Toyota oil pan stripped: is there fault?

I own a 1997 Toyota Camry. I had never replaced the oil pan. I have been going to the same dealership to get the oil changed for around the last 10 years.

Yesterday they said the oil pan was stripped and had to be replaced. They said the bolt was fine, just the oil pan itself was stripped.

They told me, this was due to general wear and tear on the car (due to it being 12 years old). They said if this had occurred some time ago, it would have been definitely their responsibility, but due to the age of the car, it was more due to general wear.

Was it their fault the oil pan was stripped or could it have stripped over the general process of the oil changes over the past years.

Threads should never wear out on a drain plug or oil pan. Stripped oil pan threads are usually caused by:
Overtightening the drain plug.

Installing a drain plug without a gasket. (Lack of a gasket does not “cushion” the threads so to speak, and some over-enthusiastic tightening can cause the the threads to “pull”; which means deform outwards. Once they’re pulled it’s only a matter of time until the threads simply give up.

This could have occurred years ago and due to the age of the car your chance of getting them to stand behind this is practically zero in my opinion. However, I do think they are at fault; no doubt about it.
Drain plugs and drain plug threads do not wear out. Period.

Last point. Why should they replace the pan? It’s a simple 5-10 minute fix to tap out the stripped hole to the next oversize and replace the drain plug with a 2.00 dollar oversize plug.
Hope that helps and good luck.

If the dealership is the only place that has ever changed the oil they are responsible for the damaged oil pan threads. I have NEVER had a stripped oil pan, and I’ve been changing the oil in all of my cars for more than 30 years. Many of those vehicles, including the two I have now, are older than your Camry.

Be that as it may, they should be able to repair the threads without replacing the oil pan. Replacing the oil pan is more profitable, but unnecessary.

I’d tell them “Fix it free or you’ll never see me again.”

Let me add to OK’s remarks that the choice to replace the oil pan is one reason I suggest not having a dealer do maintenance work, or any work not covered by the warranty. While they would be no more likely to damage the threads than anyone else (less likely than a quick oil change place) but they tend to replace components rather than repair a component. It cost more but is generally not a better repair.

Generally dealers are no better or worse than independent mechanics, but they will almost always charge you more.

I agree…The ONLY time I’ve ever seen the pan or bolt strip is when it was tightened too much. They should take responsibility for THEIR screw-ups.

Another way aluminum oil pan threads can be stripped out is with repeated removal of the steel drain plug while the pan/plug are hot. My son worked for a kwik-lube place years ago, and he told me the many times when a vehicle would come in and he’d go to remove the drain plugs on aluminum pans that he could feel the threads siezing as the plug was removed. He would stop removing the plug in hopes that if he let a cool down a little the plug would come out easier. But the manager would tell him to get the plug out NOW because the customer is waiting for their vehicle. And if the threads were damaged, replace the drain plug with a quick-plug. He installed a lot of quick-plugs.


The threads were stripped due to overtightening. Period.

There are other solutions rather than replacing the entire pan. The oil plug hole can be retapped and an oversize plug installed. Has the work been done yet?

Once again, drain plug threads do not wear out. Another possibility is that somebody cross-threaded the plug, but that would often damage the drain plug also. I also agree that if they want to keep you as a customer they should take care of it for you. I have never stripped out an oil pan, but have fixed them before on good merit. It’s called earning a customer for life, and it seems to be a lost art for a lot of shops, especially dealerships. Making this repair (fixing the oil pan, not replacing it) should not be a problem for the dealership, unless their mechanics are parts changers and not technicians.

Most shops will tighten the plug as hard as they can and then try for another half turn. It is normal wear and tear when the work is done like that.

Yep, this is the dealership’s fault. If they replaced the crush washer with each oil change and tigtened the plug to spec, this should never happen, regardless of age.

My Toyota 4Runner oil pan threads were stripped. The oil was always changed at Koons Toyota of Annapolis, MD. Their position is it was wear and tear because of the age (2004) and mileage (131,000), and my responsibility. They wanted about $900 to change the oil pan, but I got it done elsewhere for $350. I contacted Toyota of North America, and they acquiesced in their position. Does anyone have a suggestion on recourse?

I don’t think you really have any recourse. I might tell the dealership if they aren’t willing to help with the cost of the repair that I’d be getting my oil changes elsewhere.

We have a 2013 Highlander with over 150k miles. The oil pan threads are fine so far. I always change the oil myself, though. On our vehicle, the oil pan is steel. I imagine it is steel on a 2004 4Runner also, but I’m not certain. It is pretty hard to damage the threads on a steel oil pan unless you cross thread the bolt or really crank on it (in my experience). I should knock on wood. Now that I’ve said this, I’ll strip our oil pan threads on the next oil change😒

I doubt if anything can be done . You said oil pan threads ( the ones that hold the pan to the engine ? ) . Or did you mean the drain plug threads ?
Also the person who started this discussion 13 years ago has never returned to say what happened .

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The oil pan doesn’t need to be replaced if the drain plug threads are stripped.

Thanks for your response. The reason they always changed my oil is because it was free for life once a year when I bought the car there. I have purchased 2 more from them since, but that doesn’t seem to matter to them. Needless to say, I don’t plan to return even for the free oil changes.

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It was the oil pan drain threads, and I was told it is an aluminum oil pan. I am thinking of going to small claims court.

Replacing an oil pan needlessly because of stripped threads is far too common. One would think oversized drain plug. Five minutes and done. Someone gets ham fisted with steel threads on soft aluminum and the aluminum is giving up first.

The threads in my aluminum case antique Harleys (77 and 52 years old respectively) are still fine after Lord knows how many hands were on them before I got the bikes back in the mid 70s.