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Do I have a case against Walmart after they put too much oil in my car and now it will not run ?

Elmira, NY |
Filed under: Oil and gas law

I had an oil change at Walmart . After driving 160 miles my car died on the side of the road . I changed the spark plugs and checked the oil . Two spark plugs were wet with oil and their respective cylinders were full of oil . The oil level was too high . It was way above the hatch marks . I drove the car home and the car had very little power , the engine was running horribly and smoke was billowing out the tailpipe . Walmart denied responsibility . I watched the video of the oil change and it showed what looked like a proper oil change , however the camera was too far away to verify the correct amount of oil was put in . And the view of the oil being taken out was completely blocked . Assuming a certified mechanic verifies damage due to too much oil , will I have a case ?

Attorney Answers 4


You may - the reason I say that is that if your mechanic says that the damage was due to too much oil, Wal-Mart will come back and allege that you added more oil after. Of course the judge may not believe that because who would add oil right after an oil change but who knows. I suggest that you begin by writing a demand letter demanding they pay for the damage. If they don't, you can sue them in small claims court.

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I agree that you may have a case. It is hard to say where the damage occurred, it might have been from them not draining the old oil out of the car. I think a demand letter is a good place to start, but knowing how Walmart operates, I would not expect results, unless you are sending it to the proper person here in Arkansas. I would talk to the manager of the tire and lube department and then the store manager. See if that will get you anywhere. Take them a list of the damages done, some times when dealing with Walmart, things are best left to a good store manager who can help fix problems faster then getting the litigation team involved. Once that happens, which it would with a demand letter, you will need to sue them for the damages.

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You do not make it clear, but it does not seem that you have yet had your vehicle inspected by a mechanic qualified to assess the "cause" of your problem as being due to the work by Walmart's mechanics. Any lawsuit brought by you would require "expert" testimony to support your claim and then there is still no guarantee of success if Walmart offers expert testimony to the contrary. Depending on the value of your car, or the cost of repair, any lawsuit might cost more to prosecute than the amount of claimed damages.

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You will have to pay for expert testimony, likely the lawyer will want upfront money--you've admitted that the shop video shows what looks like a a proper oil change. So it costs of litigation may be high, strength of case appears not so strong--likely there are other facts that will come into play that may impact the outcome--but on what you posted, you do not have a slam dunk. Take care to choose your attorney well. Best of luck to you.

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