Today’s featured service is oil pan replacement on a 2000 VW Jetta GLX, brought to us by a client from Steveston, Richmond.
This Jetta was towed to our shop with a very serious concern: there was no oil in the engine. The oil light had come on suddenly after the owner filled the gas tank at a gas station near their home. The car was then driven several blocks to their house. Checking the dipstick found no reading. Oil was added to the engine but it ran straight out the bottom.
Putting the car on our shop hoist revealed the cause: there was a hole in the engine oil pan.
At this point we had a dilemma on our hands and it required a conversation with our client. What we faced was a possibly, permanently damaged engine, however it might also be simply repaired by replacing the oil pan and adding oil. Knowing how long the engine had been run with the oil light on was crucial information. Apparently it had been several blocks. This is more than enough time to fatally wound an engine.
We decided that the best approach would be to first remove the oil pan and inspect. If we found no bits of metal in the pan then there would be a good chance that the engine might survive. Fortunately we found nothing but a few drops of oil in the bottom of the pan. The odds of renewed life for this engine were good.
Upon completion of repairs we fired up the engine. It started but ran very roughly and made a lot of noise. Given a few minutes the noise went away and the engine smoothed out: it sounded like a normal V6 VW engine. Our client was lucky.
We still don’t really know the extent of any possible damage and at some point this engine may fail.
What is important with this story is your oil light: if it comes on with your engine running shut off the engine immediately, or as soon as it is safe to do so. This is critical. Next determine the cause. First check your oil level and if it is low add oil 1 liter at a time until it reads properly on the dipstick. Once the level is confirmed good, restart the engine and if the light remains on tow in your vehicle for repairs.
The VW Jetta GLX V6 engine uses an aluminum oil pan and it can be broken very easily if it hits something. Bottoming out this car is not an option. Based on the easy availability of this part from numerous aftermarket sources this concern is obviously very common. If you own one of these vehicles, be careful.
For more information on the VW V6 engine click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VR6_engine
For more about the VW Jetta click here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Jetta