How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

When completing a routine oil change, nothing is worse than stripping the oil drain plug. When this occurs, you might find yourself confused and uncertain about how to remove a stripped oil drain plug. It is simple to remove the oil drain plug and patch the oil pan hole if you have the correct equipment. When there is a problem, it can be simple to simply take the vehicle to an automotive technician, but it is far cheaper and more convenient to perform some simple repairs yourself.

How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

You can do it yourself if you’ve realized that your car needs to have its stripped oil drain plug removed. Most cars had steel pans in the 1980s and 1990s. Automakers are now switching to aluminum oil drain pans. When engine oil is waiting to recirculate in the car sump, aluminum can help keep it cold since it transmits heat more readily than steel.

Well, in this article, we’ll be looking at how to remove a stripped oil drain plug. In spite of that, we’ll be discussing the answers to the following questions:

  • What does the term “stripped” mean with an oil drain plug and hole?
  • What is the purpose of an oil drain plug?
  • Where to Look for an oil drain plug?
  • What causes a stripped oil drain plug?
  • How to remove a stripped oil drain plug?
  • How to fix the oil pan hole?
  • What’s the cost of an oil drain plug?
  • How to maintain a good oil drain plug?

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Without wasting any more time, let’s dive in!


What does the term “stripped” mean with an oil drain plug and hole?

With the oil drain plug and hole, the term “stripped” can be used to describe two different situations. The idea is the same even though they take place in various places. The drain plug is considered stripped if its threads sustain damage. It can be difficult to replace the oil because it becomes impossible to tighten the oil drain plug into the hole.

The threads in the oil pan drain hole can be stripped, and that is another use for the term. When this occurs, it is unable to properly torque the drain plug after an oil change. Oil will seep through the plug if it is not properly torqued. As the oil level continues to fall, failure to address this issue could result in engine damage.

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What is the purpose of an oil drain plug?

This part of the car serves a crucial purpose but is often neglected. As a result, people rarely recognize the value of the oil drain plug. The oil drain plug, which is normally found at the bottom of the engine oil pan, is in charge of enabling the engine to be drained of used motor oil after an oil change. Oil spills out of the pan and into a collection container when the plug is pulled out. Regular oil changes are essential to preserving the health and performance of your engine. The oil drain plug is essential to this procedure because it offers a practical and dependable way to drain the old oil and add new oil.

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Where to Look for an oil drain plug?

A car’s oil drain plug is often easy to find. This is because it typically is located in the bottom of the oil pan, which is fastened to the engine’s bottom, in vehicles. (As a side note, you should regularly check the oil level in your car.) Since the plug isn’t usually on the bottom side, you should check the side because that’s where it will typically be. In this location, it is better guarded against harm from rubbing against a pothole or even driving over a speed bump. Finding the drain stopper is one thing, but getting there is another. Plugs may have to be accessed with special tools since they are close to the engine or the chassis.

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What causes a stripped oil drain plug?

Several things can cause a stripped oil drain plug, including:

  • Over-tightening: The threads of the oil drain plug may become damaged or stripped if they are tightened more than the specified torque specification.
  • Cross-threading: Cross-threading happens when, during installation, the oil drain plug is not properly positioned relative to the oil pan threads. When the plug is tightened, this could result in the threads being stripped or damaged.
  • Improper tool usage: The threads may be damaged and stripped if an improperly sized or typed tool is used to remove or tighten the oil drain stopper.
  • Wear and Tear: As a result of repeated use, the threads on the oil drain plug or oil pan may eventually become worn out or damaged, resulting in stripped threads.

It’s critical to follow the instructions when installing and removing the oil drain plug in order to protect the threads and prevent stripped oil drain plugs. To avoid leaks and guarantee proper engine operation, the oil drain plug may need to be changed or fixed by a qualified mechanic if it becomes stripped.

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How to remove a stripped oil drain plug?

Here’s how to remove a stripped oil drain plug:

  • Get a Replacement (New) Drain Plug
  • Make Use of Vice Grip Pliers
  • Unscrew It

Get a Replacement (New) Drain Plug

It’s usually more beneficial to make sure you have the tools and equipment you need to complete the job before you start. A new drain plug is one thing you ought to have on hand. You ought to put in the replacement plug immediately after removing the damaged one. If not, you must leave the hole open while you go get the plug.

