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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Now, over a week or two period in mid February I purchased wipers and silicone spray and on February 19th I lubed all hinges and latches with SuperLube, wiped down all rubber stops and weather stripping with the silicone, checked all fluids and added the rest of my windshield wiper fluid. The oil level was halfway between the hash marks, I collected some of the oil on my finger tip and spread it around – looked ok but getting a little dark. I did not smell any fuel nor did the oil seem to be thin, but then I wasn’t looking for fuel in the oil either. I also check the oil life immediately after and noted it was at 18% and planned on doing an oil change soon once I decided whether to use Amsoil or Mobil 1 Extended Life.

Within two days, again beginning very subtly so that you question yourself, the engine starts to mis-fire and run rough at idle - continuing to worsen until the following weekend when my wife and I definitely know there is a problem again and decide to take the vehicle back in for servicing on Weds Feb 29th – her next day off. She drove the car for work on Monday but we now notice a slight knocking sound only during the beginning of acceleration – it was not there at idle and disappeared at maybe 15-20 mph. The car was not driven on Tuesday except for a couple of short errands by me when I notice the engine light came on during the return home.

On Weds, Feb 29th the car was taken in for service and mid afternoon I receive a call that the vehicle was ready. The Service Profession reviewed the service with me as follows.

“We discovered fuel in the oil that was causing the rough idling and replaced your high pressure fuel pump, changed the oil and filter. The knocking sound you heard was due to your oil being 2.5 to 3 quarts low because it’s been 8200 miles since your last oil change.”

Needless to say I was flabbergasted, I tried to explain the oil life monitor was at 18% so 8200 miles shouldn’t be a problem and I checked the oil a week ago and it was at a no add level. I was basically cut off and told its expected to lose 2 quarts of oil in 8200 and that’s why I should change it more often and don’t rely on the oil life monitor.

I never experienced high oil consumption on this car prior to this incident.

Now I’m on the verge of being angry and while traveling to the dealer I’m thinking of the potential problems – 1. Did the fuel in the oil thin the lubricating properties to the point that it may have damaged and shortened the service life of the engine components?, and 2. If in fact the oil was 2.5 quarts low did that damage and shorten service life due to lack of lubrication – and where in the world did 2 quarts go over a 10 day time period?

At the cashiers counter I’m looking over the paperwork I’m requested to sign and I read the following. J#1 – it goes on to say fuel in oil and what was done to fix that. J#2 – knocking noise in engine area at slow speeds. Related to Job 1? Engine oil way low. No noise at normal oil levels.

Now I’m angry, from the attitude of the Service Professional and the documentation I believe the implication is I let the oil level fall to a dangerously low level. I tell the cashier that I refuse to sign off on this and she goes to get the Service Professional. I then go one round with the Service Professional and while she turns to go get the Service Director she mumbles something and I could only hear “3 quarts” as she’s walking away. I bark back “there’s only 5 quarts in the whole system”.

Now I go around and around with the Service Director. His comments are: Do you think the service technician is lying about the level? Do you want me to lie on the service record? The oil life indicator doesn’t monitor oil level. For a car with 60K miles it would be expected to lose 2 quarts over 8200 miles. We’re not trying to say you’re not taking care of the car or were negligent.

He came across as being unwilling to change the wording of the service record.

At this point, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, exhale slowly then look right into his eyes and very calmly tell him:
“I’m aware that GM is having numerous problems with this engine and it is no secret. I’ve been buying and leasing GM products for over 25 years and have never had any serious problems until now, with a vehicle we purchased and planned to drive for a very long time. I am now regretting that decision because I am greatly concerned about the longevity of this motor. I’ve told you several times I checked the oil a week ago and I do not rely on the oil life indicator which was at 18%. I absolutely refuse to sign the paperwork as it is written and if you can’t change it then we need to talk to somebody who can. Otherwise I will call my wife, have her pick me up and I’ll leave the car here until you can determine where 2 quarts of oil went.”

