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Oil Pan Drain Plug

My son overtightened the drain plug on his '99 Camry and stripped threads (I assume it’s the pan threads). The plug does not leak, but just turns - both directions. Anyway, is it difficult to drill out the drain plug and retap the threads for an oversized plug?

If the drain plug spins, it’s going to be difficult to drill it out unless it can be prevented from spinning. What probably happened is the drain plug was tightened to the point where it sheared the threads out of the aluminum oil pan so now the drain plug spins. So this drain plug could just fall out going down the road leaking or not.

The easiest way I see out of this is, take a large flat washer and weld it to the drain plug. Hook a slide hammer to the flat washer and yank out what’s left of the threads inside the oil pan. Then install one of these.


I don’t like the idea of leaving things the way they are. I would fix it properly, but there is another option. Leave it like it is and suck the oil out from the top. No need to get under the car. However even though I don’t remove the plug, in your case I would not want to risk the chance that it may decide to loose what little grip it now has.

Sucking oil out is not a very good option. I have had some luck with oversize drain plugs. They are self-tapping. It is very important to get them started straight and in the future replace the sealing washer at every oil change being careful not to over torque. But an insert is by far the best solution.

If/when you get an insert put in, I’d consider purchasing a fumoto valve and replacing the drain plug with it. That way your son will never have to worry abbout stripping the threads ever again.

I agree, i’ve used the Fumotovalve on my 68 F-100, 80 Toyota corola, 87 Ranger, 95 Taurus, 02 Sonata, & now on my 09 Rondo.

Very handy little gadget.

I used to get them at Pep Boys, but now they are only available online.

No, it isn’t difficult. You can hold the plug with a good pair of vice grips wheil you drill, and tapping oversive is an easy operation. When you put the new plug in, I’d suggest the use of a nylon plug washer. They squash down and take up irregularities, and they also tend to prevent overtightening.

Thanks for all the good suggestions! The plug is well seated even though it spins. But, I do not want to leave it this way for too long. I understand these engines are prone to sludge so I’d prefer to be able to completely drain the pan on oil changes.

The hex of the drain plug is still intact so I can secure it from spinning with a box wrench -while driling. I’m still a bit leary of doing this myself, but I suppose the worst thing that could happen is I’ll need to replace the oil pan. Do you think a mechanic such as at Goodyear or Firestone might attempt drilling out the plug and retapping? Thanks Again, Mike

While I’d prefer an independently owned and operated shop, any shop should find this an easy task. Beware, however, as we’ve had posts here from folks who said they were told hey needed a whole new oil pan. If a shop tells you that, run away fast and never return.

the problem here is the plug AND the threaded insert are spinning as a unit. simply drilling out the plug isnt going to help the threaded insert will still be installed in a spinning fitting in the pan. it sounds to me like you will need to remove the pan and have the plug thread insert rebrazed into the pan.

the threaded portion in the pan is typically crimped into the hole in the side of the pan. it sounds like you torqued it so much that the crimp loosened up from the pan.

I don’t think you have to drill it to remove. Just put some pressure on the back of the bolt like with a thin blade screwdriver as you are turning the bolt. Or take a vice grip so you can turn and pull it toward you at the same time. Then oversize plug or whatever to fix it.

You don’t know what you are talking about. Drilling out the bolt is not going to fix the problem. You are then just going to have a bolt with a hole in it spinning inside the thread insert. You are probably one of the guys who puts them in too tight.

You resurrect an old thread just to insult a long-time, respected forum member??


Dude your attitude is way out of line here. You don’t come in here and start talking c*ap about people you don’t know. Especially when replying to a thread that’ 6 freakin’ years old.

Take your commentary elsewhere.


Here is another example of why closing old threads would be good and set to read only.


You make a good point (offer a good example?), but I’d be happy if the age of threads was made obvious in the main subject menus.

This entire thread, however, took place long ago, so my suggestion isn’t relevant to he new software anyway.

Please be professional and polite. Don’t sign on as a new poster and start dissing respected long time members. And good grief why restart an ancient thread. There is plenty of good new stuff to discuss

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If the guy is still stuck in his driveway (after 6 years) and he has the balls to change his own oil then I think he has what it takes to install a new oil pan. Which is under $50 online. 4 or 6 cyl. both <$50. Lot cheaper than an over priced insert. It’s seems to be rampant belief here that everyone posting is a pencil pushing office cubical geek wearing wingtipped shoes. The first responses seem to be “take it to a shop you don’t know crap if you’re posting here”. You will cut your leg off if you have to use a hack saw without being certified. I think most regulars here started out stripping bolts and other stuff. Hell if you didn’t you wouldn’t have that 159 piece tap and die set in your drawer.

Apparently martinlb1125’s mechanical expertise is hovering around zero based on his crude and ignorant comment about Tester.

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Folks, the thread was six years old last September!!
The OP could have been a recent HS grad when it was started and have an MSME by now!! :grin: