Oil Overfill Question

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by McShadowManager, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. McShadowManager

    McShadowManager lovin' it

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    Okay, today I took my car in for its first 5k service and oil change at the dealership. First, the service advisor told me that I had to do the basic 5k plan for $65, and that if I wanted to do just the oil/change and rotation, it would cost the same. Since I didn't have time to shop around, I figured "whatever" and that I'll just take the time to shop around next time. I fill out the forms with the service advisor and give him the keys, and he takes me on a walk around the vehicle where he writes down all the info. When he's done he takes me to the service area where I wait for an hour. After the service is done, he comes and gets me, tells me everything is set, and shows me to the cashier.

    Now, in the past when I have had service done on my other cars, the mechanic or advisor has at least shown me where they put the car and some have gone as far as opening the hood and verifying for me that the oil was at the right level. Not this guy.

    So, I tell him straight out I want to see the car and check the oil before I give them a cent. A little baffled that I wasn't going with the flow, he takes me out to the car and just stands there looking at it. So, I ask him to pop the hood and check the oil. He does so, and as he pulls the dipstick out he looks at the marks, and quickly uses his thumb to wipe away the excess. Seeing this, I ask him if it was overfilled, and he says no, he just pulled it out wrong. I ask him to let me do it myself, and when I do so it is about a half inch over the max dimple. So, I ask the advisor what he thinks of it being overfilled, and he said it was no issue, and that it was normal. At this point the guy should have realized I was not some dumb customer who actually had any trust in him, but he didn't. So, I tell him I want him to take it back, and get the oil exactly on the line. He slams the hood, jumps in, and drives it back in, leaving me out in the lot.

    Now, having enough of this advisor I go back to the garage and find where he parked my car, and wait for the mechanic to come. When he gets there I introduce myself, and watched him drain and refill the oil. After he was done he showed me the dipstick, and it was right on the mark. I asked him if having the oil overfilled was alright, and he tells me no, that on the Prius they want the oil filled right on the mark. So I tell him about the issues I was having and he said the device they use to fill the oil has been giving him issues. He then recommended I talk to the service manager.

    So, I go back in to talk the advisor. He asks me if I'm all set and I say "no, I want to talk to the manager." He puts on this puppy dog face and asks, why, what issues am I having. I tell him I was unsatisfied with the service, and wanted to talk to the manager about that. He says "sure, okay, let me see if I can find him." He calls the guy on his phone, and tells me it will be a while for him to come. Getting fed up with him I say, fine, can I talk to whoever is above the service manager. He tells me there is no one above the service manager, but quickly calls the guy back and gets him to come right away.

    The service manager comes by and asks what was wrong, so I go over everything with him. He tells me that overfilling really was not a big issue, and what I wanted from him. While this is going on another service advisor is trying to put his two cents in that the Prius is not like the other cars and has different needs, and is trying to figure out how much it was over, but the manager and my advisor keep shutting him out. In the end I tell them that I was still unsatisfied and that I won't come back. The manager tells me that he is sorry, that he really doesn't know why I am so mad, but that he will give me a discount to keep my service. I ended up paying $30, but if I ever go back to them I will request to be in the shop when they work on my car and not give them any second chances. The mechanic was real professional and courteous when I was in the garage with him, but the service advisor seemed like he was after my money more than my service, and the manager wanted to do whatever would shut me up.

    So, two questions: What could have happened if I did not check the oil and have them lower it? My biggest argument with them is that users have reported significant drops in MPG from overfilled oil, and I wasn't going to chance having to pay more for gas down the road because they messed up.

    Second question: the dipstick was originally a half inch over. About how much oil in quarts does that come to being over? The service advisor and manager kept saying it wasn't a significant amount so there was no issue, but when it comes to business I trust no one.
     
  2. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Significant engine oil overfilling could lead to an mpg decrease and engine start problems.

    My guess is that 5 quarts of oil were added to your car.

    FYI, $30 is about right for an engine oil and oil filter change at a Toyota dealer. $65 is a rip-off price.
     
  3. paprius4030

    paprius4030 My first Prius

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    I would not use that dealer again. They are a toyota dealer, the Prius is a toyota product, so all the service staff including the service advisor should know about the Prius idyosciouses ( damn I wish i could spell LOL). The first oil change for my Prius I was introduced to the Prius tech and HE told me I was smart to come to them for oil changes ect. and went on to explain about not overfilling the oil ect.
     
  4. Celtic Blue

    Celtic Blue New Member

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    Half an inch works out to about 0.5 quarts over. Standard Toyota fill is 3.9 quarts, and this results in about 0.2-0.25 quart overfill, roughly 1/4 inch. Toyota delivers them from the factory overfilled. Some techs round 3.9 to 4 making the problem slightly worse. If Toyota was paying attention to this, they would simply give the techs a target instead of a capacity. The target should be less than capacity. Also, Toyota really should update their capacity figure as it doesn't match the dipstick. Perhaps the dipsticks they are shipping in all of the cars are wrong, but more likely the capacity calculation is a bit off.

    The span from full to low on the dipstick is 1.6 quarts (per Toyota) over a little less than 1-3/4 inches. Granted this is not completely linear but over short ranges it will provide a decent approximation.

    There is undoubtedly some safety margin above and below the fill lines on the dipstick...how much is anyone's guess. There was another poster recently who had a large overfill (how much is unknown). In that case oil was actually being blown over into the throttle chamber and producing an error code for one of the cylinders.
     