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Make Use of Vice Grip Pliers

To grab the rounded-off drain stopper, use a set of vice-grip pliers. We recommend using the round-jaw kind. If you choose the flat-jaw style, it could be difficult to lock around the bolt. You won’t be able to take it off unless you latch onto it. Turn the pliers in a counterclockwise direction (to the left) as soon as you get a good grip on the drain plug. You might be able to slightly release the pin.

If you are unable to move it at all, lightly hit a hammer on the vice grips. It will start turning if you have a little patience. You might have to exert much more effort if the oil pan threads are broken or the plug is cross-threaded. By further stripping the head, the vice grips may cause additional issues. It might be preferable to utilize a socket in this situation.

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Unscrew It

You should wait until the plug has been loosened before attempting to remove it. Some individuals try to pry it out with a flathead screwdriver, but this is a bad idea. Your oil pan might quickly sustain damage from the screwdriver, which is irreparable. If you damage the oil pan, the repair will be substantially more expensive.

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How to fix the oil pan hole?

Here’s how to fix an oil pan:

  • Get a Drain Plug Repair Kit
  • Eliminate Damaged Threads
  • Tap Out New Threads
  • Flush Oil Pan
  • Install New Plug
  • Refill System & Check

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Get a Drain Plug Repair Kit

Get a comprehensive kit to complete the job if you’re trying to fix the hole in your oil pan. These repair kits for drain plugs include a reaming tool to remove any remaining old thread. Additionally, the kit will have various-sized tools. You can utilize this kit in the future for other projects, such as the gearbox for an automobile or your home’s sump pump. Use a tool like the Oil Pan Thread Repair Kit from Highking Tool.

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Take Out Damaged Threads

The broken threads require the use of the reaming bit. Work on them continuously until all of the damage has been repaired. You can restore the surface’s finish using this kit. If you don’t strip it again after that, it will retain a new plug without any problems.

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Tap Out New Threads

To thread the hole, you have to choose the correct-sized tap. There should be a variety of options in your kit. You can cut new threads in the hole by using this tool. It will be possible to attach the drain plug using these new threads. Make sure to turn the tap around numerous times in a clockwise direction.

Take it back one to two times in the opposite direction once you have completed going that way. Repeat this process multiple times. When the tap passes completely through the oil drain pan hole, it is operational. The best course of action is to examine the job once the threads are finished. There shouldn’t be a lot of metal shavings left behind, and all of the threads should seem even.

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It’s best to cleanse the system before adding the new oil to make sure there are no metal shavings. After you have finished tapping, flush the system with 12 to 1 quart of motor oil. Metal shavings should go out with the oil when you drain them. If you skip this procedure, there’s a chance that metal fragments will enter the oil and damage the motor permanently.

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Install New Plug

It’s time to put the new drain stopper into the hole. Put the plug in the drain hole which has been fixed. First, you should exercise extreme caution. Before installing the drain plug, it is best to take another look at anything that seems difficult. Adjust the new drain plug’s torque to factory specifications. When you are done, check the sealing washer to make sure it is positioned properly by circling the hole’s edge evenly.

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Refill System & Check

Every repair you make to your car should be double-checked, and the same applies here. You must carefully examine your repair for any indication of leaks. Use the recommended amount of new oil to fill the engine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Start the engine if there are no leaks at this time.

You want to do another inspection while the motor is running. If nothing is there, drive the car around the block. If you fixed the problem correctly, everything should remain entirely dry after this test drive.  Do not operate the vehicle if there are leaks. Restart and determine what went wrong this time. When there is no longer any oil leaking through, the job is considered done.

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What’s the cost of an oil drain plug?

oil drain plug

The type of oil drain plug required, the make and model of the vehicle, and the store where you buy it can all affect the price of an oil drain plug. A standard oil drain plug can range anywhere from a few dollars to over $20. Some specialty or high-performance vehicles, however, may require more expensive oil drain plugs, and some aftermarket or upgraded oil drain plugs might also cost more.

