Dear Car Talk:
I purchased a brand-new 2019 RAM 1500 “Classic” with the 5.7 Hemi last year.
I recently took it to the dealer for its first oil change. The next morning, I noticed a very fresh oil spot on my driveway. I’d estimate a little over 2 inches in diameter. It was fresh and wet.
I immediately panicked and called the dealer. They wanted me to make an appointment, and I told them, “No, I’m bringing it in right now,” and I did.
After keeping it in the shop for about a half-hour, they brought it back and said that there wasn’t any leak and that it was residue from oil that spilled when they removed the old oil filter.
They apologized, but told me that it’s almost impossible to clean all the old oil off in this truck. I have since browsed the internet and it seems that this is a common problem with this model.
However, I think that leaving enough oil behind to result in a spill on my driveway — I live 5 miles away — is unacceptable, and I should tell them next I time I see oil in my driveway after I get it home, they won’t be changing my oil again.
Am I being unreasonable? — Randy
Well, let me put it this way, Randy. If you tell them you’re never coming back again, I think they might high-five each other.
They are correct. On lots of vehicles, the oil filter is installed at an angle. So when you remove it, some or most of the oil inside that filter inevitably spills out. On lots of vehicles, it’s just impossible to prevent.
And on your truck, a bit of that oil collected in the frame rail right below the filter. The mechanic probably wiped up what he could. But you never get every drop.
If you found a 2-inch-wide spot on your driveway, that probably represents a few drops of oil. It takes very little oil to create a spot that size, especially when the oil is warm and runs easily.
So you can take it somewhere else to get your oil changed, Randy. But don’t be surprised if you see the same result. Removing an oil filter is a lot like feeding a baby. No matter how careful you are, food ends up everywhere.
My advice would be to accept their explanation and apology. And when you get home after your next oil change, park the truck in the street overnight.
Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
© 2020 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman