The proper thing would have been to call them right away, because the longer you wait, the more they could legitimately assume someone else did something in the meantime to cause the problem. Be sure to contact them as soon as possible so this doesn't become an issue. People have been known to pull stunts like this to force the shop to pay for pre-existing engine conditions they couldn't know about.
They are going to appreciate you not being rude or angry, as most customer would be. I know how things like this can happen to the best of people. That's why they deserve the chance to correct their mistake. First, tell them what happened and where it happened. If there's any doubt on their part, they can see the oil on the ground where this took place. Someone from the shop, either the owner or a manager, will usually be the person you're speaking with. Let them decide how to handle this. It might simply involve an employee coming to the vehicle first to see what happened. If the Oil cap was left off, this can be a simple matter of refilling the oil, replacing the cap, then having you bring the vehicle in at your convenience to let them clean up the mess. They might approach this the same way if the filter had a double gasket, but it can be impossible to crawl underneath the see or fix that without being on a hoist. In that case they may call a tow truck.
Regardless how this is handled, there should be a repair order written or some means of documenting the need for the follow-up service. If any serious engine damage occurred already, you'll hear knocking or banging noises from the engine. The shop will need to pay for that repair. It's more common that no serious damage occurred, in which case there's no need for further action beyond cleaning the mess. It's when damage has occurred that no one has a way of knowing right now that we worry about. That will usually show up within a day or two, but it can take longer. The longer any hidden damage takes to show up, the harder it becomes to prove it was caused by the oil change.
The best thing you have going in your favor if that happens is the written documentation, meaning the repair order or the receipt they give you spelling out the cleanup service they performed. I worked for a very nice family-owned Chrysler dealership in the '90s. Everything we did to a vehicle got documented. Chrysler was well-known for taking care of things long after the car was out of warranty. As long as an intermittent problem was documented during the warranty period, Chrysler would take care of it even if it took years to become a permanently occurring problem that could be diagnosed. Without the written repair order spelling out the problem, you're on your own as it would be considered a normal breakdown due to age or mileage.
If the shop doesn't write up a new repair order, ask them to give you a short written note with a manager's signature spelling out what happened. You can even type that up yourself to protect you. This doesn't have to be fancy or long. It is just a means of proving the incident occurred in case follow-up repairs are needed.
Monday, September 18th, 2023 AT 6:33 PM