumatic tools and at least owes us the cost of returning it to the state we brought it to them in and the oil that dumped out as a result. That’s only about $200.

    We’ll never be going back to them, anyway.

  98. InsomniacZombie says:

    Anyone that has any legitimate experience working on cars should know that oil plugs should be HAND TIGHTENED. The fact that they’re using a pneumatic tool on that car should be a sign. Then again, maybe they decided to use an impact wrench to save even more time. There’s a Jiffy Lube in town, and for the most part it’s always empty, which is fine by me. I’d rather see the local mechanics get business because they don’t f**k around.

  99. carbonmade says:

    Once, back in the dumb-ol-days, I took my car to Jiffy Lube. Turned out, they emptied the oil, took out the dipstick, slammed the hood on it and called it good. I checked when I got home and noticed: no oil, bent dipstick. I started changing my own oil after that.

  100. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    How to turn a stripped nut:

    1. Clean area with a degreaser to avoid fire
    2. Use Dremmel with cutoff wheel to cut a notch almost the depth of the head
    3. Use slotted screwdriver and a wrench on the handle if necessary to muscle it.

    No ruined wrenches required.

  101. marydc says:

    DO NOT EVER have Jiffy Lube change your oil unless you:
    a) know for certain that your car’s oil-change is so easy a chimpanzee could do it. This means no cars that take fancy oil (turbos, etc) or uncommon oil filters. If you do go to Jiffy Lube or a similar place, know what type of oil and oil filter your car takes and have the tech show you what they’re going to put in it before doing anything to the car. Before you leave the parking lot, check your dipstick and the plug.
    b) know and trust the moral and intellectual well-being of the techs who work at that store. All of them.
    or c) have such a worthless car that you don’t care if they render it undriveable. Or if you have so much extra cash that a full engine replacement coming out of your pocket wouldn’t bother you.

    Also, don’t let them do any additional services on your car. Some of the extras they try to up-sell are easy DIY projects (e.g. wiper blade and air filter replacement), and the rest just shouldn’t be done by a 17-year-old who took auto shop once.

    My ex-boyfriend worked at Jiffy Lube. They messed up cars all the time and lied about it or refused to accept blame; the management at his store was corrupt (trading free services for drugs so you can get high on your shift, nice!); they violated labor laws left and right. He eventually took the fall for someone else’s mistake so they would lay him off. He couldn’t in good conscience continue working there knowing what was going on, and he did contact corporate after being terminated and report the store, resulting in several people being fired.

  102. Sian says:

    1: Replace plug with Fumoto oil drain valve

    2: change oil on your own without a single tool!

    3: …

    4: PROFIT!

  103. enine says:

    I dought it was on purpose because you were going to do your own change. These places typically use air tools for speed and tend to ruin most drain plugs.

    Also don’t be fooled into thinking that a dealer will do a better job, the dealer isn’t going to have ther $20 ASE certified tech change oil. They are going to hire someone who has “worked for jiffy lube changing oil” on their resume at $10 per hour to do that kind of work.

    When I got married I had to take a file to the plug on my wife’s car to make a flat spot on the plug then clamp a large vise grip on and hammer it loose then go buy a new plug.

    Same thing happens at tire rotations, over tighten the lug nuts and strip them, same with vehicle that have grease fittings on steering or suspension components, they get too much grease or not enough and wear out. So many people have replaced tie rod ends and ball joints because of this. Minivan we bought has a tie rod end go bad and when I broke it apart after replaceing it it was dry and rusted inside, must have not had any grease in years despite the dealer service records.

  104. theRIAA says:

    vice grips?

  105. Sian says:

    On another note, I Swore off the quick-change lube places when they gave me the 1-2 of:

    1: breaking my BroncoII’s air box by attempting to change the air filter without undoing all the bolts for said air box. Of course they never told me they broke something.

    2: Sending me off with an un-secured drain plug. 5 miles later I’m stranded on the side of the road with the oil pressure light, and the engine needed a rebuild.

    Now I do all my oil changes myself, except for the major service intervals which I take to Santa Cruz, as the local stealerships are ass.

  106. enine says:


    brand name for big locking pliers


  107. Froggmann says:


    No, those oil collection bins always leak. One destroyed the carpet in my bronco a few years ago.

