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Oil drain plug woes

Has a repair tech doomed my oil drain plug? I like to complete my own oil changes. Occasionally I have had them done while the car is in the dealer?s shop for major work. My Acura MDX has 96k miles. After following up a past dealer oil change with a self change I found the drain plug to be cross threaded and over-wrenched on. They explained that over time an aluminum pan threads will break down. At this point I felt that improper re-installation of the plug cross threaded the pan drain. The service manager said they would correct the problem. They installed a threaded wrap around the plug making it fatter. That worked just once. But at my next self oil change I found the “new” plug to be over wrenched on and while removing the plug notice pulled thread shards on the plug. Now upon re-installing this modified plug it drips quite substantially and it?s on as tight as I can get it. Again feeling like this is not correct. What are my solutions, short of pulling the motor and installing a new drain pan? I will return to the dealer again to get this corrected, but I wanted to be ready with knowledge of a possible new solution.

This is what I use to repair stripped out oil pan drain plug threads. Easier and cheaper than replacing the oil pan.


Follow Tester’s lead.

And, by the way, it is not normal for a properly inserted and not-overtightened plug to “break down” the pan threads. That’s a sorry excuse used by guys not willing to accept responsibility for doing the job poorly.

Did you replace the sealing washer on the drain plug? Your premise is that oil is leaking past damaged thresds but thread interference is not how the oil is retained.

Can the proper amount of torque be applied on the drain plug? if the answer is yes and a new sealing washer is used, I would have to look at what is happening, not enough information.

Once you have the thing fixed, you should get one of these

Save the package to show the mechanic the instructions when you have someone else change the oil. I have these on all my vehicles, and they have worked great.

Yep, Tester’s dead on with the Timesert repair. It’ll be as strong as the stock one, and much easier/cheaper than a new oil pan.

We see lots of reports of damaged oil plug bolts, and damage caused by cross threaded oil plug bolts on this list. There’s really no reason for it. Start the oil plug bolt by hand, making sure it turns easily and is not cross threaded, and then use a torque wrench to clamp the bolt down to factory spec.

What you don’t want to do is put the plug in the end of the socket, cram it in the hole and air wrench it down until it screams. But from as many reports as we get of this kind of damage, that’s exactly what’s being done at a LOT of repair shops and express oil change shops.

Not wanting to get under my wife’s van in the winter in upstate NY, I took it to Iffy Boob for an oil change a few years ago. The next time I went to change the oil, there was a different drain plug in the car that was a little larger than the one that had been there (I write the size of the wrench needed to change the oil somewhere in the front of the engine compartment so I can take the right size with me under the vehicle). They had aopparenlty stripped the threads of the old one and replaced it with an oversized one with self-tapping threads. That was the last time I ever went there (this was before I started reading this web site and got edumacated).

i change my own oil all the time. a few years ago i had a 1989 merc mar and i over-tighten the nut. i went to auto-zone and they gave me the over sized self tapping one ---- thank god it worked out fine. best of luck