At what point of oil loss should my oil/engine light come on?

Courtney White

Asked by Oct 16, 2015 at 08:29 AM about the 2013 Ford Escape

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

13 Answers

Tom Harmon

Oil level or Oil pressure ? I thought it only had an "Oil pressure" light .. that should come on around 10 lbs or less .. not sure~~~~ If it comes on stop the car ASAP or you may do serious damage to the engine

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Courtney White

Tom, I have a 2013 Ford Escape that I purchased in May of this year. I took it to an oil change place (not the dealer) and over the course of the next 2 1/2 weeks, oil was leaking into the engine. I had no idea since nothing was on the ground. The engine light didn't come on until the car lurched and started knocking (ticking like a machine gun) and the oil light NEVER came on. By the time we checked the oil and saw there was none in the vehicle, it was too late, the engine was destroyed. Since I had the oil changed at a place other than the dealer, they will not honor my extended warranty. I understand it was the fault of the oil change place for a faulty filter/application, but shouldn't the engine or oil light have come on as some kind of warning with that much oil loss? This is the fourth time I have had the vehicle serviced since I purchased it; all for different issues. Any problem I have noticed, I IMMEDIATELY take it in to be serviced. Had the engine or oil light come on, this could have been avoided. What should I do?

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Tom Harmon

The first thing to do is to say nothing to no one until you get all your documentation because the minute you call your seller the "cone of silence" will drop and you won't be able to find out anything. When you say "it leaked into the engine" ... I don't understand what that means. Oil can leak into the antifreeze or leak int the combustion chamber but that term is a mystery to me. What other issues have you had? Sometimes an alarm .like Low oil will be stored on your cars computer even if you failed to get it on your display. If that's retrieved then you may be able to prove your case with Ford. I'm at a loss to understand what happended however it's possible the guy who changed your oil failed to put the drain screw in properly or he may have even cross threaded it (easy to check ,,, get under there and remove it ... look for shavings. are you absolutely sure it ran out? Is it possible a dis-grunted acquaintance didn't do it ( If it were vandalism than your covered by insurance)

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Tom Harmon

Sorry ... but you posted information while I was writing so that puts a different spin on things, Keep the filter .. it's essential evidence ... if the filter failed and put debris in your engine the the debris could have blocked or even ruined your pressure switch ... that in turn could have caused the alarm not to work

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Courtney White

The service tech at the Ford dealer saved the filter and said that the splash guard was covered in oil as well and that it was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the fault of the oil change company. The owner of the oil change place is being extremely uncooperative and says he won't do anything because is says on their receipts "If there is a problem with the vehicle after the oil change, they must inspect it first." Don't all oil change places have that verbiage on their receipts? Furthermore, the warranty says that the vehicle needs to be brought there first for inspection. What a mess. There was absolutely no indication that the car was losing oil until what I described earlier. When I checked the oil, it wasn't even registering on the ball of the dipstick...

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Courtney White

This was approximately 2.5 weeks after the date of the oil change.

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Tom Harmon

Get the filter from the Ford guy .. take pictures. Pay no attention to what the receipt says, it's not legal and even if he claimed it is ... it's not signed or notarized. Take the position the oil filter sent debris through the engine that resulted in the oil safety switch to failing FYI ;;; writing anything on paper has no legality unless it's witnessed and signed

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Bob Beaman

You do not need advise from people here on CarGurus, you need to get an attorney involved ASAP.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

This is definitely for the courts to decide. The next person you need to talk to is an attorney!! From where I sit the oil change place is liable. They will in turn file a claim against the vendor who sold them the defective oil filter. This is going to get ugly fast. It's also going to take awhile to get straightened out. Not trying to be a wise guy but I hope you have another vehicle. This could be tied up in court for months! HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Let me take a wild guess... Jiffy Lube? That chain has a bad reputation already and case law will bury them.Toast. And Jim... maybe years. .... Bob - absolutely right. ...--Tom....- Good advice. --- Courtney do not say another word until you talk to a lawyer. Best wishes to you Courtney, you got screwed without dinner and a movie

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Is it possible the oil changer simply failed to put new oil in after draining out the old? Will a 'low oil pressure' measuring device work if there is no oil pressure at all? Maybe they only indicate low pressure rather than no pressure! I don't have any answers, just questions. Good luck.


I don't know if your car has a low oil warning. My Subaru does but your oil light may only be for low oil pressure. It sounds like the oil change place did not fill it up with oil or left the filter loose so that the oil leaked out.


Courtney - the dealer cannot void the warranty for not having them change the oil. If that is what they said they are lying. Legally you can maintain your car ANYWHERE you want to and you have the receipts to prove that you did.

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