  108. nursetim says:

    We bought a used Cobalt last year, and earlier this year I wanted to change the oil. It was the first time I was going to do it myself, since my wife took it to an oil change place the first time the oil need to be changed since we bought it. I found out that the drain plug was rounded off, and I had to take it to a quick change place after calling them to make sure they could get it off and that they had a replacement. So I would believe it was incompetence that caused the problem. I got tired of the constant up selling when I used to take the cars in to Valvoline Instant Oil Change.
    @timmus: I keep the jugs of windshield wiper fluid and put my used oil in those. I used to use milk jugs, but one day had a mess to clean up when the oil ate through one.

  109. stinerman says:


    As others have mentioned, there isn’t always an area where you can do your own oil change. It is illegal in my city to do any non-emergency car repair at the side of the road. I don’t have a driveway either (and the landlord wouldn’t want me parking in the “yard”).

  110. colinjay says:


    Fumoto’s are awesome and I’d consider one for my car if it wasn’t so low to the ground (<3″). Most folks with larger cars with more a bit more clearance would be wise to look into such a system. I also believe that FRAM makes a similar device, but I can’t vouch for the quality compared to the Fumoto which is excellent.

    As for changing the oil yourself, it is also easy for many cars to replace transmission and rear differential fluids as well. Change intervals vary depending on the make and model, but Quikie Lube type places charge 2-3X oil change prices for something that is usually easier and quicker than an oil change.

    Even if you over tighten you drain plug, helicoils are cheap and easy.

    I personally use AMSOIL synthetics in my car, but would recommend Castrol GTX for a conventional oil based on availability, performance and price.

    Oh, and change your own in-cabin air filter as well as intake air filter. Most places charge twice the price for what those things actually cost and both are <10 minute jobs on most cars.

  111. AlphaUltima says:

    make sure you hang photos of that around their neighborhood.

  112. TechnoDestructo says:

    Worst I ever had happen was someone at Oil Can Henry wrote “big dog was here” on my oil pan in wax.

  113. admiral_stabbin says:

    I told a friend of mine never to take her car to Jiffy Lube. So, she did. Even with an air ratchet I couldn’t get her drain plug off when I went to change her oil the next time it was due. So, I hopped in her car with her and off to Jiffy Lube we went. They were more than happy to do the following:

    – Apologize for overtightening the drain pan plug (which took them an air impact wrench to loosen themselves)

    – Replaced the drain pan plug (since they mauled it getting it off with air tools)

    – Hand-tightened the new plug so that it wasn’t a hassle for me when I got it back to my house

    I don’t have a wide variety of experience with Jiffy Lube, but, I can tell you the one I’ve visited does indeed use air tools. They also overtighten the hell out of the oil plug.

    It might be incompetence or it might be that the literal grease monkey doesn’t want to deal with a shit heel customer coming back to complain about an oil leak “cuz you didn’t do yer jeeeob right!”. Either way, there’s no substitute for the joy of doing it yourself. Sure, it’s a messy job…(you should see my driveway), but, that oil will wash away after a couple good rain storms…right? ;-)

    Oh, and if you are inclined to do this yourself…here’s a tip on a tool that I’ve enjoyed owning:

    [] (see the 7201 model)

  114. dveight says:

    Calling BS on Jiffy Lube purposefully stripping the bolt. Them being incompetent and idiotic, yes.

    If they had stripped the bolt on purpose, it would have been a pain in that ass for them to remove it the next time. As people that are probably making just over minimum wage, I doubt they care if you come back or not, and I highly doubt they would want to deal with a strip bolt.

    But if the OP believes that they did it on purpose, shoot me a message, cause I have a bridge to sell you.

  115. XTC46 says:

    Never assume malice for things that can be explained with stupidity.

  116. Brunette Bookworm says:

    @mariospants: No, it doesn’t mean they will do it correctly but I think the thought may be that it could be easier to get them to take care of mistakes or be guaranteed that they have the parts and tools to work on your particular car. In this case, if the G6 has an oddly sized plug, taking it to a Pontiac dealer give you more of a chance they have the correct tool to remove it and if something happens, that they have the replacement part available.

    I know that I just bought my first brand new car and will be taking it only to the dealer to get this stuff done so that 1) only one place works on it and 2) dealers generally log all maintenace and repairs on the car in their system so they can easily access it.

