Stripped Oil Pan Bolt! Who is responsible, me or the mechanic?

Hello to all you fine people,
Since I purchased my vehicle I have taken it to dealership for it’s regular maintanance and oil changes. During my latest visit I was informed that my
oil plug is stripped and the oil pan will need to be replaced before my next service. They claimed that my 2005 car is old and that is the reason the threads
are stripped. It seems like I’m being swindled here, and the whole reason I take my car to them is to ensure work is done correctly. Am I on the hook?

Do you have all your service receipts or does the dealership have them in their system? If they did every oil change, I’d say they were responsible. If they are not willing to foot the bill, escalate it up to the manufacturer.

Age has nothing to do with it. If they’re the only ones that have ever been involved with changing the oil then someone in the past has apparently gotten ham-fisted with tightening it and it’s their fault.

Seldom ever does a pan have to be replaced because of stripped drain plug threads. Do none of those people know what an oversized plug is for? It’s sold at every parts house in town specifically for this kind of problem.

I had a similar problem with a Ford dealer. I had the vehicle in for some work and decided to have the oil changed. The service writer came into the waiting room with a long face and said that the drain plug had been put in too tight and the technician couldn’t get it out. I had the proof that the dealer was the last place that the oil was changed. When the service writer said that it was near closing time and they didn’t know what to do I merely stated that !) I wanted transportation because I had an event to attend that evening and 2) I wanted the problem with the drain plug resolved. I got both and the next day I guess they figured out how to remove the drain plug.
My first car, a 1947 Pontiac for which I paid $75 back in 1961 leaked oil around the drain plug. For about a dollar I bought an oversize plug and solved the problem.

How does one strip the threads on an oil pan?
2005 is old enough for that to happen?? They are full of it or some idiot tightened the plug with an impact gun. I’d take it elsewhere.

I agree. Self tapping oil pan bolts are a very inexpensive option and one I have used for years after I bought a used car and discovered the pan bolt was stripped. For them to give you no option but to replace the pan, is worth going elsewhere.

+1 for @dagosa. This dealership is what gives other dealerships a bad name.

Another voice of agreement with the others. Your dealership is full of crap. They should replace your oil pan free (not that an oversized plug wouldn’t work, but they broke it and should have to fix what they broke), and then you should never take your car to them for work again.

They claimed that my 2005 car is old and that is the reason the threads are stripped.

Find another mechanic. It’s stripped because someone either cross-threaded it or put it on too tight.

As for being old!!..If the oil change is done correctly then the oil pan and bold threads should last as long as the rest of the engine. I have an 05 with over 230k miles. And I change the oil every 5k miles. That means a lot of oil changes…the pan and bolt are fine.

Its not your fault,I’m really tired of people you trust screwing up your property and not standing responsible for what they mess up.Most of the time they don’t even offer an apology for the busted hub covers,greasy fingerprints on the sun visor etc-Kevin

“Its not your fault,I’m really tired of people you trust screwing up your property and not standing responsible for what they mess up”.
I have had good results with independent shops taking responsibility for goof-ups. Years ago, a mechanic that did my work was changing a water pump and the wrench slipped and poked a hole in the radiator. He took the radiator to a radiator shop and had it repaired at no cost to me. Some years later, a mechanic misdiagnosed a coolant leak as a core plug behind the transmission. He dropped the transmission only to find that it was the heater core that was leaking. I had had trouble along the road and another shop had made the same diagnosis of a leaking core plug. That shop gave me a gallon jug of water and told me to watch the temperature gauge and I would make the 50 miles home which I did. At any rate, the mechanic would not take a dime for his labor of removing the transmission.

You’re not the first poster here with this problem, and I get angry every time I read that a dealership has told someone that they need their oil pan replaced because the drain hole is stripped.

Firstly, there is absolutely no legitimate reason whay a hole should get stripped out. It is purely, totally, absolutely the fault of the tech(s) that changed the oil. Age is not a cause. In over 45 years of changing my own (and others) oil, I have never stripped a plug, and I’ve had some vehicles for hundreds of thousands of miles…one for 338,000 miles.

Second, there is absolutely no legitimate reason why an oil pan should be replaced becauise of a stripped fill hole. There are kits to rethread the holes with helicoils, there are self-tapping plugs, both made specifically for repair of this problem, which is totally unnecessary but also unfortunately common.

Ah but you have had a good experience overall.To put it simply I have not,I believe that being a latecomer to the auto repair scene,I’ve had more exposure to the fly by nights.The shops I frequent now are staffed by good people,takes awhile but you can find them(beforehand I either did the work myself or had a family member do it)-Kevin

I find it hard to believe that a bolt which was loosened and tightened 32 times (4 oil changes per year) is damaged by anything but abuse. Maybe they shouldn’t use the impact wrench in the future.

If the dealer considers the car they sold you as “old” when it’s a 2005, that says little for cars they are selling and their confidence in them. They can’t have it both ways. 8 years should NOT be old by any stretch.

Just to continue your theme of “good mechanics”. Years ago after my wifes Accord had 10 k more then the warranty, the dealer informed my that they feared the block might have a crack in it but would fix it for nothing. They gave us a loaner car for a week and proceeded to take the head off do a magnaflux crack detection. They found nothing wrong, gave me an extended warranty for future work and apologized for the inconvenience, informing me that, well, you have new gaskets, coolent and a free oil change. I only had to pay for the gas I used in the loaner car. My biggest complaint ? They gave me a Tempo which was tough to live with for a week.

I don’t know how many hundreds of times I’ve changed oil in the last 50 years on old and new and never stripped an oil plug. Man, my 89 Riv got the oil changed every month for 15 years and never got the pan stripped. Never used a torque wrench either on them.

Most threading problems in my experience, especially working with SS and aluminum marine bolts which are softer and more prone, has been the lack of patience in worrying the threads together. You can bet that someone who does not take the time to do this, would never think of doing it to their car. As soon as the threads start to bind, the thought is " a little dirt" instead of trying over and wire brushing the threads…it’s reach for the impact wrench !
The real onus is from the top down in what management expects from their mechanics.

Remember also that the dealer techs changing oil are one step up from washing the new cars. Experienced technicians are better used for repairs.

“Remember also that the dealer techs changing oil are one step up from washing the new cars”.
@jtsanders–I am about the same level and yet I don’t strip drain plugs. I owned a 1978 Oldsmobile for 33 years and did almost all the oil changes myself and never stripped the threads. I changed the oil on my earlier cars without a problem.
I lack dexterity with my hands, but if I can remove a drain plug and replace it without damaging threads, anybody else should be able to do this.

@Triedaq, you may be the same technical level , but you are much more mature than any 17 year old. And I bet you know a lot more than those newbie techs.