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Old 08-14-2002, 04:54 PM
DaimlerChrysler's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Posts: 132
Angry Instant oil change lesson!

For those of you that haven't read about my leaking differential I want to impart a lesson that I learned the (almost) hard way!

When I had the oil changed at an instant oil change place (I can't say who!) I was advised to have the differential fluid changed as well. I stupidly agreed. The next day the differential developed a leak. After taking the car back twice I finally gave up and took it to the MB dealer. The "tech" guys at the oil change place DID NOT PUT THE WASHER BACK IN BEFORE TIGHTENING THE DRAIN PLUG!

Fortunately the plug was put in before any real damage was done ( I had planned on taking the car on a 600 mile trip the following day). Unfortunately I'm now in a battle with the company to get them to cover the cost of their mistake.

Moral: Instant oil change places may be fine for a domestic US car, but with a Mercedes-Benz you enter at your own peril!:mad
Old age and treachery will allways overcome youth and skill!

1993 S500
1984 380SL

Last edited by DaimlerChrysler; 08-14-2002 at 05:59 PM.
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:20 PM
Ashman's Avatar
Service Advisor
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
Posts: 4,748
I never have and never will use any oil change place. I like doing it myself, my way, the right way.

'92 300CE - Sold
2004 C240 - C7 Wheels
2015 ML350 - P1, Pano, Ash poplar wood, Sport Dinamica interior, Running Boards Keyless go.
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:38 PM
tvpierce's Avatar
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 612
I don't think instant oil change places are appropriate for any car -- foreign or domestic.

Jeff Pierce
Jeff Pierce

Current Vehicles:
'92 Mercedes 190E/2.3 (247K miles/my daily driver)
'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon (263K miles/a family truckster with spunk)
'99 Kawasaki Concours
Gravely 8120
Previous Vehicles:
'85 Jeep CJ-7 w/ Fisher plow (226K miles)'93 Volvo 940 Turbo Wagon
'53 Willys-Overland Pickup
'85 Honda 750F Interceptor
'93 Nissan Quest
'89 Toyota Camry Wagon
'89 Dodge Raider
'81 Honda CB 750F Super Sport
'88 Toyota Celica
'95 Toyota Tacoma
'74 Honda CB 550F
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:42 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
I once had a quicky lube 'tech' come into the waiting room to ask me if my oil pressure gauge was working.
Talk about a sinking feeling! The car was still running!
Turns out their computer had my car's capacity listed as 2.1 quarts when I know it took close to 6. Now this is a major national chain (which I won't mention, but it starts with J).
I guess checking the dipstick is too complicated and not covered in their training, or perhaps it takes too long...

I wrote letters to the corporation and everything in an attempt to correct their data so that someone else would not get burned.
Obviously, I never went back, but 2 years later, I met someone who worked there and just for fun had him check...
No correction had been made.

I've always changed my own oil since, even in the dead of winter, but if you go, remember to check that capacity value before you relax in the waiting room...
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 08-14-2002, 05:51 PM
Posts: n/a
I agree with tvpierce. I don't think the fact that it's an MB has a thing to do with it. These places have the best people they can find for $5.35 an hour (or whatever the minimum wage is now.)

I do all this stuff myself because it's the only way I can know if it's done right, or at least if it is not done right I have no one to blame except myself.

My $0.02
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:23 PM
Posts: n/a
I once took 6 quarts of Mobil 1 to a Mercedes dealer to use during a service. The *factory trained technician* came out and told me I didn't bring him enough oil, that his *book* said over 7 quarts were required. It turned out he didn't know the difference between an M103 and an M104 engine!

This isn't the only time I've had MB dealers screw up.

I don't trust anybody although I have had better luck with BMW technicians than with MB technicians. At least some of them treat you like a car enthusiast rather than a naive lawyer/doctor/bond salesman.

What I really hate are shops that do everything with an impact wrench.
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Old 08-14-2002, 06:27 PM
84300DT's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Mass.
Posts: 2,218
quick oil change places

i admit (sheepish) having used these places in the dead of winter but i always stand over them and direct their every move + hope the guy in the hole can actually r+r the drain plug without totally stripping it and ruining the oil pan!

i never let 'em touch the diff though.

edit: i spoke too soon the instant oil change place stripped the drain plug on the wife's car fortunately the pan was ok so it only cost the 2 bux for the new plug...
needless to say i'm never gonna allow it to go there ever again.
these places are an absolute menace imho.

our town has a convenient place to recycle the old oil so there is really no excuse to not do the job at home.
1984 300D Turbo - 231k....totalled 11/30/07 RIP