We settled on rewording the service record to my satisfaction. He removed the “oil way low” comment and added – “oil was 2 quarts low, may have an internal problem, customer states oil level was check a week ago and at normal levels. Should keep an eye on oil consumption in the future.”

Even while we were in his office I don’t think he understood the position I was taking because he made the comment that it is important to record the low oil so they could refer to that is the future. I never asked him to lie or misrepresent anything – they just didn’t seem to grasp the situation of the oil loss I was claiming. I was just another headache for them.

This conflict was solely due to the fact that neither the Service Professional nor the Service Director believed I checked the oil level and it was normal 10 days prior. I have receipts for the wipers and silicone purchased shortly before and receipts for the oil and filter purchase shortly after the date I claim I checked the oil. But how can I prove I checked the oil and it was at no add? My biggest fear is that engine components have been damaged and I am now stuck with a vehicle that greatly increases my cost of ownership as failures will occur sooner due to the aforementioned issues.

I am asking for some comments and opinions from those of you more experienced and mechanically savvy than I. Should I be concerned? Should I, or can I demand that a closer inspection be done to insure the problems I had did not damage surfaces or bearings? I am unsure what to do at this point.

I feel embarrassed at so long of an explanation but I tried to anticipate any questions that may arise and this is something that is not a simple one paragraph problem.

Thank you so very much, Bob
 

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Sounds like a tough one. On one hand they noticed and corrected the fuel contamination (many have to struggle with dealer to confirnm this). On the other hand the oil level ,,,,who knows.
The latest hearsay I have seen on oil consumption is that 1 quart every 2k miles is acceptable (whether we like it or not, of if its written somewhere or not).
There may be something that has cropped up and is the reason for current consumption
who knows.

I would just suggest keeping a very close eye on it for a while and document date and milage and quantity if you have to add between oil changes.
 

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There isn't anything you can do about the past. Going forward, keep a log of everytime you check your oil and the level. You could even take a shapshot with a digital camera that records the time and date on the picture.

Keep detailed records of every service visit including the time/date, who you spoke to, cost, copy of service receipt etc. Basically build a case file just in case you ever need it down the road.
 

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Thanks for sharing you experience, interesting read. Seems to me that internal engine oil loss is GM's problem, not yours.
But since you know dealers claim is BS, they probably had to put that on the record for justification on changing the HP fuel pump.
Apparently, the fuel in oil is a known issue, and you did say there was no fuel smell when you checked. Seems they are throwing
parts at the problem, but at least they are trying and agree there is/was a problem. JMO, I would not keep that 10' Equinox past
the warranty period. Good luck
 

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wkeatonjr said:
There isn't anything you can do about the past. Going forward, keep a log of everytime you check your oil and the level. You could even take a shapshot with a digital camera that records the time and date on the picture.

Keep detailed records of every service visit including the time/date, who you spoke to, cost, copy of service receipt etc. Basically build a case file just in case you ever need it down the road.
This is very good advice. How much of a warranty do you have? For your sake, I hope that you just happened to have checked the oil at a normal level, and two days later, the fuel pump failed. (I'm no mechanic) Keep great records from this point forward - excessive records.

I do have to agree with the above comment though, you are fortunate that they recognized AND acknowledged the problem with fuel viscosity/content and took the steps to FIX that. I know many forum members here have gone to their dealership about the fuel in oil problem and are turned away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to all.

I do believe it is a good idea to log every oil check from now on record any oil added.

@EFF1063 - This dealer does not have a bad reputation and I do not know for sure it's total BS. What motivation would cause the dealer to do that? I hear you about the warranty period, we originally planned to have my wife drive this for 200K or so, but we started to get concerned right after the motor was pulled for the timing chain.

@jr - we purchased the GM Major Guard protection for up to 75K - the funny thing is I never buy the extended plans, ever. But wouldn't these motor issues be covered under the powertrain 5yr 100K warranty?

