My wife's care was spewing oil all over the engine a week or so ago; we discovered this (smelled burning oil) while we were out shopping and took it to a nearby Midas for a looksee. I ran into Wal-Mart and bought a 5 quart jug of oil, but decided to wait until the guys at Midas looked at it before putting any in. They looked at it and said it was probably the gasket and they could fix it for us. After checking the oil level, they topped it off with the oil I bought (using less than 2 quarts) and we returned home to get my car and take hers back to Midas. They made the repairs the next day and my boss took my wife over to pick it up while I was at work.
It didn't run too well on the way home (it ran rough and died frequently) and ran even worse the next day; we opened the hood to find that oil was still spewing out and the engine was knocking badly. We returned to Midas and they test drove it to see what we were talking about and said that the gasket must have been faulty. They called the next day to tell us that the problem was with the engine and they couldn't fix it; they told us that the damage was from our driving it without oil in it and it just took a few days for the symptoms to show up. They said there was nothing they could've done by the time we brought it to them. My wife pointed out to them that the car was not running rough/knocking or dying before we brought it in. She also pointed out that we brought it over the moment we discovered the problem and that it took less than 2 qts of oil when they topped it off to get us home and back that day...2 qts low is not running without oil. They said that there was nothing they could do...Sorry.
We took it to another mechanic and he said it would be $3500 to replace the engine and that the knocking and such would have started immediately if we had been driving it without oil. My wife faxed a letter to the district manager of the Midas regarding the situation and included the 2nd opinion that the other mechanic offered. She also noted that, on our bill, it listed that they use a non-authorized part for the repair but told us that it usually worked for our make and model.
Surprisingly, the district manager called today and admitted that the fault was all theirs and that they would be picking up our car from the other shop tomorrow and replacing the engine with one with half the miles on it that ours had.
I am guardedly elated at the turn of events. I expected a prolonged battle over the situation and was shocked at the swiftness of its resolution. I can only hope that all goes well with the replacement and any resulting issues. We have asked the other mechanic to check the replacement engine, before they begin, to be sure it is acceptable.
I'll let you know how things progress.