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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 18th May 2011
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Zuiko Zuiko is offline
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A Day Of Disasters

I should have guessed what the day would be like when we had a power cut at 9.00 am. We had received a letter informing us of this (maintenance apparently) but I’d forgotten and wondered why the kettle was taking so long to boil!

No real problems for the rest of the morning but at 2 o’clock I drove into Dunmow to collect a prescription. My car had been serviced on Monday and was running sweet, until the oil warning light came on. There was just half a mile to the car park on the edge of town, where I stopped to check the oil – there wasn’t any, except for the last few drips that fell from under the engine to form a tiny pool on the tarmac. The garage I use was less than two miles away so I phoned them for help. They were apologetic and sympathetic but apparently didn’t have anyone to spare for the five minute drive and suggested I phone the AA.

I didn’t want to call out the AA for such a simple matter so I walked about a mile to Tesco’s to buy some oil, reasoning that if I refilled it I should be able to drive the short distance to the garage. Having filled it I started the engine and woosh, out it all spurted within a couple of minutes! It seemed I did need the AA after all.

Having successfully navigated the recorded options to speak to a real advisor I was disappointed that my phone cut out because the battery was low. I turned it off for a few minutes, then on again to quickly phone my wife (who by then was home from work) to ask for help.

Her phone was on charge at the time so she brought our daughter’s phone, which had all three bars of the battery indicator lit. I didn’t want to delay Debbie so having taken delivery of the phone I sent her home. It was only after she’d left that I remembered that Freya’s phone has a touch screen, which I find extremely difficult to use, but eventually I succeeded in dialling the right number, only for the call to end prematurely through lack of credit. On screen was a message that I only had 60 seconds of credit left. Had it allowed me to continue for those precious seconds I might have been able to complete the call.

I could have walked in to town to top up at the Cashpoint but my fingers and that phone really do not get on (mental note not to buy a camera with a touch screen) and I’d had enough. I used those last few seconds to phone Debbie again, intending to go home to charge my own phone before returning later to my stricken car. She arrived with good news; her phone had finished charging and she had brought it for me. I could continue with my quest to contact the AA after all and once again sent her home.

It was never going to be that simple and yet again I was cursed with a phone with no credit, but at least it was one I could use and it had a full battery. This time I felt the walk into town to top it up would be worth it and eventually I did get through to the AA. By then it was peak rush-hour and the AA were very busy, with an estimated 90 minute wait.

The AA man quickly identified the cause of the problem, the seal on the new oil filter was faulty, and he towed my car to the garage where I’ve left it for them to deal with tomorrow. He kindly gave me a lift home where I arrived some five hours after leaving for a round trip that should have taken about half an hour.
At least the power was back on and the kettle soon boiled for a much needed cup of tea!
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Old 19th May 2011
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Commiseration fella, that's a string of 'shouldn't have happened's.
It also makes me doubly glad to have mechanical experience with cars!
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Oh dear, poor John. I hope today is going to be a better day... at least the sun is shining this morning John
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post

At least the power was back on and the kettle soon boiled for a much needed cup of tea!
After that, I'd have needed a large double of something stronger, John!
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

I guess you will be using that garage again then - surely they should have spotted that during the alleged road test that garages do?

Hope you have a better day today!

Gerry
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

John - Sorry about your lousy day I've had a few of those type days in my life - I can laugh at them now,but at the time they were far from funny
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Old 19th May 2011
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Whenever I change my oil, filer and sump-plug washer I spend a bit of time looking for leaks before driving away ... and then check it again a bit later. Garages sometimes cannot afford the time to do that when there's a lot of work on, and so rely on the good success rate. Anomalies are bound to happen sometimes, like the oil filter ring getting pinched or misaligning. Probably a <1% thing but terribly unlucky for John.
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Thanks for all the sympathy, guys. It was a cr*p day but to put it in perspective, whilst I was wasting my time walking to Tescos and the bank and sitting in my car listening to music whilst waiting for the AA, someone, somewhere, was receiving bad news about the loss of a loved one. Having stared into the abyss several year's ago whilst suffering badly with depression, I now tend to take a more sanguine view of these minor calamities and count my blessings.

I am annoyed at the garage, I accept that anyone can make a mistake and they have served me well for over ten years but it was the lack of support when I was less then two miles from them that really disappointed me. It's not rocket science if oil is leaking from a recently serviced engine, the most likely causes are a badly fitting filter or the sump plug not tightened. I'd have thought they could have found half an hour for someone to drive out with a spanner, a new filter and a bottle of oil. If that wasn't the problem then OK, get it recovered by the AA.

