Determining "who" stripped my oil drain plug

Hello everyone - I am a new guy here on the forums - mainly because an issue that just came up.

I just relocated to a new city and I was in need of an oil change. I never take my cars to quick lubes unless I have no choice and the car is in desperate need of an oil change.

I did just that last week. My car has 133,000 miles and has never leaked oil and no documented history as such. I use Mobil 1 synthetic, advance fuel economy in my 2007 Honda Civic.

I had the oil changed on Saturday and on Thursday my car wouldn’t start after I parked it at the beach. It apparently blue an ignition fuse. The car was towed and after the car was dropped off for repair the tow guy noted oil leaking on the flatbed as did I.

Once the shop got looking at the car for the fuse and the oil leak - they determined the threads were stripped on the plug/pan. Without my knowledge the quick lube put “damaged oil pan” on the receipt. They of course didn’t say anything to me during the oil change, never showed me a dipstick, oil plug etc documenting the oil level or issue. I knew the oil was full b/c I check at fuel stops. The car never burns oil either.

I called my home state mechanic to verify there were no notes on a damaged oil plug; I even looked at their receipt and they have a double check system where the oil tech does the change and another tech checks the tech’s work. No notes on drain plug damage or pan damage.

So of course this leads me to believe the quick lube here did the damage. They argue the previous shop did. The estimate is $650 - $200 for the pan and 3.1 hours for labor.

I’m trying to figure out what the logical expert way is to determine how this happened. The quick lube argues they just put a damaged plug back into the pan and it leaked.

I argue the car came in with full oil, no leaks, and if it was leaking, the car would have came in with low oil.

I guess my thinking is the quick lube overtorqued the plug on Saturday and this is why the leak sprung.

Any help is appreciated! Thank you,

Most likely the quick-lube place did it, but I’m not sure that you’ll ever be able to prove it.

The experts will be along shortly to give you a solid answer, but I believe there’s some sort of oversized insert that can be used for repairs like this. I’m pretty sure that it’s far cheaper than this quote and that it holds up fine over time.

That’s just one thing that can’t be proven. Everybody had a hand in wearing it out. The worst possible time to go to Maybe Lube is before a long trip.

Drain plugs get stripped on a gradual basis and are considered to be an occasional cost of doing that job…a planned ‘‘wear’’ item. A plug is softer metal than the boss on the pan by design.
Each person who has ever tightened it has pulled a little bit on those threads…a little at a time till one person has their hand on it at the time it finally gives way.
plus…many plugs have an o-ring which is also a time worn factor …and often that old o-ring is the reason they feel the need to tighten it even more.

Now , granted , the quick lube places have a reputation for bearing down on those things but even here at the dealership we’ll see any one particular car that may need a plug maybe once it twenty oil changes.

So the quikylube might have had their hands on it at the time but I’ll venture to say they didn’t do all the damage all at one time.

Hi, dodge, it was not before a long trip; it was when I got to town that this happened. I’m taking the strong advice in not using a oversized plug, I’m going to fix it right with a new pan either way it works out. I just don’t buy this notion that “everyone had a hand in wearing it out” - I’ve driven the car for this many miles without oil plug issues. It’s my belief the quick lube overtorqued it and this caused the leak. But hopefully someone with more insight can confirm that.

@Ken Green: so what does the dealership do? replace oil pans all the time when this occurs?

I’ve Got More Insight.

You’d never prove the quick lube shop or anybody else stripped the plug.
The best thing you can do is what I did 50 years ago. I became the one changing oil on all of our cars, currently seven of them. Otherwise, plan on checking the oil after a change and check for leaks. Set aside some money for stripped plugs or other damage caused by well-meaning people who won’t care as much about your vehicle as you do.

Chalk this up as a lesson learned and move on.


As far as I am concerned, “proving” who did this–whether it was done by the quicky lube guys or gradually over a period of time by several people–is simply not possible.

I empathize with the OP and I hope that he can wring some money out of the quicky lube place, but ultimately–like it or not–he is likely to have to bear the full cost of this repair himself.

Yes, that sucks, but without any way to prove guilt…

No one can know unless they take a wild guess at it.

Did the mechanic in your last city cross thread it or over tighten it…just to the point where if anyone put just a little more pressure on the wrench it would strip the remaining threads.
Or did the oil change guy in your new city strip it.

