Oil overfilled/ advice needed.

Had my first service today, and after driving the car for approx. 12 miles at very low speeds I then had the chance to overtake, and then I had a shock, looking in my rear view mirror I could see nothing but plumes of smoke really bad, I naturally pulled over, the engine sounded sweet the temp was normal, i phoned the Lotus garage and told them the news, they asked me to drive the car back but I refused as I wasn’t sure if I would cause more damage. In the hour or so wait I decided to take a look myself only to find the oil was well overfilled, I would estimate around a litre or so by looking at the min to max marks as this was about the same distance from the max mark to where the level was. The guy who had done the service arrived and fired the car up, it was still smoking but no where near as bad, he listened to the engine checked the temp etc and then agreed with me that it was (slightly) overfilled with oil and told me to continue home as the excess oil would burn off. We did continue and sure enough the smoking ceased. But I am now concerned that he did not drain any off so it still is over the max mark and also could this throw up any other future problems like with the cat etc. The car is a 135r and only 8 weeks old and done only 1250 miles.I know the car is not an exige but as I am a ex owner thought some of you maybe able to help. Any advice on this would be appreciated. I maybe worrying over nothing but like the views of you mechanics out there.


You basically have two choices

  1. leave it alone and hope that it burns off before damaging an oil seal - if its not overfilled too much this will prolly be okay. OR…

  2. Get underneath it tommorrow, remove the rear diffuser, place a basin under the sump plug and loosen it off. Drain some oil out then tighten the sump plug up and check the oil level. Top it up to the correct mark and… hey presto 20 minute job your happy and the cars sorted…

You know what the right choice is eh…

Sorry I take a very simple attitude to this.

The garage did not do the work correct and should fix it FOC, a note should be made in the service book so if anything happens in the future it is recorded.

Damn I get pissed about things like this … I’m on the other side of the automotive industry and I only have to make a slight little mistake and they want a whole day of production paid for

Why on earth should you accept bad workmanship that you paid for that caused you time and thus money to fix ?

Thanx Rox,

Although the car is under warranty I think I will do the job myself tomorrow morning, at least I will know the jobs done right!! The only reason I took it in to Lotus was because I need the stamp in the book to keep the warranty, I am losing faith in Lotus by the day! much rather do the job myself.

OH yes and overfilling is worse than not quite enough - I mean you increase the chance that the crank mashes the oil up and airates it so you get air in the bearings reducing their life, you put a lot of extra pressure on seals reducing their life and you get to pay for that pleasure … perfect - whats the warranty ? one year or three ? cos it will be later in the engines life that the problems show up

Well Steve 3 BBS’s tell you to take it back


Its basically Steves call but the attitude i’d take on this is…

‘i’d want to take it back’ but that means driving it whatever distance (and my guess is its not that close?) so… i’d make sure they knew i was unhappy via phone and then i’d do the job myself for exactly the reasons Steve mentions.

Although i think the idea about the Official note in the Service book is excellent so next time Steve is out for a drive he should take his log book in and have them note this. A phone call to Lotus would also be in order and ask them to make a note that you had this problem.

We all hate this shite and it happens over and over…

Its water under the bridge but Steve maybe should have told the mekky to bring his toolbox and fixit by the roadside when it originally happned.

Okay here we go, raised the car, dropped the under tray to find first a sump bung which had the yellow marks perfectly lined up with the marks on th sump, not a trace of any indication that this bung had been removed, I had a 2 litre container under the car which I filled before replacing the bung, the colour of the oil to me looks very dark considering it supposedly changed yesterday, checked the dipstick to find that it was still way over the mark so continued to drain off another 2 litres!! and now we have the dipstick showing between the min and max mark. thats FOUR FKG litres over filled!!
That is a bit of a coincidence that I gave them a 4 litre container of Castrol RS to do the job with.
This seems obvious to me that the W***er that don e my car FORGOT to drain off the oil and wacked in my 4 litres on top.