  117. audiochick says:

    I swore of Jiffy Lube a few years ago, too.

    I went in for an oil change, and though I knew I had a tail light out, I forgot to mention it when I gave them the keys. I figured it wasn’t a problem, as they do those routine inspections for stuff like that. After they were finished and they were ringing me up, they rattled of all of the things they had checked, and they told me that they had checked all of the lights and none were out. When I told them that I knew that I had a tail light out, they blinked at me for a couple of seconds and then told me they’d “check the car again.” Of course the light was out, like I said. I never went back. Reading the above comments, I’m glad that missing a burnt out tail light was the worst thing that they did to my car.

  118. AD8BC says:

    @timmus: I bought a great reuseable container for taking my used oil to AutoZone. It’s made of black plastic (the same kind used for plastic gas jugs), has a wide mouth, and holds 12 quarts, enough for two oil changes on my wife’s car (4.5 quarts each) or one for her car and one for my truck (6 quarts).

    I use one of the oil catcher trays to catch the oil, I used to use it to take the oul away but I found that after a while the plastic caps don’t stay on tight enough to not drip.

  119. Gopher bond says:

    Did You Know You Can Use Old Motor Oil to Fertilize Your Lawn?

  120. forgottenpassword says:

    to me it sounds like they overtightened it on purpose because the customer (the guy’s wife) ask them not to overtighten the plug.

    I doubt they did it to get the customer to come back.

  121. bcsus83 says:

    ugh…I totally wouldn’t put it past Jiffy Lube.

    I hate Jiffy Lube. About 18 months ago now, I took our car in for an oil change. They tried to tell me I needed a new radiator cap. I didn’t, as I had just replaced it the week before. I drove an hour home from the Jiffy Lube I had our oil changed at, and my car overheated and there was antifreeze EVERYWHERE. I looked at the radiator cap. A chunk of the gasket had been CUT!!!!!

    Absolutely, positively, never again will I ever give Jiffy Lube my business.

  122. mr mike says:

    I doubt that was just the work of a pneumatic tool. It must have also had the wrong size socket for it to do damage. I use mine with way higher than recommended PSI and have never seen anything like that happen.

    Also how can we distinguish damage done by them and damage done by you removing it? No before pic on the car?

  123. Mustang Paul says:

    You never, ever put in an oil plug with an impact wrench. That’s a tip off to mechanic incompetence. Ask them what torque they’ll tighten the nut to–if they don’t know, or act confused, leave immediately and don’t come back.

    The dealership did it to my Toyota. I raised hell and, what do you know, the district manager happened to be there. They stripped out the threads of the oilpan. They had to replace the pan and give me a rental while it was being fixed. Having said this, all of this happened in the midwest where A) it was snowing and B) I had no place to do it myself.

    No one touches my cars but me and mechanics I trust.

  124. mythago says:

    @zentex: “Excuse”? Good grief. Do you also grow the fiber for your own clothes? No? What’s you’re excuse? Some of us would rather not have to deal with disposing of the used oil, let alone the process of actually changing it.

    I know how to do lots of things that I pay professionals to do faster and more efficiently than I would. Don’t you?

  125. zolielo says:

    Like others wrote – there are superior methods of removing the plug. Half the battle…

  126. Seanross says:

    I’m glad I know how to do all my own work on my car, but not so much when all my friends ask me to do maintenance on theirs…

  127. Tansis says:

    I will never use Jiffy Lube. I went there to get my oil changed because I didnt want to wait too long. I mentioned to the attendant that I just changed my air filter and I just wanted the oil changed. They have a habit of showing you the condition of your air filter everytime you get your oil changed. While waiting for the service to be done the technician came and got me. He showed me my air filter and said it was ok. I told him that I mentioned it already to the attendant. He then continued to mentioned other services they could offer me. I denied the services and went back to the waiting room. The next oil change at Jiffy lube the technician told me that I did not have a air filter installed. My brand new air filter was never reinstalled back into my car and I drove 3000 miles that way. That was the last time I went there.

