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Double Check Professional Work

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The latest article about Walmart on the Consumerist made me think about the last run-in we had with Walmart and oil changes. About a week or so after having my fiancee’s car’s oil changed at a Walmart, we noticed that there was a grayish film creeping up the front of her hood. She drives a lot on I-95 with lots of trucks and stuff and so she didn’t really think much of it and it wasn’t until she looked at it closer did she recognize it was oil. When we opened up the hood, it appears that the yokels over at Walmart never put the oil cap back on. Strangely, and luckily, the cap was still sitting there, comfortably sitting in a nook; and so we checked the oil, filled it back up (it lost about half a quart) and put the cap back on. We park outside so we didn’t even notice the oil drips on the blacktop parking spots but they were definitely there. So… that Walmart story on the Consumerist doesn’t surprise me at all. (I do oil changes on my own car because it’s ridiculously easy to access the filter and the bolt)

So, the moral of the story is to check all the work you ever have done on anything. That’s not to say someone is cheating you or incompetent, it’s just that people can make mistakes (especially if they’re incompetent) so you should always double check. If you want to see the old part they’re replacing because you think they’re scamming you, get the old part (and you probably want a new mechanic). Always double check the work, no matter how simple you think it is.

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7 Responses to “Double Check Professional Work”

  1. Stephen says:

    I had a reputable garage do exactly the same thing in Portland, Oregon. We noticed the film on the window, didn’t initially think much of it. At a gas station, we popped the trunk to see the oil cap resting next to the spout and most of the engine area covered in oil.

    We ended up getting a steam cleaning of the whole area (not sure if we needed this, we just didn’t like the oil everywhere) and the garage paid for the whole thing.

  2. Rick says:

    You didn’t necessarily say anything explicitly against Walmart, but I did get an anti-Walmart vibe from the Consumerist article. Personally, I’m tired of people always harping on Walmart. Sure, this one store did do something wrong; but Walmart has 3500 stores in this country, and I feel it’s wrong to say all Walmarts can’t change your oil properly.

    And, just as there _are_ instances of Walmart doing things wrong, other businesses do things wrong just as much (as “Stephen” mentioned).

    Case in point: a few years ago, my Dad and I were doing a cross-country trip. A few days before we left, he had the tires rotated at a reputable auto shop. This shop, part of a national chain, generally does good business, and my dad had used them for years, having nothing but good things to say about them. Well, this particular time, the shop failed to bolt the wheel (not the tire itself, but the thing the tire bolts onto) onto the axle. We were driving across the USA at 75 mph, and there was literally nothing holding the wheel on. About half way through, we made a u-turn, and the wheel did finally come completely off. Thankfully, it was while we were travelling 5mph, rather than 75mph.

  3. wanzman says:

    In my experience, Walmart should not be in the oil changing business. I have not had good luck and where I live they upped the prices quite a bit so I don’t really save anything by going there. Plus the wait is always outlandish.

    My dad used to always get a laugh when he would go there and be in line “behind a lady buying a bag of chips, a bra, and an oil change” as he used to put it.

  4. Tim says:

    unfortunately it is all too de guerre to complain about walmart. there are plenty of oil change places, even dealerships, that have oil change issues. of course the vast majority of the people who go to walmart for oil changes go on doing so without problems. let’s just be conscious of the fact that complaint postings will attract the microcosm.

  5. mbhunter says:

    I took my cars to Wal-Mart for a long time to get the oil changed. Then I was in a pinch and took it to my mechanic. The next time I took it to Wal-Mart they refused to change it because the oil plug was stuck. Neither the mechanic nor Wal-Mart would give me a straight answer, and I ended up having to replace the oil pan in our van to the tune of $400.

    I do my own oil changes now. At least if I screw it up I’m sure who screwed it up!

  6. Rob Carlson says:

    O’Donnell Honda (dealer service center) did the same thing to me. I got the oil changed right before a trip to Ocean City and back. A few days later the smell of oil got overwhelming and I discovered my oil cap sitting in the nook.

    I went right over and they refilled the oil and gave me a free engine wash and car wash to make up for it. It’s run for another 60k miles since then so I assume it wasn’t a huge deal.

  7. RootAnn says:

    I’ve had a local shop leave a shop light sitting on a cap which ended up melting into a shapeless mess. My husband had a national tire chain rotate his tires and not tighten the lug nugs. Luckily, we noticed the banging of the tire as we were heading down the interstate at 65 mph.

    Definitely double check work – if you know how.


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