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Toggle Plug (oil pan)

I was getting my oil changed at a small oil-change chain when an office meeting broke out under my car. I was told there was no problem, just a new guy that they were training. The next time I had the oil changed the guy asked me if I knew that I had a toggle plug in the drain hole, which he assumed was stripped. Well, that was 5 years ago. Recently my mechanic suggested replacing the oil pan. That is, he suggested it until he found out it was $600 or so. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if there is anything else I can use other than this rubber plug that they call a toggle plug. Any suggestions?

Oh, by the way $600 is about what my car is worth, except it handles like a dream and still has a strong powertrain (not the mention the 30 mpg it gets on the highway).

It could be tapped oversize and an oversize drain plug installed.

Oil change quickie places are the source of a great deal of problems. You may want to stay with your mechanic for oil changes from now on.

I don’t understand the “toggel plug” has been working fine for 5 years and now you think it needs changing? Perhaps the plug is there for convenience not as a repair.

Why did your mechanic want to replace the oil pan? simply over the plug that has been working for 5+years?

I also don’t understand the suggestion to replace the oil pan.

However, if it were my car I’d rather have an oversize plug installed. The rubber on those tggle plugs (if it’s the type I’m thinking of where a center shaft is pulled in by the toggle and the rubber in the middle squeezed to a larger diameter) the rubber can break down and the plug become less than secure. Loss of oil being as catastrophic as it is, I’d want something I had more confidence in.

Just my humble opinion.

You got me curious- here’s a 'toggle plug’
http://www.cgenterprises.com/images/1030.jpg
I also recommend you have a good mechanic replace it with an oversize plug.

That’s different than what I’ve seen. The ones I’ve seen are more like the plugs used in boats, except the squashing mechanism is somewhat different, more like the old coke bottle plugs.

This looks like a much more reliable setup.

It’s sad that these quickie lubes do this to people.

Thanks for the replies.

Frankly, I had thought the toggle plug had been replaced via drilling a new oversized hole. Looks like, I’m going to have to get under the car myself next time and see. I never went to another oil-change shop after discovering what had happened. I recently moved and changed mechanics–the new mechanic told me the toggle plug was still in place. Sooner or later, it probably will fail, so that is why I was wondering on a course of action.

Toggle plugs aren’t designed for this kind of heat. I’m surprised you’ve had one as a crankcase drain plug and it hasn’t failed disastrously, let alone leaked.

You haven’t changed your oil in 5 years?

Incidents like this make me glad I use valves instead of drain plugs. The one I use on all the vehicles I maintain is the Fram Sure Drain Kit. There are other brands to choose from as well. I have tow on my Civic (oil pan and manual transmission), one on each of my motorcycles, and one on my mother’s Sienna.

Other than wondering why this has gone on for 5 long years, I’m always a bit baffled at the number of posts on this board in which a pan replacement is recommended over a simple 5 dollar oversized drain plug.

It also sounds strange that the next guy in line doing the oil change after this toggle plug (expansion plug in my book) apparently did nothing about this problem.
It’s amazing the plug has managed to stay in place and not lead to an engine trashing.

Anyone who uses something like this on a car should find another line of work; and not even service their own car.

I too find these “replace the oilpan” suggestions bewildering. I can’t understand it.