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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
No oil level or even oil pressure warning?

2017 Volt approaching 10k miles. About 6 weeks ago the oil life was below 10% and my wife (it's her car) wanted to get the oil changed to be rid of the frequent dash messages. So she called the dealer and the best they could do was 2 weeks out. We work at the same place and a reputable tire chain shop was walking distance so we had them do the oil change. ..... Seemed fine, but 5 weeks later while driving to work the message "Propulsion Power is Reduced" appeared. We had driven separately that day so I wasn't present, but doesn't matter, she saw what she saw (and took a pic) and it was present later when I investigated.

I researched a little and read about the battery being below the desired minimum charge can cause this message .... so when I got a free moment turned the car on and put into mountain mode so that the engine/generator would charge the battery*. After 2 minutes the revs increase significantly and it was vibrating and rattling. A minute later I saw smoke coming from the engine bay. Shut down immediately.

Called dealer, made apt for first thing in the morning. Drove the car 2 blocks to a Whole Foods to charge it so that the drive to drop off at the dealer would be battery only. That evening, upon arriving home I noticed that the parking space had a puddle of oil under where the front of the Volt had been. Pretty sure this was a very fresh event.

Next Day.
Dealer calls informing us that the crankcase oil was empty and it leaked out through the oil filter (Penzoil). The Filter that the shop had used was the correct one but the gasket seal shrunk or failed somehow. I'll add a pic and some info later. I have the filter.

The good news is that after replacing filter and oil etc, no damage had been done and we were only out $225. This was not warranty because a third party's oil filter was the cause. The engine could have been badly damaged and one can only imagine what the cost might have been.

========= getting to the point now :) ============

The major question I have is, and I asked the service guy who did not directly answer, why did we not get any message on the dash in any form that indicated that the oil was way low? "Propulsion Power is Reduced" is all we got and is irrelevant and misleading. How about OIL LEVEL TOO LOW, or at least an oil pressure too low warning. To me this is a very serious issue.

=======================================

Thanks, Bob


*Live in a condo apartment situation, underground parking, no electric outlets, so we are not charging the car daily as most are able to do. Therefore it is at the minimum most of the time.
 

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The Gen 1 ICE doesn't have an oil level sensor, so the Gen 2 probably doesn't have one either.
See if there's a part number on the Penzoil filter to see if it's correct for the Volt.
 

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From my 2011 Owner's Manual. I see basically the same in the 2017 Owners Manual.

Engine Oil Pressure Light
WARNING
Do not keep driving if the oil pressure is low. The engine can become so hot that it catches fire. Someone could be burned. Check the oil as soon as possible and have the vehicle serviced.

The oil pressure light should come on briefly as the vehicle is started.
If it does not come on have the vehicle serviced by your dealer.

If the light comes on and stays on, it
means that oil is not flowing through the engine properly. The vehicle could be low on oil and might
have some other system problem.
See your dealer.

Notice: Lack of proper engine oil maintenance can damage the
engine. The repairs would not be covered by the vehicle warranty. Always follow the maintenance
schedule for changing engine oil.

P.S. I'd say the guy who serviced the Volt screwed up. Give them the repair bill.

I once had oil changed (not the Volt) by one of those quick lube places. They forgot to tighten the drain plug and my oil light came on not far from leaving their business.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the reply El Dobro. The dealer verified that the oil filter was correct. I can understand not having an oil level sensor, but oil pressure? Perhaps there was just enough oil to satisfy the sensor. That's scary low though.
 

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Thanks for the reply El Dobro. The dealer verified that the oil filter was correct. I can understand not having an oil level sensor, but oil pressure? Perhaps there was just enough oil to satisfy the sensor. That's scary low though.
This was the way the OLD VW Beetles operated...oil pressure sensor only...
 

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...Dealer calls informing us that the crankcase oil was empty and it leaked out through the oil filter (Penzoil). The Filter that the shop had used was the correct one but the gasket seal shrunk or failed somehow...
I always use OEM filters because of problems like this with after-market ones.
 

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See if Penzoil has an 800 number and call them. They may come up with something too.
 

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I'm surprised (like you) that with NO OIL, the oil pressure warning light was not on. Make sure it comes on briefly when you start the car ("lamp test") but I wonder if there could be a fault somewhere that is preventing the warning when oil pressure actually is low?

