How to Repair a Stripped Oil Pan

Car oil changes have to be performed regularly. What many people do not know is that changing the oil can damage the oil pan. The most common way is stripping the oil pan bolt hole. Instead of replacing a stripped oil pan, you can repair it. This is a far less expensive auto repair, and it is an easy maintenance to perform. This article will walk you through each step of the repair.



Gather Your Tools

The first step of all auto repairs is to make sure that you have every tool that will be needed to complete the repair. You will need a thread pitch gauge, bolt diameter gauge, new drain plug bolt, new gasket, wrench set, bearing grease, and a tap and die set.


Measure the Drain Plug Bolt

Use your thread pitch gauge and measure the distance between the threads. You will also need to measure the diameter of the bolt. These measurements will tell you the size of the plug you will need.


Grease Tap

For the next steps, you will need the tap and die set. Take the tap that corresponds to the original bolt plug sizes. Insert it into the tap wrench. You want to make sure that the end is greased. If it is not, rub bearing grease over the tip end of the tap.


Align Tap

The next step is to align the tap correctly. You want to make sure that it is aimed straight into the plug. The tap should be aligned with the pan’s threads.


Begin Cut

Turn the tap one complete revolution. This will start to cut the thread. When you have finished one revolution of the tap, turn it in the opposite direction half of a revolution. This will allow any debris from the cut to fall out.


Finish Cut

You want to continue the process of turning forward one revolution and then back half a revolution until the cut has been completed. You will know it has been completed because there will no longer be resistance when you turn it.


Install New Gasket

After you finish the cut, you want to replace the old gasket. Simply remove the old gasket, and then install the new one. This will help make sure that there is a tight seal in the oil pan.


Install New Drain Plug

The next step is to install the new drain plug. It should fit snugly. You want to make sure that you tighten it so that it is held in place. If it will not tighten, you will need to perform the next step.


Use a Larger Plug

You will need to perform this step if the plug did not tighten. You will need to try to install the next larger size plug. You may not have this on hand, but it is worth seeing if the next larger size will tighten before replacing the oil pan. You will also need the gasket that corresponds to this size. Install both of them. If the bolt tightens, the repair should work. If it does not, it is likely that the oil pan is not salvageable.


Test for Leaks

Now that you have re-threaded the drain plug, you are ready to make sure that it is no longer leaking. Fill with oil and observe. If it does not leak, you have completed the repair successfully.

You now know how to repair a stripped oil pan. The cost of the materials for this repair is just a few dollars, compared to the hundreds it would take to replace. You can complete this repair in about 30 minutes. Stripping the pan is a fairly common side effect of having the oil changed. If this happens, just follow this procedure to correct it.