Oil Pan threads

I brought my Camry into the Toyota shop for an oil change and they told me the plug was screwed onto tight and the threads had fallen out. They told me I need a new oil pan. Does this sound correct and what are my options?


There are many options other than replacing the oil pan. There are over-sized plugs designed to cut new threads that can be used. The most desired option is using steel inserts that can be installed that restore the threads to the original size. And the least desired option is a rubber plug that just plugs the hole with the damaged threads ignored.

Replacing the oil pan is the most expensive and most profitable to them option.

If this shop is the only one you used to have the oil changed, it is clearly their fault for the damaged threads. Someone previously has damaged the threads by either cross-threading the plug or torquing it too tightly. The steel pans can be damaged this way, but some tend to be tougher than others about the accumulated damage. Aluminum cast oil pans cannot tolerate a ham-fisted technician, and the damage can be done easily and instantly.

If the oil plug falls out when you are driving along, all the oil quickly drains out and it is very possible the motor will be ruined before you realize the problem. In this emergency situation all you can do to save the motor is turn it off, even if you are in the middle of the George Washington Bridge you have to turn off the motor.

Therefore the safest most sure fire fix is to replace the whole oil pan. The other methods do work, almost all of the time. But sometimes the less expensive fixes can fail if not done correctly. Since the failures can be catestrophic for the motor you may not want to risk a botched repair job.

Personally I’d not replace the whole pan and go with another fix. But I’d also get under the car every now and again to check for any sign of a leak. I don’t drive on busy bridges and in heavy commuter traffic anymore. And I’d know what to do as soon as I saw the red oil light (or check engine) light come on.

Get some other quotes on a fix, but don’t go to Sears, Midas, Pep Boys, etc. for this repair. Ultimately the decision on what repair is up to you.

I would get new threads cut and install one of these. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=fram+sure+drain&x=0&y=0

Order a drain valve that has threads larger (in diameter) than the normal plug. Then, once you have it, take it and the car to a shop and ask them to cut new threads and install it.

Thanks. They put a rubber plug in. How long will this thing hold up for?

I won’t consider this a permanent fix. They did it to get you home and give you a chance to figure out what you want to do. When rubber gets hot is gets soft. Also overtime rubber can deteriorate so this is a temporary fix at best.

Can I sue them?

can i drive 200 miles more?

I assume Camry99 means you own a 1999 Camry, I especially love the can I sue them comment. Stop being an idiot and realize your car is 12 years old and possibly has 200,000 miles on it??? Yes, you need a new pan and you should pay for it!!!

Actually it is 175,000 and the mechanic said the problem was caused by the last guy tightening it too hard.

I’d drive it for awhile, but I’d get under the car to check out the “plug” and be sure there is no leaking. I’d also keep a close eye on the oil level and look under the car for spotting where it is parked. Then find someone to do a real fix.

…or the 30 guys before him who may have “helped”

How do you know it wasn’t YOUR guy who had his wrench set the wrong way, and tightened it even more, instead of loosening it, like he thought nhe was doing.

You can’t prove that ANYONE did anything wrong to your car.

Now get that sue happy mentality out of your head.
You will live a longer, happier life if you stop trying to find reasons to sue people.


My more important question is how long this rubber thing will last me

It sounds like they used a rubber expansion plug and you should not trust this any further than you can throw the plug with the car still attached to it.

Forget the suing business and have someone repair the threads on the oil pan you have. This should not be more than a 5-10 minute fix and it should not be performed by the people who put a rubber plug in for sure.

If someone asked me to install a rubber plug and would not take no for an answer their car would be out the door AS IS and they can come get it with a tow truck.

Nobody Can Tell You Because They Can’t See It, Don’t Know The Guy Who Put It In, Don’t Know How It’s Made, Don’t Know How It’s Attached, . . .

Clint Eastwood Said it best, “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya punk?


Thanks. So if I go to a good mechanic in the morning, he can take care of this in 15 minutes? Or does he need to order any parts?

I just love these shops that can’t fix anything. I always wondered why they seem to be everywhere. I went to a shop that could fix things when I was a younger man. Martin, Mark and Dave would not leave the job hanging up like that. I bet they would charge fifteen dollars and have it finished in ten minutes.

There should be no reason in the world why a shop can’t drain the oil, run a thread tap through the stripped out hole, and install an oversized drain plug.
Some oversize drain plugs are even made so they will cut their own new threads so a thread tap is not even needed.

Oversized plugs are available from any car parts store and that’s why they exist; to repair problems like this.
Believe me, you’re not the first person to post on this board after being told they need to replace an oil pan because of a simple stripped thread issue.

Thanks. How long can an oversized drain plug last? Is this a permanent fix?