Oil Change Question



Here’s one for you to throw your opinion at.

I normally change my own oil in our six cars. After all, I’m not paying someone $35 to change the oil and have a 50/50 shot at them screwing it up. Now on occassions, when I travel for work, I have a local mechanic (NOT A QUICKY-LUBE) do it. Such is the case with my 2001 Ford Ranger. For the past two oil changes it went to him.

Well, today, it was time to change the oil and I got everything out and tried to get the oil plug off. And tried, and tried, and tried. Nothing would break that thing. After a while I suspected that he used an impact wrench to put it on. I mean, I am a good sized guy and I was putting most of my muscle into it and nada.

Now, I’m a little pissed off. For some time now I’ve been wondering how good a “mechanic” these people are. I do as much work as I can, but sometimes I have to go to them for the really big jobs. They always seem to find “something” no matter what. Top it off with a conversation at the local auto part store one day with a few folk who warned me that they don’t always do the work they say they do.

So tomorrow I am flying out of town on business and I’m dropping the truck off and laying it on the line. I want the plug removed and if it strips the plug or the pan they are going to fix it – not me. There is no rhyme or reason for them to put that plug on there with that much force. God only knows what they have done to the threads!

It just goes to show that the only person you can trust with your car anymore is yourself. Thank god I now found another fellow who does mechanic work on the side and can handle the bigger jobs – and the two times I’ve used him he’s walked me through EVERYTHING down to the last nut and bolt.

I’ll let you know how it goes, but dollars to donuts if the threads are shot he’ll try and get me to pony up the money to fix his gorilla work. That’s ok, I live two blocks from the courthouse and know how to file a small claims case.

Angry in Missouri.


Easy there big fella! Don’t let this minor irritation consume you. Worse case scenario? A new tapped-in plug? Life lesson, my friend. You know that this stuff happens, and you can change it yourself . . . so do it. Sure, tell him how you feel, get it off your chest . . and change your oil yourself. Rocketman


a good mechanic always uses the proper torque spects and a new gasket


I had the drain plug stick once when a Ford dealer had changed the oil in my Aerostar. When I returned for the next oil change, the service manager came to the waiting area to get me and said that the technicians couldn’t get the plug out. I informed them that they had done the previous oil change and that they needed to find a way to get it out. Since this was late afternoon, I requested a ride home and told them to call me the next day when they had it ready. They did get the plug out without stripping the threads. In your case, I really doubt that your mechanic used an impact wrench. However, one can get quite a bit of torque with a long handled wrench, and he may have overtightened the drain plug. You probably don’t have a lift at your house, but your mechanic does and once he his under your vehicle, he has more room to get more leverage on the wrench.


I echo Triedaq’s remarks above. The professionals always tighten the oil plug much more securely than I do. Once, on a rare occasion when I had someone else do the oil change, the mechanic came running out to me in the waiting room to inform me that “the oil plug was very loose!” (It wasn’t leaking a drop. That’s simply the best I can do on my back.)

Let the guy get it on the lift and he will remove the plug in a jiffy (oops, sorry guys). He has the leverage.


Just what kind of tool are you using in an attempt to remove the drain plug? It makes a difference.


It’s either cross-threaded or stripped and epoxied in place.

I’m not much of the forgive-and-forget kind of guy for these type of goofs. Sure, an oversized plug will work but when I’ve done the job countless times and never once cross-threaded or stripped a drain plug, I don’t want a compromised pan. I prefer the “make me whole” approach and if that means they have to suck it up and replace the pan, that’s the price of negligence.


I switched all my vehicles to Fumoto drain valves years ago. Easy to change oil, no messy plugs, no stripped threads etc. depending on where the filter is you may not even have to get the car on ramps.

www.fumotovalve.com I believe.


[quote]Same here, i’ve used the fumotovalve on every car & truck that i’ve owned for the past 30 years.

Very handy little gadget.


I’ve never had a Fumoto valve, but I use a “stubby” wrench to put the drain plug back in. That limits the amount of torque I can put on it.

  • mountainbike


You were lying on your back and got confused about “Righty tighty; lefty loosey.”