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Dealership states that they have never overtightened an oil plug ever

I just completed the first DIY oil change on our 2018 Subaru Outback and had issues removing the oil drain plug. The oil drain plug would not budge. After trying to remove it myself with nothing but failure, my neighbor tried to remove it with no success.
We ended up bringing it to our neighborhood oil change place. He was able to loosen it after more than the usual effort required.

The Subaru dealership in Dallas stated that they have never had this happen. That no one has ever come back because the oil plug was over tightened. I hate to be skeptical but I am.

Have you guys had similar experience with dealerships overtightening the oil plug?

I think it is probable that this will happen. Just admit it, correct it and move forward.

Please explain what you were using to remove the drain plug . . .

3/8" drive ratchet and socket

1/2" drive ratchet and socket

1/2" drive breaker bar and socket

combo wrench


were you using good quality tools?

some cheapo tools don’t fit correctly, and you actually wind up rounding bolt heads, which makes removing the bolt that much harder


I purchased a set from AutoZone. I was using 14 mm.

Dealership states that they have never overtightened an oil plug ever

For everything, there is a first time…


I have not experienced a dealer over tightening an oil plug but I darn sure have experienced and oil change place doing it! And the first filter put on the car when new in the factory without an oiled O-ring. I thought I’d NEVER get that thing loose!

We actually bought two Subaru Outbacks
on the same day from the same dealership in Dallas. I just tried to remove the plug on the second car and that one also is over torqued. I don’t think Subarus require me to use a break bar everytime I have to remove a drain plug.

I had a Ford dealer overtighten the drain plug on my Ford Aerostar. I wasn’t certain that my ramps were sturdy enough for the van so I had the dealer do the servicing. At any rate, I took the Aerostar to the dealer for an oil change and the service writer came into the waiting area and informed me that the technician couldn’t get the drain plug out and the plug had been overtightened by the last place that had changed the oil. I pulled the service records out of the glove compartment and proved that the dealer had, in fact, been the last place the Aerostar was serviced. I told them it was their problem to solve.


Did the Ford dealership own up to it and make it right? I am curious because I am going through the same experience now. We tried to just get them to loosen the drain plug, at first they agreed to do it over the phone but then changed their mind when we brought the car there. We live a long ways from Dallas for them to have is drive and change their mind.

@Erwin_Ramos Yes they made it right. They told me I could take the van home and bring it in the next day and they would take care of it. Instead, I called my wife and told her to come get me. It was late in the afternoon and I had an 8 a.m. class to teach the next morning, so I left the Aerostar so they could do whatever they had to do the next morning. Apparently, they figured out how to loosen the drain plug.

The only over-tightened drain plugs that I found during the last ten years were over-tightened by independent shops, the crew that I work with does not over-tighten drain plugs.

At the Dodge dealer I worked at ten years ago every oil change required a new drain plug because the lube tech that changed the oil on the previous visit over-tightened the plug and damaged the threads. The lube rack was just outside the managers office window, he was a 300 pound guy and I think that he showed the lube techs how to tighten a drain plug.

What did you expect the telephone receptionist to say? Call your local hospital and ask how many patients have died because of malpractice, see if you get the truth.


Thanks. I’ll keep you posted on the outcome. Up to now we have been happy with our relationship with this dealership and have spoken highly of them and recommended them several times. I am hoping that this will conclude positively.

:grinning: you have a good point there, nevada_545.

Kinda surprised that you are expecting the dealership to tell you the truth.

I do most of my own oil changes. Last year we wanted to have an oil consumption test done on my wife’s Sonata and had to have on oil change done at the dealer. The next time when I went to change it the drain plug was super over torqued and I had to use my breaker bar to get it off. I was lucky it wasn’t stripped.

On pretty much every new or new to me car that I have bought, both the plug and the filter have been unnecessarily tight.

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I had it once when the transmission shop changed my oil instead of the trans fluid. I use a ratchet but had to use a one foot extension to get the plug loose. It was a new $8 plug too but didn’t appear any damage was done. Now when I changed trans fluid in my old Acura, the fill plug was incredibly tight. I used a half inch ratchet and needed an extension to reach the plug under the hood. I’m sure I used a pipe on the ratchet but I could actually see the 1/2" extension twisting with the force. The plug finally broke loose. The rule is never drain the trans until you make sure you can get the fill plug off.

I thought it was hyperbolic to claim that they have never ever over tightened an oil plug.

It is also easily correctable with training the technician.

I have seen at Costco that a different technician will check the torque when they do tire rotation. It’s the little things like this that makes a big difference.

I don’t understand why people feel like they have to say absolute things like that they never, ever over tighten a drain plug. Really? How can you be so sure? They can certainly try to do jobs right, and they can put together practices to be careful, but saying never is just foolish.


Subarus are prone to the drain plug near seizing in the pans if the drain plug gasket is omitted or reused. The worst cars I’ve ever seen for this happening.

I’ve literally spent at times an hour or more removing a stubborn plug. In one case a Subaru dealer in OR installed a drain plug sans gasket and here in OK I spent close to 4 hours wresting that greasy pig and having to finally remove the oil pan from the car. Finally the plug came loose, or so I thought, It was actually ripping a 3" chunk of the pan out.

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Wow. That is crazy. The drain plug is the Achilles heel of the Subaru car. Probably next to the wheel, it’s the oldest technology in the car.

I think that’s why I ran across several Subaru owners installing Fumoto drain plugs. Not a bad idea actually.

My wife’s car also has the same issue. I purposely did not go through the same heroics and resigned to the fact that we will have to have someone else take care of loosening it. We thought about bringing it back to the dealership in Dallas but we are not sure what difference it will make.

Suggest to buy a bevy of drain plug gaskets from Subaru and give one to the shop each time you have the oil changed. Double check my research, but I believe the spec for the oil drain plug tightening torque is around 32 ft lb. That’s a very moderate tightening force. to get an idea how much it is, push on your bathroom scales so it reads 32 pounds; that’s the force you need to apply on a 12 inch wrench. Tell them this info when you give them the gasket. That will get their attention, make them aware you’ll be paying attention to the quality of their work. This sort of problem is what drives quite a few car owners to become diy’ers, when they’d otherwise be happy to just pay a shop to have the work done. So that’s your backup plan, do it yourself.

Thanks. We have planned on doing it ourselves after free Subaru maintence is completed.