Last edited by 84300DT; 08-15-2002 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 08-14-2002, 07:23 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2002
Posts: 17,507
One quick change company insisted that my 74 Olds Custom Cruiser differential needed oil added and also changed. They also said it needed a new air filter and PCV valve. Since I had just changed these the week before I didn't believe them. I checked the differential and it was obvious they had not even removed the plug to check it.
Last year another quick change company overfilled the same car with oil. (I;m not a slow learner but I was thousands of miles away from home and needed an oil change). While I waited from them to drain the overfilled oil I met a furious customer who'd been waiting for 3 hours for them to find a new transmission filter for his Ford pickup because they had mistakenly drained the transmission instead of the engine!
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Old 08-14-2002, 08:48 PM
Fimum Fit
Posts: n/a
Tune in at sometime

and find all the laments from Classic 900 owners who went to a quickie place and found, after it was too late, that the crew had drained the transmission, added 4 quarts and a filter to the motor without checking the dipstick, and then sent them on their way with a dry transmission and a drastically overfilled motor. It only takes a few miles before both are ruined. I suppose the same could happen with many other transaxle cars, but the SAAB does have the two drains in the same casting, although with very different plugs, and anyone with even two days of mechanical experience should recognize the difference in smell between the two lubricants.
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Old 08-15-2002, 01:43 AM
unkl300d's Avatar
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: San Francisco, Ca
Posts: 2,207
jay way

O.K. , NOW I am stumped.

Is company "J" Jack in the Box?????
1979 300D 199 K miles
1995 C280 95 K miles
1992 Cadillac Eldorado Touring Coupe 57K miles
1979 240D 140Kmiles (bought for parents) *SOLD.
1989 300SE 148 K miles *SOLD
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Old 08-15-2002, 03:43 AM
Posts: n/a
While I waited from them to drain the overfilled oil I met a furious customer who'd been waiting for 3 hours for them to find a new transmission filter for his Ford pickup because they had mistakenly drained the transmission instead of the engine!

Here's my story, but it's not that bad. I guess it was out of convenience and a little of the company's marketing that I decided to take my Volvo 245 to get this "signature" oil service. The service guy thought he was all smooth. First off, he told me that they can't vacuum my car because the vacuum is broken. Then the guy said he's not going to wash my windows because there is an overcast, and that there is no point in washing my windows if it's going to rain. I don't know why I even let him do that to me! There were some other fluid "checks," but I don't think much was done to my car except an oil change that I could have gotten at an independent Volvo place with better techs--wait, REAL techs. While I was waiting, the guy tried to sell me a $60-70 engine-flush service since I had mentioned that my oil looked sludgy. I politely declined. I later did my own engine flush, and did a damn good job!

BTW, I don't think it rained that day. And even if it did, I still would have wanted clean windows! I mean I'm paying $19.99 for the so-called signature service! All I got was a damn oil change and maybe washer fluid! I can't believe I was soooo nice and accepting!
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Old 08-15-2002, 07:48 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 248
I've used the 'J' for oil changes a few times over the years either because I've been away from home or too busy during bad weather. While I've never had any major problems, that's probably because I ALWAYS stand right in front of the car and watch everything they do, usually while engaging them in conversation. It keeps them honest and on track without making them too nervious.

As for their skill, there is no question that these guys know very little about cars - heck I'd bet that half of their 'techs' only work there because McD's fired them after they were caught picking their noses while working on Big Mac's.

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Old 08-15-2002, 09:14 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Chesapeake, VA
Posts: 396
I'm a bit baffled. Every M/B I've ever owned used tapered threads on the drain and fill plugs for the differential. There never was a washer to forget. Am I missing something here?
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Old 08-15-2002, 10:23 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I stay clear away from the "J" places! Thankfully they haven't messed up any of my previous vehicles, but I never let them touch my MBs. I did let them do an emission inspection on the ML once though.

I'm too busy to fuss with the fluids, and I have to allocate a weekend well in advance if I plan on doing any repairs. With the frequency of fluid maintenance required on three MBs, it's just more prudent to just go ahead and pay the MB tech to do the work. That way, I can get other smaller repairs done as well, and emission inspections when required.

But if they screw up, well...
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 08-15-2002, 10:44 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 57
I got my transmission oil changed at a dealer ($87 an hour guy) - its a 190E 2.3 - the guy overfilled it (filled in 8 quarts, when it takes just under 7 even when the torque converter is drained out!),. and a washer was crushed while closing it up, so the transmission was SPRAYING oil all over when I drove it home!!! Thankfully, I noticed it (though it was not hard to miss!), and took it back. The overfilling actually helped because it lost nearly a quart in one day, and was still fine!!!

Talk about screw ups. MANY of the dealer servicemen are no better than the 5.35 an hour guys. Again, I am not making statements about everyone, there are MANY good techs out there at the dealers, but there are MANY bad ones too.
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