Only way to test it would be to drain the oil and start the engine, if that was the case I would have that test done by the dealer.

What I would really like to see is if the car detects low oil pressure, it illuminates the low oil warning indicator, and if there is battery charge remaining, shuts off the engine and runs on battery only from that point.
 

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I'd like to see a photo showing how the filter leaked. Maybe it was double gasketed.
 

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I'd like to see a photo showing how the filter leaked. Maybe it was double gasketed.
Here is another reason why I like to change my own oil. Over the many years of doing so, I have found gaskets remaining in/on the engine block. Not looking for the old gasket and removing same could lead to leaks. It has happened on my son's tractor when he neglected to verify that the old gasket had been removed.

The OP's experience with the dealer refusing to invoke a warranty due to a third party filter being the cause is a reason to buy a GM filter when it is time to replace the oil. The pennies saved with a third party filter are not worth the potential trouble getting a warranty claim accepted IMHO.
 

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Here is another reason why I like to change my own oil. Over the many years of doing so, I have found gaskets remaining in/on the engine block. Not looking for the old gasket and removing same could lead to leaks. It has happened on my son's tractor when he neglected to verify that the old gasket had been removed.

The OP's experience with the dealer refusing to invoke a warranty due to a third party filter being the cause is a reason to buy a GM filter when it is time to replace the oil. The pennies saved with a third party filter are not worth the potential trouble getting a warranty claim accepted IMHO.
I'm not sure it's because it's a third party oil filter, but third party service that was ultimately screwed up. Because let's face it, if an oil filter is correct for the engine and correctly installed - it's not going to let the oil leak out in a short time the engine is running.
 

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GM does not manufacture oil filters. They are made by the same companies that manufacture other brand name filters. There is no problem to using an aftermarket filter, and they are often higher quality than OEM. If you install the wrong one, or, install it wrong...

$225 is pretty steep for an oil change at the dealer.
 

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GM does not manufacture oil filters. They are made by the same companies that manufacture other brand name filters. There is no problem to using an aftermarket filter, and they are often higher quality than OEM. If you install the wrong one, or, install it wrong...

$225 is pretty steep for an oil change at the dealer.
Probably 1-1.5 hrs of "diagnostic time" built into that quote. Which was probably more like 15 mins of putting it on the lift and looking at it with a flashlight.

My bet is that the oil filter was loose, but the dealership didn't want to point the blame since it seems the engine survived and didn't want to get into a he said-she said thing (although you could have significant bearing wear based on the amount of time it was running).
 

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GM does not manufacture oil filters. They are made by the same companies that manufacture other brand name filters. There is no problem to using an aftermarket filter, and they are often higher quality than OEM. If you install the wrong one, or, install it wrong...

$225 is pretty steep for an oil change at the dealer.
Not all oil filters are the same, even though they all may pass the applicable SAE tests. But, I am unable to determine those with quality materials and quality design. Because of this, I (and I suspect most on this board) cannot determine which ones are of best quality. I looked into this many, many moons ago and offer this information to the group as an eye-opener. I decided long ago that it made sense to use the auto manufacturer’s recommended oil filter with the hope that it would be of sufficient quality to protect the ICE for the length of time I would own the automobile.

To understand that there may be differences, this article points that out:

https://www.knowyourparts.com/technical-resources/filtration/oil-filters-quality-matters/

Here is a third party investigation into materials/construction of oil filters for a particular ICE that demonstrates the problem most people will have in finding a quality oil filter. It is an old study, circa 1996 I think.

http://www.austincc.edu/wkibbe/oilfilterstudy.htm

Because of this I rarely use any other oil filter other than the auto manufacturer’s brand. Finding GM oil filters for “reasonable” prices isn’t difficult using the “interwebs”. 8^)
 

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GM does not manufacture oil filters. They are made by the same companies that manufacture other brand name filters. There is no problem to using an aftermarket filter, and they are often higher quality than OEM. If you install the wrong one, or, install it wrong...

$225 is pretty steep for an oil change at the dealer.
You may be using a superior quality brand, but no brand has perfect quality control, and a defective unit could get through. In that case, the fact that it is a non-GM part is all the reason they need to deny warranty coverage.
 

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The OP can always contact Pennzoil as to what their warranty is.
 
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