It’s crucial to make sure you buy the appropriate oil drain plug for your car because utilizing the wrong plug might result in leaks and perhaps severe engine damage. It’s important to examine your vehicle’s owner’s manual or get advice from a reputable repair if you’re unsure which oil drain plug to use.

discover product

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How to maintain a good oil drain plug?

Proper maintenance of the oil drain plug is important to ensure that it remains in good condition and does not become stripped or damaged over time. Here are some tips to maintain a good oil drain plug:

  • Follow the recommended torque specification: When installing the oil drain plug, always follow the manufacturer’s recommended torque specification. Tightening the plug beyond the recommended torque can cause damage to the threads and lead to stripping.
  • Clean the oil drain plug threads: Before reinstalling the oil drain plug, make sure to clean the threads on both the plug and the oil pan. This will help ensure that the plug threads are properly and do not become stripped.
  • Use the correct tool: Make sure you use the correct size and type of tool to remove and install the oil drain plug. Using the wrong tool can cause damage to the threads and lead to stripping.
  • Replace the oil drain plug gasket: The gasket that seals the oil drain plug to the oil pan can become worn over time, leading to leaks. During oil changes, make sure to replace the gasket along with the oil filter.
  • Inspect the oil drain plug regularly: During oil changes, inspect the oil drain plug for any signs of damage or wear. Look for any cracks, chips, or other damage that may indicate that the plug needs to be replaced.

Following these tips can help maintain a good oil drain plug and avoid engine damage or leaks.

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Oil Drain Plug FAQs

What happens if the oil drain plug is stripped?

Your car’s stripped oil drain plug is a serious issue that demands attention. This is due to the possibility that this problem could ultimately result in severe engine failure, which would be far more difficult and expensive to repair than it would be to simply catch it in time.

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Can a stripped oil drain plug fall out?

Yes. After the oil has been drained, if the Oil Drain Plug was not correctly secured, it will ultimately come loose.

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Can you drive with a stripped drain plug?

If you try to tighten it up and it just keeps spinning, it is stripped. With a stripped plug, I wouldn’t drive the car if I was you. All it needs are some consistent engine vibration and bumps from everyday driving, and it will start to fall out. When your engine fails due to oil loss, you will then require a replacement.

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What causes the oil drain plug to leak?

Your drain plug may be leaking for a number of reasons. To assist seal your plug, you might use a crush washer, a gasket, or a combination of these two materials. The gasket or washer may have dried out or torn, or they may both be missing or distorted, which would explain the leak.

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Can you drill out the oil drain plug?

If your drain plug is solid, you’ll need to drill a tiny hole through the center of it. Use a hammer too lightly to moderately tap the EZ-Out’s end. It should only require one effective tap.

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Which tool would be best used to remove the oil drain plug?

To allow the used oil to drain from the engine, you must first remove the oil drain plug using a socket wrench.

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Can you hand-tighten the oil drain plug?

It’s “hand-tight, plus a little more,” in my opinion. And for oil filters, we recommend tightening them as much as you can by hand. To do this, turn the oil filter until it naturally stops turning, at which point you might be able to twist it one more quarter turn.

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Does an oil drain plug need to be tight?

It’s never a good idea to have the drain plug too loose since if you lose it, your oil can end up on the highway. The best recommendation for the drain plug is to finger-tighten it where the gasket contacts the drain pan surface, then give the drain plug about a quarter turn.

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How do you drain oil from a car without removing the plug?

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What happens if you get oil on a plug?

However, a misfire, higher oil consumption, and increased fuel consumption can all come from having oil on your spark plug threads or in your plug wells for an extended period of time. Even worse, it can damage your engine and ruin parts like your catalytic converter.

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That is all for this article, where we looked at how to remove an oil drain plug. Nonetheless, we got to discuss the answers to the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of an oil drain plug?
  • What does the term “stripped” mean with an oil drain plug and hole?
  • Where to Look for an oil drain plug?
  • What causes a stripped oil drain plug?
  • How to remove a stripped oil drain plug?
  • How to fix the oil pan hole?
  • What’s the cost of an oil drain plug?
  • How to maintain a good oil drain plug?

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