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Is there such a thing as bad motor oil? Vehicle mechanics step inside. Login/Join 
Member
Picture of holdem
posted
My wife and I have been lucky in our lives when it comes to vehicle repair. Her father had his own auto repair business for years. When something needed done we gave the car to him, it came back fixed and without a bill.

When he retired and closed his shop, his younger brother set up his own small auto repair shop. So then we went to him. He was our new guy for years and years.

About 8-ish years ago, he moved away and we had to find someone new. I asked him, "Who do you recommend?" He gave us a name and we have been going there ever since.

This is a family place. The father, long since retired, started this place back in the 60's or 70'. The two sons took it over eventually. They are still there. And one of those sons, his son now works there. So it's now a 3rd generation business. They have pretty much been our exclusive shop for the last 8 years. I trust them implicitly, when something needs done I give them the keys and ask them to take care of it. They always do and I always feel like they have done the work in my best interest and never anything unnecessary.

My wife took her 2015 Infiniti QX-80 to them this past week. Current mileage is about 65K. Only needed an oil change. The vehicle was running perfectly before the oil change. When she went to pick it up it was running really rough, lack of power, acting like it might stall, etc. She looped around the block and back to the garage.

The mechanic drives it tells her that he thinks maybe there is an issue with the timing chain due to how the the vehicle was running. He also mentioned that they do not handle timing chains for Infiniti, that we would have to take this to the dealer. But that he would check things over and to come back later.

When she gets back he lets her know that he decided to check the oil, and he says it was black. Looks like it had tons of miles on it. So he changed it again. Then test drove it and everything seemed to be fine.

That was on Friday. She drove it Friday evening and this weekend and the vehicle appears to be back to normal.

Is there such a thing as bad oil? Could we have gotten unlucky?

Could someone, somehow have made the mistake of putting used oil in the vehicle? And would this have caused these symptoms?

Is there a larger issue and should we take the vehicle to Infiniti to be checked over? Note, I very much dislike going to the dealer for service.

Since things have been running fine, I am inclined to file this incident away and forget about it. But I thought I would check with the collective knowledge of SigForum first.
 
Posts: 2112 | Location: Orlando | Registered: April 22, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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This sounds very strange. Only commenting to "tag" the thread because I'm interested in what the Collective has to say.




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Posts: 23959 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Firearms Enthusiast
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So you took it to them to have the oil changed?

Got it back and it was running poorly, drove around the block to have it looked at?

Was told the oil was black so they changed the oil again?

Now its running ok?

Do you check your oil after having it serviced to check that it does look clean or cleaner then before you took it in and to also make sure the oil level is correct?

A car with only 65,000 miles that's been reasonably well taken care of doesn't dirty the oil up like what's being described.

Somebody screwed up and either didn't change the oil or put something else in it.
 
Posts: 17581 | Location: DFW | Registered: December 26, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
SIGforum Official
Eye Doc
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Is it a canister-type filter?
 
Posts: 2753 | Location: (Occupied) Northern Minnesota | Registered: June 24, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
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Or they drained the old oil, got distracted, and didn't put any new oil in it, and then made up the story about the oil being black after they checked it and went: "Oh shit, we forgot to put oil in it!"
 
Posts: 30421 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This sounds like the most likely event but also I can’t image an Infinity would leave a driver oblivious to low oil or low pressure. Maybe the wrong type of oil like transmission fluid?
 
Posts: 107 | Location: Kentucky | Registered: June 06, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Or they drained the old oil, got distracted, and didn't put any new oil in it, and then made up the story about the oil being black after they checked it and went: "Oh shit, we forgot to put oil in it!"


That was my first thought.



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Posts: 1297 | Location: Southern Michigan | Registered: May 30, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Doesn't make sense to me.
Other than a BS answer to cover something they did or didn't do.

I would imagine that they are in the same boat as everyone else in getting people that can do a simple job without bungling the whole deal.

I see what comes in the door at my shop these days and wouldn't let the majority of them check the pressure in the tires on my personal rigs.
I was feeling lazy and thought about just taking the car in to get it done then pondered on that for a bit and wound up just doing it myself.
 
Posts: 1275 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of powermad
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quote:
Originally posted by RogueJSK:
Or they drained the old oil, got distracted, and didn't put any new oil in it, and then made up the story about the oil being black after they checked it and went: "Oh shit, we forgot to put oil in it!"


The engines that I have seen run with no oil or no oil pressure usually don't even make it out of the shop.
If you are quick you can save it, but usually the customer gets another engine.
 
Posts: 1275 | Location: Portland Oregon | Registered: October 01, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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head gasket?
On a car like that I doubt the oil would get very dark between regular changes.



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Posts: 17918 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Knows too little
about too much
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No Infiniti experience, but on BMW's if you leave the oil fill cap off or loose, the excess air pulled in will certainly make the engine run rough.

RMD




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Posts: 20108 | Location: L.A. - Lower Alabama | Registered: April 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
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This is an odd one. If they changed the oil, but forgot to replace the filter, it would darken the new oil a little. Not sure if it would be to the point that someone would call it "black".

If, however, they also forgot to put new oil completely, and left the old filter, then what little oil that was in the filter (maybe a quart) would indeed be black.

It could also explain why the engine was running strange. With so little lubricant, the engine was beginning to eat itself. Your wife was smart to turn right around and bring it back.



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Posts: 15379 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It sounds to me like this was an unprovable lie.
Black oil right after it was changed? I had a Volvo and trying to consolidate oil weights. 0W20 ends up being too thin and affected cam timing, as I recall.
Possibly the mechanic bumped an electrical connection, or disconnected something and forgot to reconnect it?

