5 On Your Side

Wake County Couple Dealing With Dipstick Dilemma

Posted December 21, 2005 6:35 a.m. EST

— An oil change is part of any car's regular maintenance, but when the job requires a repair after it's done, you have got a problem. When a Wake County couple could not get their problem resolved, Five on Your Side came to the rescue.

Rob Lichtman's wife took her 2002 Nissan Sentra to this Wakefield Commons Jiffy Lube for an oil change. The mechanic had a problem with the dipstick.

"It was lodged down. It dropped all the way down," Lichtman said.

Mechanics tried to get it out, but could not. Litchman said a manager suggested he call Nissan to find out if there was some sort of recall on the dipstick because his mechanics had experienced the problem before.

Lichtman said the manager agreed to pay for the repairs if Nissan did not.

"He did say it was not a big deal. It was no problem. There was no hurry on it," he said. "Just it needed to be done before she got her next oil change so they could do that."

When it was time for the next oil change, Lichtman called Nissan and was told there was not a recall, so he went back to Jiffy Lube.

"He again told us the same thing, 'Go get an estimate, you know and we'll take care of it,'" Lichtman said.

The repair cost about $200, but when Lichtman filed the claim, Jiffy Lube denied it.

"If Jiffy Lube is claiming there's a problem and they're aware of it, then I would at least be a little more careful when I work on a Nissan pulling it out," Lichtman said.

Jiffy Lube instead offered Lichtman $200 in certificates, but he was not interested, so he called Five On Your Side.Five On Your Side found the problem appears to be widespread.

The Internet is full of complaints from Nissan Sentra owners. In fact, Nissan put out a Technical Service Bulletin about it -- a notification to dealerships that the problem exists.

However, a Nissan spokesman told Five On Your Side since the problem did not happen at one of their dealerships, the company will not cover the repair and Jiffy Lube does not believe it should pay for Nissan's problem. Lichtman just feels he definitely should not have to pay.

Jiffy Lube feels the $200 in gift certificates is a generous offer. As for Technical Service Bulletins, thousands are issued by manufacturers every year about parts that may have a tendency to break.

Since it is not a recall, the manufacturer is not required to take care of related problems. However, TSB information can sometimes be used to convince a dealer to fix the problem for free, even if the vehicle is out of warranty.