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Thread worn out , during Oil Change

Hi Car Guru…

Could anyone help me over this…

I have Acura-2002 -TLS , Last month i gave the car to firestone guy for a simple oil change.

The Service man from Firestone call me after an hour and told that the BOLT - Thread in OIL pane is worn out , so he can’t do anything.

The Fix he told me was to "CHANGE THE OIL PAN CoMPLETE and he gave me the quote for $400+… Since its not in my affordable range I asked for some other alternate … then he told that he can put a Bigger BOLT as temporary fix -solutions… So i agree up on that , and he placed a bigger bolt

Now , I am thinking about it everytime i take the car.

Thus at this point , I am confused,… is there any other alternative for this problem as permanent fix (Solution)

I did some initial search over your site , where they talk about TIMESERT … At this moment i’m clueless …Any pointer and help would be really great.

  1. Should I go for the new pan
  2. or TIME_SERT option ( EVEN in Time cert could you suggest some one in Irving TX - MacArthur Location )

Appreciate your help in advance.


Yes - the oil drain plug can easily be repaired with something like a time-sert without replacing or removing the pan (unless it also has some other kind of damage. But please don’t ask a Firestone place or any other similar kind of “auto care” corporate chain store to try to deal with it. Specific chain store locations will vary, but often those “big-name” places don’t really have experienced mechanics working in therm. Ask around among people you know for a reputable locally owned auto shop. Take the car there for the drain repair, and for all of your car service. Then you will have a repaired plug and chances are it won’t get messed up again.

Please stay away from these “quickie” oil change chain stores. Find a good independent mechanic in the local area. I would be far more worried if you let them change the oil pan. The $400 would have quickly ballooned upwards as they got further and further in over their heads.

Firestone should stick to tires; they obviously don’t known how to install a repacement plug. A good shop, as pointed out by @cigroller does this kind of thing routinely.

I commend the guys at Firestone for bringing this to your attention instead of sweeping it under the rug. Chances are it was the last person to change your oil who stripped the threads, and Firestone found the damage. I’d be upset if I were in the OP’s shoes because nobody likes getting bad news like this, but I wouldn’t blame Firestone unless that is where the OP always goes to get the oil changed. If this was your first time going to Firestone, they probably aren’t to blame.

I’d like to add that you’re not the first to post here that was told that their entire oil pan needed to be replaced because of a stripped drain hole. For some strange reason, perhaps about a year ago, we started hearing this routinely. Usually it comes from a dealer shop. There seems to be a belief spreading out there that a stripped drain hole requires a whole new pan. I originally thought is was simply a way to generate revenue by doing unnecessary work, but now I’m starting to think it originated somewhere, perhaps from some high-paid consultant giving seminars.

As everyone has said, stripped drain holes are repairable at minimal cost. But I sure wish I could track down the source of this new belief that they cannot.

The oversize drain plug should work fine for infinity unless someone overtightens it; which is likely what caused the first failure.

Playing Devil’s Advocate for a moment, again, I might suggest a few reasons why the dealer may recommend a new pan instead of repairing the old.

  1. It’s possible that the car maker looks at a repair as a stop-gap measure and seeing as how their brand name is involved, would prefer that the vehicle be in an “as it came from the factory” condition.
    2 It could be that some dealers have done repairs and had it come back to bite them even though the repair was done properly. An example might be a thread repair followed by say a fast lube leaving the plug loose a year or so later. The finger might then be pointed at the dealer as doing a shoddy job of installing the oversize plug or while installing a Time Sert.

Regarding Number 1, we had a VW with a mind numbing electrical problem in once that ate me up before I ever sorted it out. Once sorted, I repaired the wire harness and all was good from then on. However, the VW factory rep (with whom I had a great relationship) came out into the shop on his next monthly round and asked me if I ever got that VW fixed. Yes, and told him how.
He was flat irritated to no end because I had repaired that harness and insisted that if it happened again that I was to replace the entire wire loom with a new one.

@mountainbike …I think the replacement of oil pans due to stripped drain plugs came about when aluminum oil pans started to become commonplace. That’s what I heard anyway. It makes some sense.

How does one get the old drain plug out I guess is the question.

Shade tree hillybilly mechanic I am,

First try to get something behind the bolt to provide outward pressure while unscrewing it.

Putting in an easyout locking it tight in the drill in revers mode and pulling hard while drill is in reverse mode slow.

Drilling out the bolt. and re thread with oversize adapter and bolt. I am not recalling the name of the part.

I want to call it installing a tapcon, but what is the name of the part you screw in instead, helix?

@Barkydog, are you looking for “heli-coil?” That is one of the main brand names of those kinds of thread repair products. It might have been the first - I don’t know, but heli-coil does tend to get used generically - like some people use “coke” for “soda” (but then that tells you I’m from the northeast or similar place).

Perhaps. The aluminum pans I’ve seen have deep threads, like the ones on my daughter’s Civics, and could easily be helicoiled, but perhaps there are some that cannot. Although I’d think that even ones with minimal threads could be oversized.

“Worn out” is far from accurate in describing the condition of the threads. Trashed seems more appropriate. If the soft sealing washer is replaced at each oil change and the bolt pulled snug there should be no problem with leaking in the short term or stripped threads in the long term.

Cig, you made me laugh. When I went in the military I discovered “Coke” was called “tonic” in some parts of the U.S. I learned a few other regional “generic names” too, but they’re not for a family forum. :slight_smile:

mtnbike, I’ve never heard that one. (And now we have to get to semantics). Do you mean the brand “Coca-Cola” was called “tonic?” Or that “soda/pop/coke” is called tonic as a generic name? Of course, having said I haven’t heard that one probably also gives away some geography. I wonder if that usage descends from when cola syrup was sold as a stomach remedy. Of course, my mom still uses it as a stomach remedy - flat cola. I’ve given it to my own kids for that reason! (Talk about a thread hi-jacking).

All of the variety of drinks we call “soda” in NH are in some places called “tonic”.
I prefer coke flat. It may stem from my youth. My dad’s retail store had a soda fountain, and in those days they bought the syrup from Coke and added the water at the point of purchase. My dad used to bring the syrup home when we were sick to calm our stomachs.

"My dad used to bring the syrup home when we were sick to calm our stomachs. "

And it worked didn’t it? I don’t know when it stopped but you did used to be able to buy bottles of cola syrup in the drug stores. It has to be better than pepto bismol which my mother also used on occasion. It only worked because it it made me throw up. (Sorry for that).

Yup, it worked…
Pepto Bismol always had that effect on me too. Never could stand stomach the stuff.

I never heard Tonic used for Soda until I moved to NH. It’s very common in Boston.

Down south they use Pop. I grew up using Soda.

Coke was used for any cola drink…then came the Coke lawsuit against Pepsi.

Ah, pop! I remember now!

Pop is still used From the Buffalo area through the midwest.
To get the old drain pluyg out I would lock a big Visegrip straight on and turn and pull at the same time.