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Dealership Oil Change Overfills


jcscar

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How many 2003 CTS 3.2L owners may be experiencing GM dealer oil overfills and may now be experiencing oil leaks?

My '03 3.2L CTS, (40,000 miles - factory warranty expires 8/2009), only requires 5.0 quarts of oil with filter change, but since owning my CTS at 20,000 miles, the local Cadi dealer changed with 6 quarts. The dealership did not believe that Cadillac HQ, much less the manual, specifies 5. They've since sold out to a local Chev dealership, which is now Chev/Cadi.

It's possible that the confusion is with the 3.6L that apparently does take 6 quarts?

Today's oil change at Chev/Cadi was the same -- 6 quarts, but state they really only use 5.5 (bill for 6); however, the dipstick seems to top out high enough to be 6. Problems can accompany oil overfill, so I am writing this as an advisory to others and to query any similar situations and/or resulting problems from oil overfilling. My desire is to receive an as-long-as-you-own-your-car warranty to protect against future problems from these overfills.

JC

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The shop manual for the 2003 3.2L oddly enough lists 5.1 quarts (4.8 Liters) for oil change + filter.

6 quarts is correct for the 3.6L. No excuse for the Dealer to get the 2003 wrong, since the 3.2L was the only engine offered that year.

Bruce

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I have no experience with the engine model listed and less than 30 minutes experience with "dealership" oil change people.

About 18 months ago, I found myself in the position of needing an OLM scheduled oil change and unable to to do it myself. Arrived at my favorite local Cadillac dealer and told the guy with the clipboard that I wanted an oil & filter change with seven quarts of 10W-30 dinosaur oil. Clip board dude tells me they stock only 5W-30 synthetic oil.

Went in the building and located my (first name basis) ownership contact and she told me the oil change operation is sub-contacted. They are not dealership employees (at least at that location).

Jim

Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.

CHOOSE ONE !

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GM today under warranty towed the car to the dealership after advising not to drive it overfilled with oil. The attached jpeg image shows a CTS 3.2L dipstick's full line at 32mm from the bottom with the dealer's overfill level on my car at the red arrow, 52mm from the bottom.

Dealer's service writer maintains that 6 qt fill with filter is correct; dealer owner agrees; dealer's parts counter adivses 5.1; owner's manual says 5.0. As a favor to me they re-did oil change with 5, but stated that a 6 qt fill will continue for all other customers regardless. Parts man said that mechanics are supposed to fill to 5.1 qts and they round up to charge customer for 6. I next need to address with GM any future repairs from 3 previous and uncorrected overfills.

My suspicion on this is that the mechanic didn't understand the game: Charge for 6, but put in 5, and we'll re-sell that one quart over and over again.... The poor mechanic may have believed he should actually put in 6.

Is it my imagination or is my CTS running a bit smoother with 5 qts rather than 6?

JC

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I have this car and have never had any issues with any oil leaks or any other oil problems. I usually do my own oil changes, however when I do take it in to get it changed at the "quick lube" place they always have me visually verify the correct oil levels. Bottom line is its always best to know as much about your car as possible and just cause they work in a dealership doesn't always mean they know what there doing. If I were in your shoes I would look for a different service department. If they cant get the little stuff right how can they get the big stuff? I worked in a ford dealership for years and I watched that go from one of the best service depts around to one of the worst just by losing a few mechanics. And at that point its only a short time before the whole dealership suffers and the customers are the ones that get burned first

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5.1 qts.? Is the level THAT critical? If so, I would assume the manual must tell you to check it every day. Besides, how do they expect you to measure .1 qt.? That is ridiculous. The Northstar calls for 7.5 and I only put 7 in it.

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The dealership isn't my issue, but certainly I have no confidence in this one. The larger question I have is this:

Can an extra quart of oil over time cause problems down the road?

I believe you are right about attitude. The Lead Service Writer stated that even 8 qts in my 5 qt capacity oil system won't hurt a thing....

JC

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The dealership isn't my issue, but certainly I have no confidence in this one. The larger question I have is this:

Can an extra quart of oil over time cause problems down the road?

I believe you are right about attitude. The Lead Service Writer stated that even 8 qts in my 5 qt capacity oil system won't hurt a thing....

JC

I would not overfill the crankcase - any overfill amount would be churned up by the crank and burned through the PCV system. 8 quarts in a 5 quart system???? That's 60% more oil in the system - sure to not be a good thing...

Kevin
'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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The dealership isn't my issue, but certainly I have no confidence in this one. The larger question I have is this:

Can an extra quart of oil over time cause problems down the road?

