Disgusting Block of Gelatinized Engine Oil Sent This Chevy Cruze Home on a Wrecker

It looks like someone mixed the holiday Jell-O mold with black food coloring.

byChris Chin|
Chevrolet News photo


YouTube is littered with the results of car maintenance mishaps, usually stemming from neglectful owners who forgot to do something as simple as an oil change. This viral video from a Massachusetts auto shop is an extraordinary case, though, as the mechanics discovered a block of jellified engine oil in the pan of a 2017 Chevrolet Cruze when its engine failed to turn over.

On Nov. 26, Five Star Auto in Southbridge took delivery of the Cruze, which arrived on a flatbed with the owner noting that the engine wouldn’t start after a burning smell, likely from the starter burning itself out. Through the usual process of elimination and troubleshooting, the shop’s mechanics went to drain the oil to diagnose its condition since a seized engine is primarily indicative of a lubrication problem, leading to a major internal failure.

But when the tech removed the oil filter, it revealed the first signs of a caked-up mess—uh-oh number one. He then proceeded to remove the oil pan drain plug to see if there was anything left resembling motor oil, only to realize no liquid came out—even worse.

And that’s when the tech proceeded to remove the lower oil sump pan, revealing a blob of what used to be 5W30.

Automotive website TireMeetsRoad first reported on mechanical nightmare, to which the alleged owner actually logged onto the comments section to reply:

“I am the owner of this Chevy Cruze LT. 1st engine failed me in March it was diagnosed with a cracked piston with only 75,000 miles on it. I did regular oil changes at Diamond Chevy in Auburn, MA per their free oil changes, tire rotation and battery checks for the life of the car. Diamond wanted to put a new engine in for $4,000… I said no and proceeded to find a used engine. This engine was put in September of this year. Wasn’t able to drive it right away because there was a couple of codes that needed to be cleared. GM was on strike and I didn’t get my car on the road for another 4 weeks. Only drove it a couple of weeks and this happened. I am beyond distraught because I am still making payments on this car and can’t afford another engine.“

Some have speculated that the engine possibly suffered from a larger problem such as a compromised head gasket leaking coolant into the crankcase and contaminating the oil. But in most cases, when coolant mixes with the oil, it leads to a frothy, yet still liquid substance—not the gummy block of oil seen in the video. It's even more possible when the incorrect coolant is mixed with antifreeze and it finds its way into the oil, as pointed out by one Redditor in response to this video.

Others chimed in to suggest that this mixture can become solid like in the video if the engine also overheats, evaporating all of the water content from the disastrous concoction. The heat then solidifies the remaining chemicals left behind—such as propylene glycol or ethylene glycol, both active ingredients in most antifreeze and coolants. Propylene glycol can become gelatinous under extreme heat conditions since it's also used as an emulsifying agent.

All in all, there are plenty of possibilities that could've led to this viral breakdown. Let's just hope it isn't the result of a personal enemy who decided to get their cold revenge by dumping a packet of Jell-O through the filler. Needless to say, that engine’s toast.

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