Impossible to say.

There are kits for rethreading the pans boss along with a new plug. There is nothing wrong with this method, but if you would rather pay for a new pan we can’t stop you. It’s a common procedure and works well…I hear. I’ve never had to do one.


We give out a lot of drain plugs because it is a wear out item ( maybe your previous service has replaced one or two on the house as well. )
Stripped oil pans are rare…if the pan is stripped…then , houston we have a problem.
One thing to try is an oversize plug which cuts into the old threads anew.
There is also a rubber expansion plug for those times without replacing the pan.

“Hello everyone - I am a new guy here on the forums…”

Hi, and welcome to the Community. Sorry if my previous comment came across as rude. That wasn’t my intention. I was only reinforcing good advice given by pleasedodgevan2 that you rejected.

I do hope you join us. I know you have insight that will enhance our discussions. Anyhow, again, welcome aboard. Please stick around.


@“ken green” Ok, so I really need to find out if the plug is stripped or if the pan is stripped; I’d assume if the pan is stripped, likely cause was overtightening at the last oil change where my leaking occurred last week?

Damn, here we go again.

First, a stripped drain hole does NOT require a new oil pan. That’s bull, simply a way of making a bundle. Other options include tapping the hole oversize and putting in an oversized plug, tapping it and helicoiling it (preferred by me), and even putting in a self-tapping plug made specifically for this purpose. All of these options should run no more than an hour’s shop time plus less that $25 in parts.

Second, quickie lubes are known for stripping drain holes. They use minimally trained kids and rush them. But you’ll find it impossible to prove.

Third, I have the utmost respect for Ken, but on the issue of drain plugs wearing out I disagree. A drain plug properly installed is not going to wear out. If it does, it has been being repeatedly overtightened. It’s a steel thread in a steel (or more often aluminum) thread, both well bathed in oil when the plug is reinstalled. In 46 years of car ownership and hundreds of oil changes, including on one vehicle for 338,000 miles, I have never stripped or worn out a drain plug.

We Get Quite A Few Drive-By-Oil-Change-Shop Complaints.

Usually it’s because the plug was left out, oil was not replaced after being drained, and frequently because the engine was turned to scrap after running without any lubrication.

I take it that you caught this drip before it caused any engine damage ? I don’t want to diminish the expenses and time you’re spending on this problem, but if you’ve suffered no internal engine damage, your question is a rare one involving Fast-As-Can-Be-Oil-Change shops.


Oil was changed on Saturday; on Thursday the car wouldn’t restart b/c of a blown ignition fuse. Car towed; when car was dropped off at the shop we noticed leaking oil on the flatbed; Shop drained remainder of oil (about 1.5 qts). To my knowledge my civic takes about 4 qts. Oil pan from dealer is $196. Shop is stating 3 hours to put new pan on. Goodyear refuses to retap the hole as it is considered a liability issue. I’m guessing the honda dealer down the street isn’t going to want to retap the hole either.

No reason to replace the oil pan(theres little reason for a person to strip one)just do as the others suggest,When I tighten a drainplug.I use the shortest wrench I can find and choke up on it,that way I can twist the heck out of it,without over tightening it(I cannot usually tell torque by feel)Ive had some clowns engage in a" contest of wills" with my drain plugs and when my elbow or hand slams into a metal part,I tend to say a few choice metaphors.

“rubber expansion plug” ?? Bad news!

I had one of those installed by a gas station without telling me. Then when driving, I pulled into a (different) gas station way up in Franconia NH to fill up and must have dislodged the plug because I found a puddle of oil under the car. Luckily it failed at that time, as I then had it towed.

The gas station refunded the cost of a new plug. A proper one this time.


i just called the dealership - asking if they will retap the pan and return the oil pan; it’s 3 miles from Goodyear. Hoping they will as I’m not looking forward to a $600 repair. I’m def considering moving to the fumoto oil drain plug to avoid this in the future.

I think you are making this far more diffidult and involved than you need to…

Just do an oil change your self asnf get a oversized plug to replace the old one.


@specterwoodland, I am leery of those fumoto plugs and don’t trust them. Just don’t use JL or any of those quick oil change places again. Let your real mechanic do it, even if it costs you a bit more.