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Check Engiine Light after oil change ! HELP!


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17 replies to this topic

#1 darrenandlouise

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 10:35 PM

My wife and I brought our very well cared for 1998 Subaru Outback to the local MR. LUBE for the required oil change (per COAST TO COAST warranty).
The very minute the oil change was done and the guy had me start the car, the CHECK ENGINE light was on. I asked him what he did and he said "nothing". We looked under the hood and nothing seemed out of place. I had him get his boss and that guy said that it will probably shut off after a few days. I had him write on the reciept that the light came on onyl AFTER the oil change was done.
Does anyone have any ideas or tips as to what went wrong?
Is there anything down under the engine that the dummy down below in the pit could have unplugged?
We take good care of this car so it sucks to have the CHECK ENGINE light on because some guy was rough with treatment of our car while changing the oil. Seems like quite the coincidence
for it to come on the very second after the oil was changed.
Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. The Subaru dealer is 1 hour away and the car has to be left overnight

May have to make MR> LUBE pay

#2 The Dude

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 10:59 PM

... if the low oil pressure light when on for JUST a few seconds, and then went out, that's probably normal. It it stayed on, why then you could have real nasty problem on your hands. It is not unheard of for "quick oil change" places to drain the automatic transmission or the front differential, and then add four additional quarts to the oil which was NOT drained from the engine. So, to recap the situation- AT or front diff-bone dry, engine incredibily hyperfilled with about 9 quarts of oil. This situation is not compatible with the continued long term operation of your car.

If this is the case , NEVER, I say NEVER, trust your beloved Sube to this yo-yo again.

#3 Danbob99

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 11:45 PM

generaly, people employed at the quicke lube places arent total idiots, but you never know.

a chech engine light shouldn't ever come on with just an oil change, its not a good thing. My suggestion is that you check your chiltons manual or something of the sort and find out how to show the check engine light flash codes, the book should have a few pages on that. All it will be is crossing 2 terminals in the diagnostics plug deal, (in your car i beleive its under a lil cover just above your left knee under the dash.) and that'll make the check engine light flash.... ex: - -- would be 12

If your not comfortable with this, talk to quickie lube, and a lawyer, to have them cover costs for the dealership to run diagnostics. (70$+- if you are in a position to cover that sort of a cost go for it and bring the results to quicki lube) regardless, your check engine lite shouldn't be on, for any reason surounding an oil change.

#4 myles

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:51 AM

Originally posted by darrenandlouise
My wife and I brought our very well cared for 1998 Subaru Outback to the local MR. LUBE for the required oil change (per COAST TO COAST warranty).
The very minute the oil change was done and the guy had me start the car, the CHECK ENGINE light was on. I asked him what he did and he said "nothing". We looked under the hood and nothing seemed out of place. I had him get his boss and that guy said that it will probably shut off after a few days. I had him write on the reciept that the light came on onyl AFTER the oil change was done.
Does anyone have any ideas or tips as to what went wrong?
Is there anything down under the engine that the dummy down below in the pit could have unplugged?
We take good care of this car so it sucks to have the CHECK ENGINE light on because some guy was rough with treatment of our car while changing the oil. Seems like quite the coincidence
for it to come on the very second after the oil was changed.
Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. The Subaru dealer is 1 hour away and the car has to be left overnight

May have to make MR> LUBE pay



Why are you jumping to conclusions? Take the car to Autozone (if possible, I see you're in Canada) and have the code pulled for free.

Don't assume the tech. is a "dummy", either. I'm trying not to make assumptions about _your_ character and IQ.

#5 subyroo

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 04:34 AM

I am curious as to why "My wife and I brought our very well cared for 1998 Subaru Outback to the local MR. LUBE for the required oil change (per COAST TO COAST warranty)."

Because if you really cared for your Subaru then wouldn't you want it cared for by a Subaru Trained Techie instead of a "quickie".
I doubt very much that COAST TO COAST could argue against a Subaru Trained Techie servicing the car either.

#6 howards11

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 09:23 AM

The CEL can come on (and does come on) if the gas cap was loose or not properly tightened. It can take several trips for it to clear once the problem has been resolved.
QUESTION: Did you check the gas cap ?
Take it off and put it back on again.


~Howard
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#7 mtsmiths

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:27 AM

Maybe they knocked the wire loose mucking about under your baby. Oil changes is about the only thing I go to the dealer for, too many scare stories about lube monkies; and if you watch the ads there is usually a sale so the cost is only a few bucks more.

#8 frag

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:34 AM

It's a long shot and probably not the case, but i had once a temporary CEL after spilling some coolant on the cam position sensor. Since it's just under the oil fill tube, maybe they spilled oil on it.
Like I said a long shot, but if you ever pull the code and it's for the cam sensor, it will be because of that.

#9 drquasievil

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 10:50 AM

Why don't you clear the code and drive the car. If the engine light does not come on, then you are fine. Why do people jump into conclusion so fast?

#10 Commuter

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 12:55 PM

Have the code read (somehow, someway, someone) first to see what the heck it even is. I bought a code reader on sale at Canadian Tire Corp last year for $150. It's more than proving to be worth the purchase right now as I continue to have an EGR code come up.

