Hey guys I went to the dealership and they told me that my oil pan threads are worn.

My question: Is this major thing? And is it safe to drive?

Because I told them I'm gonna travel to Florida by my car. I live in Mississippi. They told me nothing is wrong with the car, you're good to go!!


  • 2
    The oil pan threads are worn? Are they talking about the oil drain plug threads? Or the pan bolt threads?
    – Ben
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 0:53
  • What they aren't telling you is that the only reason the threads would be worn/damaged is due to repeated over tightening by the oil change tech. If you don't over tighten it the threads should never wear out. The same goes for the lug nuts holding on your wheels.
    – Tom Penny
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 9:50

2 Answers 2


If the threads in the drain are worn (i.e. the threads where you screw in the drain plug) then the risk is that you will be leaking oil. If you are only leaking a small amount of oil then this is not a serious problem as long as you don't let the oil level get too low.

If there is a serious leak then you should get it fixed before taking a long trip.

  • 2
    And if you happen to be driving and your oil light comes on, pull over and turn off the engine as fast as you safely can.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 15:18
  • Nuh its a small amount and sometimes it does not leak at all. So i dont know
    – Abdulaziz
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 18:06

Huh? Worn? I seriously doubt that. I would think you could remove and install a drain bolt 100 times without wear. (Note: I'm assuming steel oil pan here.. I guess it's possible for an aluminum oil pan to get stripped out after repeated insertions. What is your oil pan made of, aluminum or steel?)

First off the primary seal for and oil drain bolt is the copper (and sometimes plastic) washer between the oil pan and the bolt head. It's not the threads of the bolt. Generally you use a new copper washer with each oil change.

More likely scenario: Some mechanic dropped the oil drain bolt at your fast lube station, and grabbed some other bolt, with different threads. They forced that in, perhaps used a tap to recut threads to match, and now that's just a very loose fit. Its also possible that your oil pan drain plug area hit a rock in the road, and this is causing problems. This is bad, as it is possible for a drain bolt to just fall out, later. If that happens when you are on the road, you've got mere seconds to stop the engine. Remember when the oil light comes on, that doesn't indicate a low oil condition, it indicates there is zero oil in that engine. My belief is that if you run that engine even 60 seconds without oil, the engine is destroyed.

  • It sure would be nice to have the correct drain plug with correct threads in there.
  • The best thing to do is remove the oil pan and get this carefully fixed. If it were me, I'd fill threaded hole in the oil pan with TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding and recut the threads. I'm decent at TIG in both aluminum and steel. But to have that done would be expensive.
  • Another choice is to just buy a new oil pan.
  • It sure would be nice to know exactly how loose that drain bolt is.
  • I guess you could purchase a new drain bolt, go to a quickie oil change place have them drain the oil. When the oil is drained, test the current drain bolt to the new one you've just bought to see how "loose" it is.
  • Piece of mind is certainly worth the price of an oil change and a new bolt.
  • If it's crazy loose with both bolts, do the drain pan removal and repair.
  • While you're at it buy a new crush washer. I doubt that quick stop oil change places actually change them.
    – rviertel
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 13:39

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