  5. McShadowManager

    McShadowManager lovin' it

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    I liked the suggestion I read in another thread of telling the service advisor to only put 3.5 quarts in. Next time I'll have to try that and see if they can get it filled closer to he max amount. I guess I'll try another dealership next time. Out of their "Scheduled Maintenance Guide" they charge $85 for a 5k service, $250 for a 15k service, and $400 for a 30k service. The service manager says they won't do only what is in the passport because the manufacturer doesn't recommend to change anything in regular intervals, only inspect them. They think their generic dealer recommendations are superior to Toyota's Prius specific recommendations. I think they are missing the big picture about the Prius's reliability and decreased maintenance needs. Oh well, they just lost themselves a customer. Anyone have any suggestions for a reliable and honest Toyota Service Center in the South Suburbs of Chicago that is Prius savvy?
     
  6. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Idiosyncrasy, from Greek ιδιοσυγκρασία, idiosunkrasia, "a peculiar temperament", "habit of body" (idios "one's own" and syn-krasis "mixture"). It is defined as an individualizing quality or characteristic of a person or group, and is often used to express eccentricity or peculiarity. (idiosyncrasies)

    Thanks to reference.com

    Yes the prius can be a bit idiosyncratic. It prefers engine oil not overfilled, tires not underfilled, and fuel tank not empty. In most other respects it is quite easy to get along with.
     
  7. rwa46

    rwa46 Pilot

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    write toyota with your story. they need to know the BS being put out buy the staff at that dealer; plus send copy to president of company that owns dealership. we only get better service by informing everyone what is going on!
     
  8. mrblaise

    mrblaise Go Lakers!!

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    Very true! I noticed that after my first two oil changes at a dealer that they routinely overfilled the oil. I also noticed a rapid decrease in mpg. After those experiences, I told the dealer specifically "not" to overfill the oil, and the reasons why. They complied, and my mpg increased by at least 4-5 mpg. :D

     
  9. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Ok, at that point I would have had to restrain myself from smacking him upside the head.

    And I would never let him work on my car again.
     
  10. McShadowManager

    McShadowManager lovin' it

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    I was in a workshop today (FISH! if anyone is familiar) and got into a conversation with a lady who worked at a luxury car dealership. She started talking about how horrid it is to work there, and how salesmen and service advisors are being pressured to lie to and cheat customers because of reduced sales. I guess at some places a reduction in profit from sales means the service department has to pick up the slack, and poor and unreliable service is the outcome.
     
  11. dwreed3rd

    dwreed3rd New Member

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    Unfortunately its not just car dealerships! :fear:
     
  12. richard schumacher

    richard schumacher shortbus driver

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    Assuming that the dipstick is correct, why th' heck has Toyota not corrected the shop manual after five years? 3.9 quarts (which is stated in the owner's manual as the *dry capacity* of the system including filter) is simply too much to add at an oil+filter change, because it does not allow for the residual oil remaining inside the engine.

    The certain way of avoiding an overfill is to buy 3 (three) quarts of oil yourself, hand them to the service writer/oil change tech and tell them to use that and no more. Three quarts is plenty at an oil+filter change; it leaves the level about halfway between the ADD and FULL marks on the dipstick.

    And always check the level yourself before driving away from any oil change, no matter who does it. This can find many gross mistakes before they become annoying and/or expensive.
     
    Ceres likes this.
  13. tom1l21

    tom1l21 Member

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    I just checked my oil today and noticed it is about a half inch over the full dimple. I would like to get it to the normal level (i read it should be about 1/4 inches below the full dimple. Does anyone know of an easy way to take out some of the oil? Thanks!
     
  14. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Most marine stores sell hand operated vacuum pumps designed to drain oil through the dipstick. They work as well or better than using the drain plug. Around $30.

    Or find a good shop that works on German cars,,, most German cars are spec'ed to drain from the dipstick, and a good shop will have a pump and might do it for you. You could always, loosen the plug and let a few CC's drip out into a pan, then retighten the plug. Watch for leaks after since you won't be using a new crush washer.

    Icarus
     
  15. tom1l21

    tom1l21 Member

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    Thanks for the response. Are there any significant losses for having my oil level a half inch over full?
     
  16. snead_c

    snead_c Jam Ma's Car

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    Changing the oil/filter in a Prius is very easy and can almost be done without ramps (straddle a ditch and crawl under with your oil pan, appropriate socket to fit drain, small oil wrench, and filter...
    install a Fumoto valve...

    fumoto oil drian valves

    ...and in the future you can regulate and change oil from the bottom with ease and without a socket wrench. You can also get every last drop of that dirty stuff out!

    PS, document oil and filter purchases and install dates for warantee issues.
     
  17. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    Vacuum pump,, from a marine dealer ~$30 works slicker than snot,,, gets every last drop out,, you don't have to mess with the drain plug or install fumoto valve,,, which could accidently open.

    Pump it out, spin off the filter,, you don't even have to get one hand dirty.

    Icarus
     
  18. snead_c

    snead_c Jam Ma's Car

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    Whatever suits you...I'm no salesman or stockholder but Fumotos don't leak and "according to their site" and my experience with using them they won't leak. :rolleyes:
     
  19. icarus

    icarus Senior Member

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    My point was that with a vacuum pump,, you don't even have to crawl under the car. (except for the filter).

    T
     
  20. snead_c

    snead_c Jam Ma's Car

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    No problem. Thanks for responding.
    Charlie :)
     
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