Try and find someone in your area. Perhaps post on the Canadian forum of nasioc. There has got to be someone in your area. I know I'd read the code for you if you were near by. I had someone do the same for me before I got my reader.

I'm surprised no one mentioned it as there was a recent thread on this topic. An empty oil filter while first cranking the engine over might have been enough to trip the knock sensor. Is it driving any differently? Feel sluggish at all?

And I concur with the earlier comments. Pick another spot to have your oil changes done. Use a quality oil and filter. I know a guy in my city (not just hearsay) that took his Forester to one of those places. They drained the front differential in error. Half an hour later, the vehicle died. Messed up the automatic transmission as well. $10,000 bill (Cdn) at the end of the day to the 'quickie' lube place.

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#11 hb_kim

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:01 PM

Originally posted by drquasievil
Why don't you clear the code and drive the car. If the engine light does not come on, then you are fine. Why do people jump into conclusion so fast?



Because we've been there so many times.

And I think I know why. They don't care about our cars as much as we do.

How many times did you let quicky lube guys change oil/ATF/gear lube and later find the all levels are correct? Or do they ever bleed & replace old brake fluid while they change your pads like you would do if you did it yourself?

I am totally dumb at car stuffs. But I try to DIY as much as possible because of that reason .They simply don't care as much as we do.

On the other hand, I think we care too much about our cars. ;)
But that's another subject.

#12 Exotic_Scoob

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:18 PM

The old knock sensor!! I was also suprised it took so long for someone to mention that.

Subarus have hyper-sensitive knock sensors in them. Occasionally, immediately after the oil change, the knock sensor will get a bad reading because there's a little bit of a rattle off the empty oil filter. PULL THE CODES (as they said before Autozone will do it for free, so will many other parts stores) to know for sure. If you can't get to a store with an ODBII tester, reset the computer (pull the neg. terminal on the battery for a minute) and restart the car.

Most people don't realize this, but "check engine" lights really don't mean much. 9/10 times, it's a dying sensor or an electrical short or something of that sort. Rarely do they actually signify a real problem with the engine. The only thing the engine computer manages is the emisisons sensors, so the only problems it can alert you to are ones involving these sensors.

This may not actually be the quicky-luber's fault. Research it first. If it's the knock sensor, just get the new one and install it. I doubt you'll be able to hold them liable for anything. That doesn't change the fact that you should never take a subaru (or any car for that matter) to the quicky-lubes. If you can, change the oil yourself from now on.

#13 frag

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 01:54 PM

Exotic... I think you're right in thinking the knocK sensor is a possible culprit, but I beg to differ about ...

"check engine" lights really don't mean much. 9/10 times, it's a dying sensor


In saying that, you are factualy right. Indeed the check engine light is a result of a sensor not performing correctly. But it MATTERS much in my opinion.
The last time I ignored a CEL (When i was driving a Loyale and was not aware of what it meant: my previous car did not have an ECU) i was left stranded, mercifully just BEFORE I entered a 2kilometer long bridge. It was for the coolant temp sensor.
Modern engines are electronically controlled and the ECU controls them relying on info gathered from all those sensors. Most sensor's failure can at a point or other prevent the car from starting or have it stop functionning at the worst place or moment.
I would never take a CEL lightly (pun intended)

#14 Exotic_Scoob

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:12 PM

frag: dude, you're right, I totally phrased that wrong.

The point I was trying to make is that if you get a CEL, you should take a deep breath, rest easy knowing it's not telling you the engine's about to fall out the bottom of the car (cause the Computer wouldn't be able to tell you if it was) and get someone to pull the codes of the computer.

Trouble shoot the problem. Depending on the car, the dying sensor have no more effect on things than making the car drive a little bit stupid. I've had more CELs than I can count and the worst that I've ever had happen is I used to have to do this circus act on the gas pedal every time I started my legacy in the morning because the coolant temp sensor was dead. And from my experience of working at Autozone for years, most CELs aren't nearly as scary as people think they are.

Sorry about the confusion guys!

#15 99obw

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:25 PM

I like to think of the MIL as the user interface for the car's computer sytem.

MIL illumination is not always caused by a failed sensor, misfires for example.

#16 ejlain

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:49 PM

Seems like the poster is really getting some good advice in this forum. I agree that probably the best thing to do is..stop...take a step back and try a few simple things.

Try resetting the ECU...it's as easy as disconnecting the neg. battery cable for a half hour or so on a saturday morning, reconnecting and taking a drive. If the CEL still comes on...try pulling the codes...It could be any number of things, some of them MIGHT have occurred at the Lube place..but some of the things might be normal wear and tear things that by pure COINCIDENCE happened at the time of oil change.

I would try the simple things first.

Hope this helps.

Ed

#17 JaapH

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 05:21 PM

If you don't pre-charge the new oil filter with oil , the engine will make sounds for a while that trigger the sensitive knocksensor.

#18 cookie

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Posted 16 March 2004 - 07:11 PM

possible that the low oil pressure may have triggered this by the famous weird knock sensor.
It seems to me I have heard of this being an oddball Subaru problem.
I suppose it is also possible that the low oil pressure triggered it.
I would have it checked ASAP by a competant Subaru mechanic as this might end up in court.
Good chance it will be minor, it is also possible they knocked off a sensor wire.




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