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Oil Pan Stripped

My mechanic changed the oil on my 1993 Camry. After the oil change, I noticed a spot of oil on the pavement. I brought the Camry back to my mechanic and he said the pan was stripped. He looked for an oversized plug but couldn’t find one. He said he needs an 11mm oversized plug and that seems impossible to find. He said he would quote me a price for a new oil pan. A different mechanic said oil pan replacement for a 1993 Camry taked 4hrs and cost ~$500-$600 ($100 for pan the rest is labor). What do I do ?

Who normally changes your oil? Did this same mechanic change it the previous time that it was changed?
The threads in the pan don’t just fail. Someone way overtightened the plug at some point (probably during that last oil change).
Your mechanic should be replacing the pan at his expense if you answered “yes” above.

The car is a 1993 Camry that I inherited 4 years ago. It had 120K miles on it at the time.
Since I inherited the car, I have been bringing my Camry to the same mechanic. So whatever happened to the oil pan happened there. There are those who would say, you can’t blame the last guy who changed the oil because it was the all of the other oil changes before that constributed to this problem (pan getting stripped)…so I don’t know how to handle this situation.

Am I wrong or doesn’t this car use a 12mm drain plug to begin with? Why would he go DOWN in plug size? 12 mm oversize plugs are easy to find.

I don’t think you are wrong. All of the research I have done suggests the 1993 Camry has a 12mm drain plug and as you say, oversized 12mm drain plugs are easy to find. I questioned my mechanic about this point. He said he ordered a 12mm plug and tried to use it…and it did not fit. He said he needs an oversized 11mm. On my own, I called parts stores and did internet searches…I have not been able to locate and 11mm (let alone oversized 11mm) drain plug. One internet company I asked said they have never had a request for an 11mm drain plug. My mechanic has owned his shop for 20+ years…I may be wrong but I would think he would know drain plug sizes. (Note: one of his jr mechanics did the oil change and presumably stripped the pan).

Is it possible that there is already an insert in the pan from a previous mishap?

"Is it possible that there is already an insert in the pan from a previous mishap?"
That’s a very good question that I don’t have the answer to…since I inherited the car w/ 120K miles on it…I don’t have all of the previous history. Hypothetically speaking…if there were some kind of insert already in there, what would that mean ?

the response to that is “Bullcrap. Replace the oil pan.”

The drain plug is basically a really wide screw. It doesn’t slowly wear out over time. It gets damaged immediately when someone screws up and overtightens it. At that point, it starts to leak. If all the other oil changes had been screwed up by the mechanic overtightening it, then it would have leaked before now.

I don’t think there’s any such thing as 11mm hardware. There’s 10mm and 12mm, but I don’t think there’s 11mm. Unless this is a V6 car, the oil pan shouldn’t take 4 hours to replace, nor call for that much labor. The last 4cyl Camry oil pan I replaced (due to rust) paid 2 hours and took a little less than that, if I remember correctly.

This is a 1993 Toyota Camry XLE. It is 6 cyc (V6).

did the kid who did your oil change use an air wrench to replace the plug? what I am trying to say here is that it is not that easy to strip out one of these plugs, at least not for a wimp like me. Anyway, since there is no actual pressure on the plug from the oil in the pan, why not try wrapping the plug with plumbers tape, and see if that will both stop the leak, and secure the plug so it wont, you know, like fall out man?

I don’t know what sort of tools the mechanic used. I dropped off the car, they changed the oil and I paid and picked it up. My view here is that I paid this shop to change the oil. They are professional mechanics in the business of repairing cars so they should know what tools to use and follow accepted practices of professional mechanics. Is wrapping plumbers tape around a drain plug something that mechanics routinely do to fix this sort of a problem when they accidently strip the oil pan on a customers car ?

well no, but I am not rich enough to pay guys to change my oil, nor clumsy enough to strip a drain plug. I was just trying to be friendly is all. I am well known as a shade tree mechanic, not a pro, thus my handle, Igoramus.

Sure, I understand…you were offering a solution and I appreciate that…

thanks and good luck getting your mechanic to own up and pony up on this one. I hope it gets fixed for a lot less than he is quoting you, cause what ever happened to the plug, it aint yer fault neighbor.

If there was pre-existing problem with this pan before you bought the car then it’s on the mechanic to inspect this kind of thing. This means he should have caught it on the first oil change.

Odds are he got a bit ham-fisted when tightening the drain plug. If a drain plug gasket is reused or omitted this can also contribute to stripped threads.

Sorry, but a decent mechanic should be able to repair this. Oversized drain plug, thread insert, or whatever but it’s a doable deal without replacing the pan.
If it has a stripped 12MM plug then th obvious answer is tap it out to a 13 or 14MM.
And 500 bucks labor for an oil pan change? Ouch.