Regarding service records - I have everything and I mean everything. I drive my wife nuts about how I am so particular and picky about some things and such a slob when it comes to other things.

After doing some more research on this board and others, here is my guess as to what happened.

When I check the oil the vehicle had been sitting in our garage for at least 14 hours. So, every last drop of oil that could, worked its way down to the oil pan. I know that is not the preferred procedure but the level was 1/2 to 2/3 of a quart low, I planned on making an oil change the following weekend anyway so I had no concerns whatsoever. However, I discovered that this approach may show more oil than using the warm wait a few minute approach. How much more? I don't know. Let's round my number up to a quart low.

I have no idea what happens when the high pressure fuel pump starts to malfunction. Does it just go bad and mix fuel with the oil, or does it start with a very minor amount and increase until it becomes noticeable? Either way, I believe the HPFP started to fail just before my oil check or just after. I've read that during a HPFP failure you can use a quart of oil per 1000 miles. During the period between my oil check and the service appointment I would estimate at least 800 miles were driven, possibly more. So, let's say another quart is lost here. Now we're at 2 quarts.

I grew up with some guys who ended up being mechanics and spent some time at dealerships. They all complained about the time budgets on warranty work. I'm betting the tech who worked on my car was in a "cranky mood", pun intended, looked into whatever it was they collect the oil in and embellished a bit. Came back to the service professional griping about 2.5 to 3 quarts low.

While I was in the Service Directors office when he was re-wording the service record I asked him some questions; I asked about the bulb at the end of the dipstick; I asked if it was possible the tech made a mistake; I asked if the oil is put into a graduated vessel to determine the quantity or did the tech just look into a pan and guesstimate. He couldn't answer the specifics, or chose not to. He was unaware that I had the timing chain done a few months earlier until I mentioned it in his office. I do believe he started to come around and understand my position and maybe think there is something to my claims and I was not just another angry unreasonable customer.

So, that's my guess, I'm hoping anyway. 1 quart at the measurement, 1 quart blown due to the HPFP, and the rest due to a PO'd tech.
 

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If your oil was low enough to be of concern, where was the "Low Oil" warning indicator ? I would think that a 40% loss of oil would
have triggered the warning if it was true.
 

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EquinoxFF1063 said:
If your oil was low enough to be of concern, where was the "Low Oil" warning indicator ? I would think that a 40% loss of oil would
have triggered the warning if it was true.
That item got cut by the accountants, along with the low washer fluid indicator. These cars do NOT have that feature - only a low oil pressure indicator, which, BTW, merely tells you that your engine "just seized". My opinion on low oil pressure indicators is that they are set to work at too low a pressure to be useful - but that is just my opinion. It may be better than nothing, but don't rely on it. Check your oil level - often.
 

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RIT333 said:
That item got cut by the accountants, along with the low washer fluid indicator. These cars do NOT have that feature - only a low oil pressure indicator, which, BTW, merely tells you that your engine "just seized". My opinion on low oil pressure indicators is that they are set to work at too low a pressure to be useful - but that is just my opinion. It may be better than nothing, but don't rely on it. Check your oil level - often.
+1[/color]
 

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RIT333 said:
That item got cut by the accountants, along with the low washer fluid indicator. These cars do NOT have that feature - only a low oil pressure indicator, which, BTW, merely tells you that your engine "just seized". My opinion on low oil pressure indicators is that they are set to work at too low a pressure to be useful - but that is just my opinion. It may be better than nothing, but don't rely on it. Check your oil level - often.
My 2012 Equinox Manual indicates:

ENGINE OIL LOW — ADD OIL
This message displays when the
engine oil level is too low. Check the
oil level. See Engine Oil on
page 10‑10
 

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EquinoxFF1063 said:
My 2012 Equinox Manual indicates:

ENGINE OIL LOW — ADD OIL
This message displays when the
engine oil level is too low. Check the
oil level. See Engine Oil on
page 10‑10
My sincerest apologies. I never saw that in the '10 manual. Either I missed it, or it was added in '12.