  128. econobiker says:

    They probably wasted the oil plug with the air wrench not an “air drill”. This won’t tear out the plug from the oil pan as someone suggested. There are also fixes for stripped oil plugs which don’t involve rethreading the oil pan or replacing it. These are like a heavy duty rubber nipple like object that you get a plastic screw driver like handle to shove into the damaged oil pan bolt hole and the nipple expands to close the hole. This requires same plastic screw driver to remove in that the handle stretches the nipple out and allows you to removed it —while the oil drumps down your hand. Not the best solution but it is cheaper than a pan. My family had an old Ford rustmobile E300 van that was set up like this- same van had a plywood battery tray with the battery wedged in with a brick. You get the picture that you wouldn’t be doing this oil plug fix with your 2007 Honda…

    As for changing oil in the street, it is illegal in some areas due to the safety issues. Plus idiot wildcat mechanics working in city streets (like north Philadelphia) where, over the span of 5 days, I saw a couple of guys remove and replace an engine by turning both the donar car and receiving car on their right sides. I do not see how it could be illegal in/on private property as there are even mobile oil change places. Best guerilla oil change places I have found are low use or out of the way self service car washes especially at nighttime. This is as long as the local law was cool with it- and it helped to have change ready to wash the car after the change. You have to be time efficient about changing the oil (having a jack and jackstands ready) plus you can not drain it into the car wash sump- you must be able to recycle bottle it. The best place I ever had was a car wash that the bays were perpendicular to the street plus there was an auto parts store next door that had their oil recycling tank unlocked behind their shop. I didn’t even have to tote the used oil but across the lot.

    As for disposal I have used the 5 quart oil bottles, gallon milk jugs, etc but got a yellow three gallon oil jug from some restaurants trash years ago which works great for two car plus one motorcycle oil change before taking to recycling. I also pop a hole in the top of the oil filters and let them drain. You can take the filters to some quick lube places to have them recycle them.

  129. MngoJuce says:

    You need to be very diligent when returning from Jiffy Lube, check under your car, listen for funny noises, etc. Kinda defeats the purpose of going to them. Twice they have messed up two of my cars (different locations). Once they didn’t put the oil plug on tight enough, so when I got home the oil was pouring out. In the other case they put on the wrong oil plug and stripped the threads of the oil pan, in that case I had to replace the entire oil pan.

  130. Snowlovers says:

    Hanlon’s razor:
    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

  131. FrankReality says:

    Some good recommendations have been made here – let me add some:

    1) When removing the oil plug use the right kind of wrench – if it’s a hex head, use a 6 – point socket of the correct size and type. Don’t use an open end wrench, or an adjustable wrench, or a 12-point socket or a SAE socket on a metric plug (or vice versa). Use the 6-point to keep that plug’s edges in good shape. Another tip is to use a short socket wrench handle, say a 6 inch handle vs. a 12 inch or an 18 inch – it’s harder to overtighten the drain plug with the shorter handle due to the less leverage you have.

    2) The wide mouth 5-quart oil jugs are great for recycling, but I have several 5 gallon pails with lids/spouts that enable me to recycle used oil every other year.

    3) One of the advantages of doing it yourself, is that you can also inspect the cv joint boots for rips or leakage, which if found fairly soon after a rip, can save you an expensive replacement of the joint.

    4) When you take off the oil filter, make sure the gasket comes off with it. If it doesn’t, you won’t get a good seal and will get leaks if your put the new filter on with the old gasket remaining.

    5) Follow the proper tightening procedure for the oil filter when putting it on – tighter is not better. Tightening too tightly can make it extremely messy and difficult to remove – e.g you crush the filter with the wrench and have to resort to poking a large screwdriver through the filter to spin it off.

    6) If you already have a damaged drain plug, go buy a new one before the old one gets to be too damaged to remove easily and replace it proactively at the next oil change.

  132. dazzlezak says:

    @Derv: Whatever! I took my Mazda Protoge for it’s first change at the dealer.

    (Kings Mazda Kia, Mason/Cincinnati,Ohio, love my Mazda, hated the dealer)

    Their expertly trained and certified mechanics put 5 quarts of oil in my 3.5 quart capacity engine. When informed neither the Service manager or GM cared.

