Oil pan plug

I have a 2001 Ford Escape with 127,000 miles. Do the threads of an aluminum oil pan get stripped at this mileage just due to the normal number of oil changes?

When I had the oil changed recently I was told that the oil pan had been stripped and would need a new oil pan - ouch. I went to the previous oil change and told them that the pan had been stripped and wanted them to replace the pan. They claim that where this car has soo many miles and it’s an aluminum pan that it will get stripped and that there’s nothing that can be done and they’re not responsible for just a normal wear and tear item. A new pan is costing me $400+.

Any thoughts? Can someone point me to an authority so that I know if I’m right or wrong?

The only way an oil drain plug thread gets stripped is if it’s reinstalled carelessly- either overtorqued, or cross threaded. If that drain plug gets installed by someone who cares enough to do their job right, it will last forever. This isn’t a wear and tear item.

Aluminum oil pans get stripped out when the attempt to remove the oil drain plug is done on a hot engine. Such as what’s done at quick-lube places. The aluminum pan expands at a different rate than the steel drain plug. So when the plug is removed, it galls the threads in the oil pan.


If you have a history and proof that this oil change place is the only one who changed your oil, your case would be stronger. If you had oil changed at several places, then blame can be equally distributed. Sometimes it is easier to suck it up and have your oil changes done at one place, and one place only. For a variety of reasons like this, I have gone back to doing my own oil changes, because I then know who to blame if it is done wrong.

Aluminum oil pan threads do not strip easier than others.

You should be able to avoid replacing the oil pan by getting an over-sized oil drain plug. Talk to someone at an auto parts store.

The oil changers caused the problem and should be liable, but it’s probably going to be hard to prove. If it was one of those Jiffy Lube stores or another well known one, you might get some satisfaction by complaining to the upper management. Not at the station the work was done, but at the regional level.

Thank you for your responses. The service was performed at the Ford dealership. I’m in the process of composing my letter to them. If I don’t get any compensation with that then the next step I believe will be to spread the word via letters, internet and loudly spoken.

No excuse then, factory trained technicians SHOULD know what to do. Since they caused the problem, they should fix it.

I agree though, you should be able to just use an oversized plug.

If Ford is going to pay for it, an oversize plug is what they’ll put in also, since it’s the cheapest course of action.