Mechanic just should have come clean. “We screwed up, forgot something, no damage to car”.
Going forward, I would trust, but verify.


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Posts: 954 | Location: Vermont | Registered: March 24, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Legalize the Constitution
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As to the issue with your Infiniti, no clue, except that I cannot conceive of an event or issue with a brand of oil that would cause new oil to be black. I started down the road to becoming a mechanic when I was really young, and spent time on the lube rack. Never saw or heard of anything like that.

Like any profession, I know mechanics have biases. I have never in my life put a can of Pennzoil into a vehicle I owned, and that goes back to a couple of mechanics I worked with when I was 18. Seems like they said Pennzoil had a waxy element to it (either inherent to Pennsylvania crude, or added in formulation) that they thought would break down in high heat. I don’t know, but they kept me from ever using it.

When we had our 911, the independent shop we took it to would not use Mobil 1, which is recommended by Porsche. They only used Motul motor oil. Our Macan has an extended service contract…I just realized that I don’t know what brand of oil the dealer put in the car a couple months ago.

I’ll put forth the idea that there aren’t “bad oils,” there are just oils that are “bad” in that they don’t meet the service requirements of the manufacturer. I don’t know what happened at the garage you took your Infiniti to for oil service; I doubt that you ever will.


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Posts: 12105 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: January 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Technically Adaptive
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It's speculation, total guess from me. If there was no oil in it, it would of had a oil pressure light or low gauge reading. Probably did not drain the engine oil, drained something else... there is mention of a new kid working there?. either way I suspect the engine was overfilled.
 
Posts: 960 | Location: Willcox, AZ | Registered: September 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by TBH:
It sounds to me like this was an unprovable lie.
^^ THIS ^^

Oil is made by blending multiple components (base stocks plus additivies) during the bottling process so it's possible a blend went bad. I did a quick Google on it and don't find any oil recalls. Lots of automation and lots of QA so I didn't really expect to find anything.

If it's a multiple mechanic shop then usually the junior guy does oil changes so unlikely the 3rd gen owner did it. As others have mentioned, the first mechanic didn't change the filter and when the second mechanic checked the oil was black. Two other worse options for the junior mechanic:
  • Lied that he changed the oil. They may already be suspecting the junior mechanic is a dud.
  • Used motor oil was laying around in new oil bottles and accidentally used it. That'd be a pretty sloppy shop practice.

    No motor oil, then I don't think the wife would've made it around the block without a seized motor. Likely the car wouldn't have made it from the mechanics bay to the parking spot and the wife certainly wouldn't have made it out of the parking spot.



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    Posts: 21691 | Location: N. Houston, TX | Registered: November 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Lost
    Picture of kkina
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    quote:
    If there was no oil in it, it would of had a oil pressure light or low gauge reading.

    Maybe the oil warning light did come on, we don't know that it didn't. The other possibility, maybe the car has only a pressure warning light (as most cars). Oil pressure is not the same as oil level. It's possible for the engine to have pretty much full pressure with only a quart left.



    ACCU-STRUT FOR MINI-14
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    Posts: 15379 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Technically Adaptive
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    quote:
    Originally posted by kkina:
    quote:
    If there was no oil in it, it would of had a oil pressure light or low gauge reading.

    Maybe the oil warning light did come on, we don't know that it didn't. The other possibility, maybe the car has only a pressure warning light (as most cars). Oil pressure is not the same as oil level. It's possible for the engine to have pretty much full pressure with only a quart left.


    Easy enough to prove, drain the oil out of it and run it, then overfill it 5 quarts and run it. JUST KIDDING! all kidding aside, no way of really knowing, people make mistakes, sometimes they won't admit it, if it runs ok I would move on.
     
    Posts: 960 | Location: Willcox, AZ | Registered: September 24, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    Lost
    Picture of kkina
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    Admittedly this would be a rare situation, as usually the pressure warning would light on low volume, but you never know.



    ACCU-STRUT FOR MINI-14
    "First, Eyes."
     
    Posts: 15379 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
    7.62mm Crusader
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    quote:
    Originally posted by TMats:
    As to the issue with your Infiniti, no clue, except that I cannot conceive of an event or issue with a brand of oil that would cause new oil to be black. I started down the road to becoming a mechanic when I was really young, and spent time on the lube rack. Never saw or heard of anything like that.

    Like any profession, I know mechanics have biases. I have never in my life put a can of Pennzoil into a vehicle I owned, and that goes back to a couple of mechanics I worked with when I was 18. Seems like they said Pennzoil had a waxy element to it (either inherent to Pennsylvania crude, or added in formulation) that they thought would break down in high heat. I don’t know, but they kept me from ever using it.

    When we had our 911, the independent shop we took it to would not use Mobil 1, which is recommended by Porsche. They only used Motul motor oil. Our Macan has an extended service contract…I just realized that I don’t know what brand of oil the dealer put in the car a couple months ago.

    I’ll put forth the idea that there aren’t “bad oils,” there are just oils that are “bad” in that they don’t meet the service requirements of the manufacturer. I don’t know what happened at the garage you took your Infiniti to for oil service; I doubt that you ever will.
    FWIW, I have a friend who uses near exclusively a Mobil1 blended European Car Formula. He works on Mercedes, Audi, Porche, VW and a lot of BMW.
     
    Posts: 17368 | Location: The Bluegrass State! | Registered: December 23, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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