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So you have heard about being screwed at the used car lot :-)

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Well until August this year I was a proud owner of a FIAT Freemont JTD 2.0 (170PK) 125 Year of Manufacturer 2012 (Model 2013) 

Then in September thats when the fun started - 

I do a lot of mileage along the German highways and as normal was happy trundling along the autobahn then the "Lights of Evil" reporting a DPF error had occurred book yourself in immediately to the nearest dealer appeared. Motor Management system kicked in so you could not damage the engine. German Roadside assist collected the car and delivered it to the "Official FIAT" Dealer. 

Now from this point it is unsure what actually happened while the car was at the dealer but after they installed a new catalytic converter and started it up is when something very serious happened and damaged one of the four valves - So there was me happily skipping to the garage to collect my car only to be told it does not run anymore. They ran a diagnostic check and it showed the car was only running on 3 valves and oil all over the place. So without any explanation proceeded to reel off the costs of investigating what went wrong and the fact that I no longer had a guarantee or a warranty and they could not offer any financial assistance to help with the "skyrocketing costs" (Kulanz in German)


Rather than go into detail about this as it is as painful to write as it is to read but it turns out that this "Official FIAT Garage" was not exactly an Official Fiat garage anymore according to FIAT Deutschland, which is why they could not offer any compensation because they were no longer FIAT dealers. (Seems that this is a perk of being an official FIAT outlet) 

OK to the questions 

According an Official FIAT garage the "UNOFFICIAL FIAT garage" had been putting in oil for a Petrol engine instead of a Diesel Engine Oil 


Which product exactly has been used (complete product name)

  • Which approvals or specifications are given for this product (either written on the bottle or on the technical data sheet available on-line)

Well I know that the dealer had used SAE 5W-40 SELENIA for the last 2 years even though it quite clearly states in the FIAT Freemont Owners Manual Page 362

that SAE 5W-30 SELENIA should used with this particular type of Diesel Motor


  • What car / engine (model, type, construction year) is concerned


FIAT Freemont  2012 Model,  2.0 JTD 170PS (125) Fiat Freemont 2.0 JTD Multijet 16V Urban (DPF) - ADAC

Car registered 2013 - Taken Delivery Jun 2013 


  • What is the recommended specification for this car (written in the car manual)




Will send a sample of the oil to a testing laboratory to check out if there are also metal fragments in the oil


So basically my questions are as follows :


Could the difference in Oil have caused such an issue to occur in the engine ? 

What is the price of a new Dodge/Freemont Engine (turbo, cat etc) ?


I understand its a lot to read and certainly a lot to write, but from my side it seems I am being taken for a ride by the official and the un-official dealers here, 





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Don't know much about diesels, but I know in a gas engine, using 5w-40 when 5w-30 is called for would not lead to catastrophic damage. My truck specifies 5w-20, but I run 10w-30 in it. No issues.  Have no idea how much a diesel replacement engine would cost.

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The real issue is that apparently the engine broke while under their care - you sent it in, supposedly needing a catalytic converter (actually presumably a DPF - Diesel Particulate Filter, based on what you wrote) and they killed the engine while they had it.

And the viscosity of the oil notwithstanding, the higher number you see is the oil maintaining thickness at very high temperatures - if you look at many service manuals they give a range of oils based on the ambient temperature in which they are operated - higher numbers for hotter climates.  The values they tend to specify today are not in the best interest of the engine, by the way, but rather are there to improve gas mileage.  But the viscosity difference alone would not ill the engine.

So what they used is probably just fine as long as it meets the 'service grade' specified by the manufacturer since you aren't operating the vehicle in the Antarctic or in the desert in Kuwait.  If the oil was truly not intended or diesel use it could impact on things, but breaking a valve is more applicable to a broken timing chain, belt or gear as appropriate for your particular vehicle.

If you have been using the wrong oil (as in the wrong service grade, not the slightly higher top viscosity number) and it can be documented that the garage has been putting it in you might well have a case against them - on the other hand if the oil in question is Diesel rated and you've been maintaining the vehicle in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations and if your vehicle would normally still be under warranty, then unless they can prove fault they probably have a legal responsibility to fix it at their expense.

I can't comment on the laws in Germany, but in some countries (notably the UK) the warranty is indeterminate and if the vehicle doesn't deliver the service one would expect the manufacturer and/or dealer has to make good . . . . . and in North America (again, it may well be different in Germany) it doesn't matter who does the work, so long as it is done properly.

Also the manufacturer's warranty may well differ in Europe - the terms and duration of the coverage might be different, but no matter what I would not expect a clogged particulate filter to damage a valve.

I will tell you that a boss I once had owned a Jeep hat he sent in for an oil change - the dealer called him up and told him it cost $2,000 because 'something went wrong' and the engine needed to be rebuilt . . . . . that 'something' was that apparently they forgot to put oil in the engine after draining it and the car jockey went for a drive.  Needless to say he did not need to pay for the rebuild.

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