    (Use Bill’s Auto & Towing Inc 6810 Cornell Rd 513-489-1971 fair and honest)

  133. Justifan says:

    i do it myself now.
    but yea before when i only did it occasionally i found that some shops do some ridiculous tightening on the bolt. i had to break out the hammer:(

  134. matthines says:

    Never use quick change places. Do it your self or find a GOOD mechanic you can trust. I took my 1999 Jeep Cherokee to Jiffy Lube once, and suprisingly they told me to go somewhere else. They said their prices are based on 5 qts, and my Jeep would take an extra qt (6 total, which is true) and that would bump the price to $35-40. Ridiculous to say the least. Since then I have been using Mobile 1 Full Synthetic Extended Performance (about $50 per change), but i go 15,000 miles before the next change saving me plenty of dough.

  135. djlotus says:

    The last time I ever went to Jiffy-Lube was also the first time I went to one. I got my first car, a 91 Integra, and figured it could use a quick lube job. I mean, you never know what the previous owner did, and it was for peace of mind. Fast forward to a couple months later when I had the proper tools and I find that my drain bolt is both rounded and overtightened. Had to buy a new bolt and a set of vice grips to get the damn thing off. I swore to never go back to Jiffy-Lube and advised all of my friends against going there.

    In regards to the HOA comments, where I currently live, I believe that I’m technically not supposed to do any type of work to my vehicle in front of the house. That did not stop me from replacing my brakes, changing the oil or cleaning/recharging the air filter (cold-air-intake in an RSX sits inside the front bumper and you pretty much have to take the front bumper off). I have yet to get a notice or anything from the HOA, then again, I have nice neighbors who don’t seem to mind. I also try not to make a big mess and clean up whatever mess I make. I did have a neighbor complain about my ’69 510 being too loud one day. She asked if I had to leave it running for a few minutes before I would leave in it… well, yeah. Carbed cars need to warmup.

  136. planetdaddy says:

    Oil Changes
    Break Pads

    All very easy to do. If you have never done any of them before you have to go slow and take your time. Know your limits.

  137. jinnrice says:


  138. comicgeek77 says:

    on a slightly related note i change my own oil but when my ancient toyota is due for a change in the cold winter months i take it to a quick change place instead of freezing. air filters on my car take about two minutes to swap out so i always do it myself. more than once at more then one jiffy lube location i have had the kids working there bring out a seriously messed up air filter, often not even the same size as my car takes and try to sucker me into taking them up on an offer to pay forty bux for them to pretend to replace a perfectly good air filter i just dropped in myself. every time i have ever been to a jiffy lube they have tried to get a hundred bux out of me for a transmission fluid replacement (which every person i have ever spoken to who seems to know about cars says should only be done by a transmission specialist only after a trusted mechanic tells you its needed). jiffy lube also tries to get me to cough up forty bucks at every visit to pay for fuel line and injector treatment which is them pouring a three dollar bottle of gas treatment/cleaner you can buy anywhere for three bux in your tank for you. they also try to sell you a five dollar pair of wiper replacements for twenty bux along with such other great deals as a radiator top off for twenty bux (wow water at ten times the bottled water rip off price!!). thats why i am going to assume the OP isnt so far off the truth and also suggest anybody in baltimore who needs a simple task done to their car hit up a local ntb or munroe muffler instead of jiffy lube.

  139. blackmage439 says:

    The last time I went to Jiffy Lube, I had this high-school looking moron tell me that “my coolant was extremely HOT!!!” My ’94 car was idling for about 20 minutes outside your shop on a summer day, dumbass.

    I haven’t been back there since. My next oil change was at a CarX. Friendly, professional service. They will be getting my business again very soon.

  140. georgedepayne says:

    i had a cherry full size bronco that jiffy lube totally trashed the $2,000 paint job on the hood by using a screw driver to try and pry open the hood. i got out of the truck in my skirt and heels as i was just getting off work from the airport, and had to show the boy how to use the perfectly useful hood lever(that should have been my first clue). then they proceeded to strip the oil pan plug and made quite a mess which had to be repaired at a reputable shop (that cost a pretty penny to repair as well). i wrote several letters to the main offices of jiffy lube which in turn they sent me coupons for a free oil change. pfft! i filed those away in the garbage!

  141. jdwhite9 says:

    Jiffy Lube in Metairie LA also stripped the oil plug on my 2009 Pontiac G6 during my prior oil change. When the manager was told of the circumstances, he basically said “prove it” and ignored me. This company does nothing to train its staff, letting them ignore a different size plug on a standard US mfg engine and a customer’s complaint about same. They are dangerous to your vehicles health; and, should be avoided like the plague!