Something doesn't add up. A problem related to changing oil would cause a loud knocking before the engine locked up. Sometimes people don't hear that on the highway, but they do notice the loss of power, and they for sure will hear it when they slow down.
I saw a fellow get angry once when someone tried to convince him he had to change the oil at periodic intervals on his Dodge Omni. The car was five years old and had never had an oil change. He thought people were trying to rip him off! If that engine can go five years without an oil change, I certainly think your car can go six months.
It's time to either get a second opinion, or ask to get the district representative involved. That person will have the authority to make decisions the dealer can't.
The mechanic can only look for problems and causes, and make recommendations. The service advisor has to translate the mechanic's findings and recommend a course of action based on company policy and manufacturer's warranty policy. He has no authority to deviate from these policies. If he thinks you have a legitimate argument, he will get the service manager involved who will get their warranty administrator involved. Between them, they will try to figure out the best way to solve the problem. Beyond the normal warranty, the Chrysler dealership I used to work for had a set number of warranty dollars provided by Chrysler that they could use for customers who's cars were recently out-of-warranty, but they wanted to help. Those bucks were usually used for their regular customers to maintain goodwill. The service manager, and possibly the dealership owner decide what they would like to do, then they look to the warranty administrator to tell them what the manufacturer will reimburse them for. No one likes to work for free, but they also would like to keep you happy so you'll buy your next car from them.
When the service manager can't help, he will set up an appointment with the district representative. That person typically only shows up once a month to meet with customers in person. That's the person who has the authority to override the limitations of the warranty policy. They will want to inspect the engine with the car on a hoist. At the very least, they might offer to cover half of the cost if you pay the other half. Basically that means no one at the manufacturer, dealership, parts warehouse, or company shipping service makes a profit, but it doesn't cost them anything either. That's the way 50 / 50 used car warranties work too. The only person who does not work for free is the mechanic doing the work, but he isn't involved in any part of the decision making process. He just does what he is told to do.
I don't know what the procedure is if you don't like the answer or explanation from the district manager. If you contact the manufacturer directly, they will just refer it to the same person since that's what his job is with the company. I CAN suggest that every once in a while we had an angry screaming customer, (an in my opinion, they were in the wrong most of the time), and they were the people the employees where least likely to try to help. Sob stories don't work either because they've already been tricked too many times. They don't fall for them too often. What always works the best is to stick strictly to the facts. Leave emotion out of the argument as much as possible. It might help to remember that ultimately, you and the dealer are a team working to find the best solution to get your car fixed. If they have a better solution, they will let you know.
Your biggest advocate is the salesperson who sold you the car. We had two of them who had been at the dealership for decades. Every day I saw customers walk in and ask for, ... Not a "salesman". They asked for "Bill". And Bill remembered them. Most people think the salesman's job is to sell you a car, then their job is done. In fact, their job has just started. They must help with picking the right vehicle for your needs, the right options, they hunt for the best prices on package deals and rebates, ... Anything that makes their car more attractive than a competitor's car. Once you sign the paperwork, their job is just getting started. They schedule the cleanup and make sure it's ready on the day you come to take delivery. They show you how to operate unfamiliar features. They take you on a tour of the repair shop and body shop. They introduce you to the people at the service desk and parts counter. Most importantly, if there is a problem later, they will run down to the service desk and do whatever it takes to get your car in for repairs as soon as possible. A big part of their job is following up with any problems after the sale. That's why it might help to enlist the help from your salesman.
I don't know what Nissan's policy is for oil changes, but Chrysler only insists the oil is changed at the prescribed intervals for the warranty to cover oil-related problems. The oil does not even have to be changed at the dealership although they will have the records of their work. It was helpful to have receipts from other shops, but I'm not sure if that was even necessary.
Let me know what the dealer offers or suggests.
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 AT 9:06 PM