Thanks !
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well, my '10 Nox is back in for service - don't have time for a full story but will update in a couple of days.

BTW - I cannot find any mention of a low oil indicator in my '10 Equinox Owners Manual, oil pressure - yes, low oil level - no.
 

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"Engine Oil Low - Add Oil" is described on page 4-30 of the 2010 owner's manual, page 5-26 of the 2011 manual, 5-30 of the 2012 manual.
(I'm looking at the on-line versions of the manuals on the Chevy web site)

This is a message that would appear on the DIC; there's no warning light for it. Also, no mention in the manuals as to how often the
level is checked, i.e. is it continuous, or only at start-up?

Regards,
John
 

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jws555 said:
"Engine Oil Low - Add Oil" is described on page 4-30 of the 2010 owner's manual, page 5-26 of the 2011 manual, 5-30 of the 2012 manual.
(I'm looking at the on-line versions of the manuals on the Chevy web site)

This is a message that would appear on the DIC; there's no warning light for it. Also, no mention in the manuals as to how often the
level is checked, i.e. is it continuous, or only at start-up?

Regards,
John
I just re-checked and my '10 Owners Manual does not mention a low oil indicator. Guess I'll have to run it dry to check it out ! LOL
 

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The '12 Terrain owner's manual has a DIC message for low oil level,
"ENGINE OIL LOW — ADD OIL". Typically, the check is only done at
start-up and the car has to have been off for a period of time to allow
oil to drain back to the sump.
 

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BubbaBob, I just wanted to say I was very sorry to read about your oil frustration. We look forward to your updates, but please don't hesitate to send a private message at any point in the meantime if you would like further assistance (such as following up with the dealer on your behalf).

Best,

Katie, GM Customer Service
(Assisting Tricia)
 

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BubbaBob, Here is my $00.02 worth on checking oil levels and usage.

I have a 2011 V-6 with about 25k on the clock. My driving is mixed some small city and some rural. As a rule my Oil Life Monitor gets down to 10% at about 4,500 Miles. If you are getting almost twice that you are treating it like a lady (not a bad thing). Me, not not so much. I like getting on down the road, but I don't believe in abusing it.

Anyhow, I agree with you on checking the oil after the vehicle has been sitting for a long time. I too, have found that the oil level is way above the full mark after draining down overnight. It scared the crap outta me after the first oil change (dealer performed) I swore that they must have put in over 7 or 8 quarts (6 QT is the cap for the V-6). Additionally this car has the worst dipstick I have ever seen. It spirals from the handle to just above the indicator marks. It is dark in color to boot making the oil level almost impossible to see.

When I check the oil I always smell the oil for gas contamination although the V-6 doesn't seem to suffer from dilution like the 4 banger.

As for oil usage, well there has been some sort of GM product in my drive for almost all of my adult life and I can tell you that the loss of 2 - 3 quarts in 8500 miles is not excessive. I once had a Ford van (302 V-8) that used a quart every 1,000. Ford said that was upper-limit normal. It was like that till I sold it at 275, 000 miles. You just have to keep on top of things and check the oil on a regular basis.

As far as using a log book to bolster your service claims, good luck with that. The factory demands proof that the oil is changed according to schedule.I keep all my sales recipts in addition to a log book. I'm not sure if they will buy off on your documentation. But, like they say "It couldn't hurt!"
 

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My 2012 Equinox Manual indicates:

ENGINE OIL LOW — ADD OIL
This message displays when the
engine oil level is too low. Check the
oil level. See Engine Oil on
page 10‑10
I realize this is a old post... but does the Engine Oil Low - Add Oil feature exist? If so, how much oil loss is required for the message to be displayed?
 

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I realize this is a old post... but does the Engine Oil Low - Add Oil feature exist? If so, how much oil loss is required for the message to be displayed?

No. .. and there are other threads that answer that question.
 
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