Broken Oil Drain Plug

by Alysia
(bullhead city az)

Broken drain plug on 97 BMW

Broken drain plug on 97 BMW

An auto repair shop said my oil drain plug was broken and a piece of it was stuck up inside the pan. They recommended removal of the oil pan to get the piece out, labor to begin was $400. No written estimate was supplied. I said call me a tow truck. He said, we can give you credit if your rating is good. I said fine, but save my engine oil pan. He said we may have to replace it if I can't get the piece out.

I thought not, a day or so later I get the call, "not salvageable" he says, and new one is $700. They can do the job for a total of $1400 and will throw in the oil change you came in for. I'm having a senior moment and thinking my credit rating gives me $1500, and I'm calculating my monthly payments. Then I wonder when can new part arrive? He says Monday at the soonest.

After researching about pieces of metal inside a pan, I discover you don't have to remove a pan to get it out. They use an extractor tool. It's Friday now and I call to tow the car away, arriving sat morning. I find a new mechanic who gives me a drain plug. The original shop refused to give me my old plug back and carts me to the ATM so I can pay them 266, which are mostly labor charges as they said they had begun to dismantle the car in preparation to receive new pan that wasn't delivered yet.

I say even to pay you $266 and paying off the new mechanic I'm doing much better than to pay the estimated $1400 for a new oil pan that was not required. The original repair shop was not happy with my chatter. The new mechanic takes pictures, (included above) and says they did not dismantle anything under there. Although on the receipt it says engine oil pan removal and new gasket. This is a lie.

The driver who carted me to ATM disclosed the pan was not removed. So next is the court case at end of month. I am bound to get money back for bogus charges, plus towing, but wonder if it's fair to collect also what I paid to the new mechanic for the proper fix? He says it is fair.

But to get this over in a mediation process I think I would take whatever is offered as long as my money is returned plus towing and court costs. The clerk from the original repair center is angry with me and said I threatened to bring the cops. I did, but changed my mind about making a big scene. I think I would not be going to court if I had brought a cop, and the cop was willing to show up with me.

My witness though, is the only reason I have a good case. Beware of repair shops counting on a person's ignorance of their car. I had researched online about drain plugs breaking and had an intense experience learning how they are extracted. As it turns out no piece of metal was ever found or mentioned again and I became the little old lady with the oil drain plug.

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Jun 01, 2016
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Hocus Pocus
by: AnonyBrendamous

Today I paid $700.00 for a new oil pan, oil pan gasket, oil change. I came home, but it was getting dark and I looked to see if I could see a brand new shiny oil pan with my led flashlight. No there were big rust spots around the bolts. It wasn't shiny at all. Weird because there logo is, committed to being your trusted and innovative supplier. The mechanic forgot to leave the sticker for the next oil change. I'll keep you posted. All in all the reason for the new Oil pan was I had a new plug put in, but it was installed until I could replace the oil pan, which is what I paid for today. Is a new oil pan shiny? Could someone confirm this for me for One big headache.

Oct 17, 2012
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Court Date appointed at last
by: Alysia

hi it's me again. thought I'd let you know what is happening. I've been to 2 court ordered mediations since March when this all started, and the judge said he favors resolution rather than going to court, but the other party does not really want to resolve the matter, as the first mediation was a no show, and yet the judge granted them another mediation date, even though the only excuse offered was that they were too busy at work to attend the mediation. So at the 2nd mediation I was offered a store credit for their tires, as that's all they sell.

However before I could get a store credit, I was supposed to tell the BBB I had been satisfied, and then I would get the credit. but that is backwards, as how can you say you are satisfied before you are satisfied? and he could then ignore me totally if I did tell the BBB first. so the mediation was a big flop, and now my court date is set for Oct. 29th and I am writing to the judge about what happened, and feeling like I'm writing too many words about it, but I have all these emotions to control and hope this time I can stop working on this thing and put it behind me, but most of all I am thinking of many others who have been scammed but just feel bad and don't try to get justice. I read others scam stories and I want us all to start getting some justice and only take our cars to honest mechanics who want our repeat business.

May 14, 2012
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honest johns are out there
by: alysia

thank u Mark. it's good to know there are honest mechanics out there. I just used this shop as what could go wrong with a simple oil change? luckily, after researching what was said about the plug, I called to ask advice of a former German auto mechanic who had always treated me good. he shocked me awake to the scam and told me if they didn't want to release my car, get a cop. they had me believing the car was not towable..blah blah blah. my mechanic told me what to say.

He said if the oil pan was off tell them to put it in the trunk..he'd figure it all out. that's really interesting about extractor tools and rubber temporary plugs. Long time ago I did an oil change by myself. this BMW intimidates my amateur skills though with that computer thingee always reminding me I had not changed oil in two years..that's because the last person who changed the oil ripped me off also. I thought it couldn't happen twice. It can! but now no one will touch my car but the guy I trust. this mechanic is always fixing someone else's mistake or scam and he's an inspiration to me also.

May 14, 2012
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BMW broken drain plug
by: Mechanic Mark

Hi Alysia: Thanks for taking the time to post your story. Who knows some one might have the same problem with their drain plug and find your story inspirational and educational as I have. To many times people do not take action (Like you) and in my opinion this only worsens the situation.

As a mechanic that has done thousands of oil changes I can tell you that I am no stranger to drain plug problems. Maybe I'm lucky but I have never replaced an oil pan due to a stripped or broken plug problem. I have a tool from Lyle "Lisle 58850 Oil Pan Plug Rethread Kit" that handles most problems. It has an extractor like you mentioned. As a back up I also have a rubber plug from Dorman that I keep in my toolbox "Dorman 65240 Auto Grade Oil Drain Plug" that I can stuff in, if I need more time and the customer needs to use the car and come back for the proper repair.

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