I was always very committed to customer service during my banking days (shame my employers weren't, in more recent years). I remember once, when working at a sub branch I forgot to collect a foreign curreny order from the main branch for a custmer going on holiday. The next day would be too late for them as they had an early flight, so I arranged to collect the currency after work and deliver it to them at home. From initially being angry and worried the customer was really appreciative of the effort I made to put things right.
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

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Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
I am annoyed at the garage, I accept that anyone can make a mistake and they have served me well for over ten years but it was the lack of support when I was less then two miles from them that really disappointed me. It's not rocket science if oil is leaking from a recently serviced engine, the most likely causes are a badly fitting filter or the sump plug not tightened. I'd have thought they could have found half an hour for someone to drive out with a spanner, a new filter and a bottle of oil. If that wasn't the problem then OK, get it recovered by the AA.
You are quite right about customer service (or the lack of it) these days John. Unfortunately the bean counters see customer service as an expense that they can do without, and which isn't guaranteed to bring in a return within the same reporting period. In other words, it is short sightedness of the worst kind.

As far as your garage is concerned I suspect they were afraid of admitting liability if they recovered your car, so it was safer for them to leave it to the AA. Just make sure that there is no permanent damage, as running an engine for even a few seconds without oil will damage the soft metal big end and main bearings, and possibly the camshaft bearings as well. (Camshafts usually run directly in the soft alloy head.) Piston scuffing is also a risk.
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

John what a grotty day ! dreadful events tumbling to defeat your objective. I hope you did get to enjoy the radio ? the rest ? maybe got a shot ? As you say "it could have been much worse" its just a car afterall

I most sincerely hope your car is not devastatingly damaged its not the no oil, but the heat damaging metals !

they say bad things come in three's - so thats your lot+a few more for ages !
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Got the car back this morning, this time with a correctly fitted filter. I'm hopeful theire is no long term damage, I hadn't gone far since the oil light came on and the temperature gauge hadn't risen beyond its normal level. The AA man reckoned that for the short distance I did there would have been enough oil coating the parts in the engine. Trouble is, if anything wears out faster than it should it would be difficult to attribute it tthis incident.

At least I'm mobile again and was able to visit Hatfield Forest to check how it is looking for our meet on Saturday.
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Good News
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

I'm really sorry to hear of your bad day and I hope everything is sorted out. I hope a faulty oil filter seal isn't a euphemism for "oil filter not tightened up properly!"
Today was a lousy day for me too. I took my Volvo in to the garage to have the cam drive belt replaced prior to this year's holiday in France. At 12:30pm I got a call from the garage and I was told that on inspection I had a very poorly car as the head gasket had gone and water was leaking out of the rear of the joint. I had suspected something might be amiss due to the slight amount of white sludge on the dipstick but thought it may be just condensation caused by short journeys.
So now I face a £1200 bill as opposed to the £250 I was expecting to have to pay. If I don't fix it the car is basically worth scrap value!!
How do I feel? Well please feel free to add your own ideas in the space below,
"I'm totally and utterly completely *********** flaming *********** utterly ***********ruddy well ***************** completely ******* so **** hopelessly ******* HACKED OFF"

Still, it could have gone on me while on holiday so that's some consolation but not much
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Paul sorry to hear this ! BUT glad it did not happen in France ! Can they fix it in time for your hols ?

I would using every blinking **** **** word too !
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Old 19th May 2011
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Re: A Day Of Disasters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuiko View Post
Got the car back this morning, this time with a correctly fitted filter. I'm hopeful theire is no long term damage, I hadn't gone far since the oil light came on and the temperature gauge hadn't risen beyond its normal level. The AA man reckoned that for the short distance I did there would have been enough oil coating the parts in the engine. Trouble is, if anything wears out faster than it should it would be difficult to attribute it tthis incident.

At least I'm mobile again and was able to visit Hatfield Forest to check how it is looking for our meet on Saturday.
Quote:
I hope a faulty oil filter seal isn't a euphemism for "oil filter not tightened up properly!"
I suspect it will be, but hopefully the engine will be OK. Remarkably little oil is required to keep metal surfaces apart, especially with modern oils, but engine oil also provides an important cooling function in modern engines.

Things to watch and listen out for are a heavy knocking sound from the engine, the oil light flickering at tick over when the engine is hot, and puffs of blue smoke from the exhaust. These will show up quite quickly, but it might be worth getting something in writing now just in case you do have problems in the future. If it starts to sound like a diesel you are in trouble!

The good news is that a competent Engineer would easily be able to spot the effects of a lube oil failure in a stripped down engine as they are quite distinct.

For future reference, the oil light switch on road cars comes on at anything below about 4 PSI, which is very little, and usually just confirms what you already know from the horrible sounds coming from the engine.

Normal oil pressure is about 40 to 60 PSI at road speeds, but lower at tickover. If the oil light comes on when you are driving, dip the clutch, select neutral, and stop as quickly as it is safe to do so. Then, and only then switch the engine off immediately. That way, if the engine should seize it will not have the kinetic energy of the car to totally wreck it! However, do not switch off the engine until you are stationary as that will affect the brake servo and power steering, and may lock the steering altogether!
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