DALLAS — The Dallas Jiffy Lube franchise paid the cost of replacing a Dallas resident’s engine, but admits no fault in an incident in which the company was found liable for the damage due to an incomplete oil change.
Wayne Crowder took the corporation that owns the Dallas store to small claims court and won last month. He claimed in court documents that Jiffy Lube, located at 407 E. Ellendale Ave., didn’t replace the oil or put in enough when he took his van for an oil change in April of 2018.
“After the oil change, the Town & Country car engine began tapping and knocking,” Crowder wrote in his notice of small claim. “Upon checking the oil, I found no oil on the dipstick.”
According to the notice, Crowder took it back to Jiffy Lube to show them the problem, but was told to have it evaluated by the car’s dealership and report back so the company could fix the issue.
A letter from Roberson Motors dated June 27, 2018, recommended full engine replacement.
“It has both a lower engine severe knock and severe upper end knock,” wrote Evan Lehman of Roberson Motors Service.
According to the report from the dealership, when a technician took the engine apart to find the source of the failure, “excessive metal debris” was found in the oil pan.
“With the severity of the knock, coupled with running with low, or no oil, we have recommended engine replacement,” Lehman wrote.
The cost to replace the engine came in at $8,813.
Crowder filed the claim with Polk County on Oct. 4, 2018.
“They have yet to keep their word,” he wrote of Jiffy Lube in the claim.
On March 12, Crowder was awarded $9,191.
He said he doesn’t believe the company paid him because they wanted to correct a mistake, but because of the attention his story was getting. He took his complaint to Portland news channel KGW, which aired a story on March 26.
He had a check in hand within two days, personally delivered by the company’s attorney.
“They paid because of the public opinion. It wasn’t because they were wrong, and they know they were wrong. They wanted to try to remove that stigma from the public opinion,” Crowder said after he received the check. “I’m going to still hold them accountable for the mistake that they made and how they treated me when they made the mistake.”
Crowder, a well-known veterans’ advocate in the Salem and Polk County area, said that Jiffy Lube stores all over the region were getting requests from customers that the company fulfill the judgment.
“I’m still ornery, but you know, I believe that when you see injustice and you can do something about it, you need to do it,” Crowder said.
Franchise owner Vince Edwards issued the following statement to KGW for its March 26 story: “Based on our evaluation of the vehicle, both when we performed the initial oil change service as well as when he returned weeks later, the oil level was full. So, we feel strongly that the engine failure was not the result of the oil change service performed.”
He stood by that statement after the payment was made.
“We do not feel that the engine failure was the result of the oil change service performed at Jiffy Lube,” Edwards said on Friday. “Without going into specifics, the judgment was issued without a chance for representation, so we were debating on whether or not to challenge it.”
Crowder said that he had difficulty finding the owner of the franchise and had to ask for an amended judgment once he found the company that owns the Dallas store, Starburst Enterprises 4, based in Portland.
Crowder said he won’t return to another Jiffy Lube, and believes the company should change its process to show customers the engine oil level following an oil change. He also recommended people keep an eye on what is happening with their cars.
“I turned my back on the car and I never should have done that. That just drug this battle out a little bit longer,” Crowder said. “I would encourage people don’t go into those rooms, those waiting room lounges. Stay right there with your car and watch what is going on.”