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Cracked Oil Pan

I took my Saab 900 (1996) in for an oil change only to discover the next day a puddle of oil in my driveway. Lovely! Anyway I took the car back to the mechanic that changed the oil and he showed me the problem. Apparently the oil pan had split where the bolt was. The mechanic claimed he had never seen anything like this and wasn’t sure how he could have caused it. Then he offered up the idea of using an epoxy to fix it.

I guess I’m wondering 1. How uncommon is this? 2. Is it possible that he caused the split? 3. Am I justified in asking him to pay for it? 4. Is the epoxy a good idea or should I ask him to replace the oil pan?

  1. Don’t know
  2. Yes
  3. Can’t hurt, seems he did something
  4. Epoxy might work for a little while, might work until the next change, who knows? But the only good way to do it is to take off the pan so he can clean it fully, at that point might as well put on a replacement.


That is not something that the mechanic did, unless he did something really unusual. Sounds like there is just a problem with this pan for some reason.

On some cars, oil pans can be quite quick to replace (15-20 minutes). I don’t know the Saab specifically, but ask the mechanic how much labor would be involved to replace the oil pan. If it is minimal, I suggest that you buy an oil pan (new or used) and ask him to replace it without charging for labor.

If there is much more labor involved (perhaps because some other components obstruct removal), then you’re kinda stuck taking it to a “real” mechanic. But in any case, I don’t think you can blame this shop.

p.s. I’d avoid the epoxy routine.

Is the epoxy a good idea

Well oil is kind of important to your car. I suggest getting estimates both ways and they getting a new pan.

The other questions are a little difficult to answer from here. I suspect the end result is no one will know if the mechanic did anything to cause the crack. Considering it came from the drain hole, that would make me suspicious, but not enough to demand something. Maybe the two of you can split the cost of a new pan, you pay for the pan and he puts it on?

I also doubt the mechanic did it…unless it used a impact wrench to tighten the bolt (which I seriously doubt).

You need to get this fixed…I suggest replacing it or even welding it (if it can be welded. The epoxy will probably work also. This car is 12 years old…don’t spend a lot of money fixing it.

Personally, I would fix the current oil pan or replace it with another.
It may be possible for a decent welder to drain the oil and weld a bead on the crack, followed by dressing up any area where a drain plug gasket may seal.

If another pan is procured you might consider checking eBay or Craigslist as SAAB parts often show up there at reasonable prices.
Since I doubt that removing or installing the drain plug caused this my feeling is that the pan may have struck something (lift in the shop, low area outside, etc.) but if this were the case there should be some scrape marks present.

A local guy here used Epoxy to stop a leak at a drain plug crack on a Ford Probe 5-speed manual transmission and it never really stopped it. Several weeks later the trans oil dropped enough that the transmission gave up with a loud bang; which led to me replacing the transmission assembly. You do NOT want to risk running the engine out of oil.