2011 Ford Focus oil cap left off

Tiny
NEIL1111
  • MEMBER
  • 2011 FORD FOCUS
  • 1.6L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • MANUAL
  • 54,000 MILES
Hi. I had my car serviced about 9 days ago. I noticed an oil patch where I park my car. I opened the bonnet and there was no oil cap. I noticed it running slightly rougher and not as economical as usual.
There isn't a lot of oil left in the engine according to dip stick but no oil light on, on the dash.
What possible or probable damage could have been caused by this?
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Sunday, October 26th, 2014 AT 7:19 AM

1 Reply

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Well, for one thing the hood isn't going to rust out from the bottom!

Call the shop that did the work and let them decide if they want to have the car towed back or if they'll provide some oil and get you a new cap. There's a real good chance the cap is hidden somewhere on the engine. They often fall down into someplace where they can't make it all the way to the ground.

Since the oil pressure warning light never came on, the chance of any serious or permanent damage is pretty remote. Typically when this happens, especially when the owner is polite and understanding, they will get the engine cleaned, the oil at least refilled and possibly drained and refilled, and usually some type of goodwill gesture like a coupon for the next service or something like that.

In a few rare instances a bull-headed employee might try to say you removed the cap on purpose to make it your fault. In the unlikely event it comes to that, insist on speaking with the shop owner first. This will happen to every single mechanic sooner or later, and we respect those who own up to it and solve their mistake. It's the few bad ones who give all of us a bad reputation. Also, a conscientious owner is not going to reprimand the employee because he knows this wasn't done on purpose. What WILL get that employee in trouble is if he lies about it and refuses to take responsibility. The owner may believe him and defend him, then find out later about the lie and coverup. That makes the shop and the owner look bad along with that employee, and shop owners don't want that kind of publicity or employee.

Some uninformed or uneducated employees might want to get your car in right away and do whatever it takes to rectify the problem, but they forget about the importance of having this documented in writing. That just means they should fill out a new repair order and it should have it stated on there that the cap was left off. If they don't do any paperwork and a problem were to develop later, you'd have no proof anything ever happened.

I saw a car once in the late '80s make it over five blocks after the distracted mechanic forgot to put the new oil in. Luckily the owner stopped as soon as the oil light came on, and walked back to the shop. After filling it, he went on a 1,500 mile trip, then came back to tell us everything was fine. At this point there's no reason to think you'll have any problem either.
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Monday, October 27th, 2014 AT 12:28 AM

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