I have spoken to Lotus and they advised me to put it in writing and they will look into the matter. If I get no compensation regarding this matter I will be naming and shaming not only the Lotus dealership but the name of the mechanic as well, after all it was that guy that told me to drive it home 40 miles as he said it would burn off any excess oil!! WATCH THIS SPACE!!!


You did the right thing and the follow up by paper is needed.
Lotus need this kind of feedback if they’re ever going to improve.
Also, I would expect nothing but perfect service (and more) for the �75 per hour labour charge.

I dont have much confidence with the two Lotus dealers I have dealt with .

Both times I have broken down before I have got home .

Once after an MOT and once after a stuck throttle body repair that got me ten miles from home

The only good thing that came out of yesterdays NIGHTMARE of a so called simple first service was I did get a drive in the new exige. After owning the S1 exige I found it very much an everyday type of drive, which in my case is great but I can understand now what people mean when they say it has lost that raw feeling. In all honesty I think Lotus made the mistake of putting in the same power plant as the new 111R? I would buy the 111R over the S2 exige any day due to the fact the roof comes off, and before anyone tells me the roof does come off on the S2 exige, yes you could remove it the same as you could remove a road wheel but you wouldn’t then be able to drive it without serious problems. The dealer told me yesterday that Lotus would be making an official statement regarding all this nonsense that you can remove the roof stating anyone that does will lose the warranty, as they are designed to be driven with the roof ON only.


You MUST do as suggested and follow this up in writing both direct to Lotus and copied to the dealer in question. It sounds almost certain that what you say is correct – they didn’t drain off the old stuff ** quite frankly un–f*(&%–ing believable ** they either did it btween t-breaks or two people were working on th ecar and left hand/right hand didn’t know what each other were doing !!.. theres only around 4.5 litres in the thing from empty and you had something like twice that !! if you hadn’t spotted this then i’m sure damage would have ensued.

Also in this case - doing it yourself - you know the score because if you’d taken it back they would have given you a story like “yeh there was about 0.5l overfill blah blah…”

Good Luck.

Steve N

I agree with your choice of car over the S2 Exige .

The roof vent on the S2 is so tacky , I would rather not have one .

I would push for a free next service from the dealers as compensation for their incompetence

Just to keep you all informed, I have written a firm but very profesional letter and mailed it to the Lotus principal at the dealers concerned, I have reminded them that had I have taken the advice of there so called Lotus mechanic I would have been currently driving around with 8 litres of engine oil, which I am sure would have resulted in a large warranty claim, so by taking advice from others and doing the job myself I feel I have saved them money let alone shame!!
If I do not get a satisfactory result then I will NAME and SHAME.

This really is discussing!

Good luck with your letter, but I think you should be telling us who it is anyway. I’m currently nervous to go to any dealer, in case it’s the same one! I’m big enough and ugly enough to understand mistakes happen and it’s how you put them right that’s important. After all what are BBSs for if not sharing important info.


Is there any argument for a slight overfill (ie approx 0.5 litre) to compensate for cavitation, particularly before a track day?


Is there any argument for a slight overfill (ie approx 0.5 litre) to compensate for cavitation, particularly before a track day?


None what so ever, baffeled sump so you shouldn’t get any surge… The only thing is to keep an eye on it through out the day as it’ll burn some up on a TD But then you should do that with any car

IDG, You are right, if I was not the guilty party in this one I to would want to know, however I get on great with the sales guy and the rest of the team and really don’t want them thinking I am knocking them.
I note your location is Hampshire so unless you are going to drive approx 120 miles north you should be ok, in fact so long as all of you steer clear of leicestershire then you should all be ok!!

Is there any argument for a slight overfill (ie approx 0.5 litre) to compensate for cavitation, particularly before a track day?



You shouldn’t deliberately overfill and 0.5l is about 10% overfil.

If anything its better to be between the marks… you should carry a litre with you and check it before, during and after a Track-day… its what most of the rest of us do.

Even with a baffled sump, is there a possibility that under heavy braking there would be nothing for the oil pump to pick up? Has anyone actually experienced (or heard of) damage to K-series due to oil surge on track?