I believe you are right about attitude. The Lead Service Writer stated that even 8 qts in my 5 qt capacity oil system won't hurt a thing....

JC

An extra quart should be ok, but NOT 8 quarts total, that is too much he was covering his butt

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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It's one thing to be 1/16th of an inch over the full mark on your dipstick....

But that picture of the dipstick... The tech saw that, and said it was okay????

As Richard Karn used to say... "I don't think so, Tim..."

I think I'd want to get away from that dealership, and get some GM district reps involved, and at least get on record that they were overfilling your oil, and try to nail them down that if a future engine problem develops, someone (besides you) is going to be responsible for that...

The "Lead Service Writer", and his comments, I mean, look, no offense to service writers, but I'm sure he just wants you to go away and not make a stink about it.

My owners manual says "do not overfill" the oil. The dealership clearly overfilled your oil, on several occasions, if I read this right.

Therefore, the dealer should be held responsible for any future problems that may relate to their reckless disregard for what the factory printed in the owners manual.

If I personally had just unloaded the cash for a new CTS, and the dealer was overfilling it, I think I might get my lawyer involved, and get some of this on record....

What makes it even juicier is the dealer's apparent unrepentant and unapologetic attitude.... lovely.

And still people wonder why I change my own oil in all my rides.... ;)

Good luck.

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Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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Thanks for the well-wishes.

Seeing that Everything is documented, the next interesting event will be a discussion with the area GM rep. No repair shop other than GM has touched this car since I've had it after passing a GM Certified Pre-Owned Inspection (3 years old and 20K miles), which extended its warranty to 8/09. I'd rather change my own oil, too, but by letting GM do all work, including a couple of tires, they can't blame anyone else for repair issues.

I suspect this service writer would probably say green antifreeze works in this car even though it wants orange. He'd come up with a story that by combining the two colors you'd get a chocolate brown that anyone would envy....

Attorneys don't like to look at issues until there are damages, even in this situation. Finding one to address future damages could be a trick, but maybe there is one out there.

JC

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P.S.

Apology? None, neither from the owner nor lead service writer (he refused to inspect the dipstick closely). Both confronted me and asked what I wanted them to do -- do I want 5 qts. or 6 qts.? I replied that seeing the vehicle is still under warranty, they need to figure that out for themselves. The owner told the tech to put in 5.

On the way out, the service writer said that they will, just for me alone, do future oil changes at 5 qts. -- with such an order so noted on my service record. He said that all other customers with 3.2L engines will continue to get changes at 6 qts.

And yes, to address your reading things right, between the now defunct local Cadi dealer and this new local Chev/Cadi dealer, 3 (~12K miles worth of driving) out of my 4 local oil changes are invoiced at 6 qts. My very first was while away on a trip, and that Cadi dealer did 5 qts.

The future of all this could be way interesting!

JC

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I doubt that the extra qt. (or .9 of a qt.) will do any harm. 8 qts. on the other hand, might be another story. Just another reason to do your own oil changes.

Doing my own oil changes allows me to 'look around" under the hood and the under carriage for other problems, whereas an oil change shop does not care. Not to mention I can control the quality of oil and filters I use and KNOW its done right. The final benefit is that I am not cross sold wipers or power steering or transmission fluid FLUSHES and I dont need to deal with know-it-all high school kids who are looking to make extra money selling services.

Pre-1995 - DTC codes OBD1  >>

1996 and newer - DTC codes OBD2 >> https://www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/gm/obd_codes.htm

How to check for codes Caddyinfo How To Technical Archive >> http://www.caddyinfo.com/wordpress/cadillac-how-to-faq/

Cadillac History & Specifications Year by Year  http://www.motorera.com/cadillac/index.htm

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I doubt that the extra qt. (or .9 of a qt.) will do any harm. 8 qts. on the other hand, might be another story. Just another reason to do your own oil changes.

Doing my own oil changes allows me to 'look around" under the hood and the under carriage for other problems, whereas an oil change shop does not care. Not to mention I can control the quality of oil and filters I use and KNOW its done right. The final benefit is that I am not cross sold wipers or power steering or transmission fluid FLUSHES and I dont need to deal with know-it-all high school kids who are looking to make extra money selling services.

Ditto that..

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I guess I see your point about the car being under warranty.... You pretty much have to let them do the oil changes, otherwise they are free to claim that "The owner was doing his own oil changes, and screwed it up."

Or, they could claim you WEREN'T doing the oil changes, I suppose....

These warranties give me a headache, just thinking about them....

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