How to remove an oil drain plug that is ripped (& repair the threads)
There’s nothing worse than stripping the oil drain plug when performing a regular oil change. You might find yourself scratching your heads wondering what to do with a stripped oil drain plug. With the right tools, it isn’t difficult to get the oil drain plug out and repair the oil pan hole.
You will now have an oil drain plug. Use your vice grip pliers for the job. If you require more power, turn the pliers clockwise. It should become loose enough that you can remove it.
This guide will provide detailed instructions on how to take out a stripped oil drain plug. Also, we will show you how to patch the hole in your oil pan.
- What happens when an oil drain plug is removed?
- How to remove a plugged oil drain plug
What happens when an oil drain plug is removed?
One can use the term stripped to describe two conditions: an oil drain hole or plug. They may occur at different places, but the idea is the same.
The drain plug is marked as stripped if it sustains damage to its threads. This is because the drain plug becomes too tight to fit into the hole. It makes it difficult to do an oil change.
This term also refers to the removal of oil pan drain hole threads. This is when the drain plug can't be tightened properly after an oil change.
The oil can leak from the plug if the bolt is not tightened properly. If this happens, the oil will continue to fall and could cause engine damage.
Too much tightening often results in ruined threads and plugs. Every drain plug must be tightened to a specific torque, according to the manufacturer’s specs. The wrong-sized socket or wrench can cause damage to drain plug heads. This is most common when standard is replaced with metric.
How to remove a plugged oil drain plug
1. Install a new drain plug
Before you get started, it’s always best to ensure you have the necessary equipment to complete the jobs. You should always have the replacement drain plug on hand.
The new plug should be placed in the same place as the one you took out. If you do not want the plug to be removed, the hole will remain open until you get it.
2. Use Vice Grip Pliers
To grab the drain plug's rounded end, you can use vice grip pliers. The round-jaw type is recommended.
You might experience difficulty locking the bolt if you choose the flat-jaw style. Without locking onto it, you won’t be able to remove it.
After you've secured the drain plug in your grip, move the pliers clockwise. The plug may still be slightly loosenable. If you can’t get it moving at all, hit the vice grips gently with a hammer. It will turn with patience and a lot of patience.
It is possible to make more work if you have cross-threaded the plug or damaged the oil pan threads. If vice grips are present, you might need to strip the head more. A socket might work better in such cases.
3. You can't screw it
You don’t want to attempt removing the plug until it has been loosened. It is possible to use a flathead drill driver to extract the plug, but it's not recommended.
A screwdriver could easily cause damage to your oil pan. This cannot be fixed. If you damage the oil pan, it will cost more to repair.
How to fix the Oil Pan Hole
1. Purchase a Drain plug Repair Kit
A complete kit is required to fix the oil pan hole. The drain plug repair kit comes with a reaming piece to extract any old thread.
You will find tools in a variety of sizes included. This kit will also include tools of varying sizes that you can use for future projects such as your automotive gearbox or household sump pump.
These kits can be used down below. It is an affiliate link, which means we might earn a small commission on qualified purchases.
2. Get rid of damaged threads
You must use the reaming tool to remove damaged threads. Keep at it until you are satisfied with the results.
You can renew the surface's appearance by using this tool. Once that’s done, it will hold a new plug without any issues unless you strip it again.
3. Explore New Threads
To thread the hole, you will need the right-sized tap. You should have several options to choose from in your kit. You can use this tool to create new threads.
The new threads will hold the drain plug in place. You should rotate the tap many times clockwise. Once you have finished rotating the tap clockwise, move it counterclockwise.
This process should be repeated several times. When the tap reaches the full depth of the oil drain pan, it is complete. Once the threads are completed, it’s best to take a look at the work. You want all of the threads to appear even and there shouldn’t be an excessive amount of metal shavings left behind.
4. Flush Oil Pan
To ensure there aren’t metal shavings, it’s a good practice to flush the system before adding the fresh oil. When you are done tapping, flush the system with ½- to 1-quart of motor oil.
You should also take the metal shavings with you when draining this oil. If you don’t do this step, you risk having metal pieces flowing through the oil and motor, thereby leading to permanent damage.
RELATED: 5 Easy Steps to Change Your Car's Oil.
5. Replace the plug
It’s time to put that new drain plug in the hole. The plug should be inserted into the drain hole. Be careful at first. If anything feels awkward, it’s best to take another look at it before you shove the drain plug inside.
Toss the new drain plug in accordance with factory instructions. When you are finished, inspect the sealing washer to ensure it is evenly placed around the hole’s perimeter for a good fit.
6. Refill System & Check
It is essential that you inspect any work done on your vehicle. It’s important that you inspect your repair for any sign of leaks. You should use the recommended amount of new oil to refill the engine. Start the engine if there is no oil leakage.
You can perform another inspection while the engine is running. If you don’t see anything, take the vehicle around the block. If you did the repair correctly, your vehicle should be dry after this test drive.
If there are leaks, don’t drive the car. It is important to go back and fix the problem. The job isn’t complete until no more oil is seeping through.
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