I have a 2011 Nissan X-trail, 2.0 Diesel. Bought it several months ago and noticed that the oil pan is really rusty.

Here's how it looks:

enter image description here

I am thinking of brushing the rust out and apply a coating of enamel/paint which says it seals and prevents rust. But I don't know how deep the rust goes.

I could try and replace the pan with the next oil change, since the part costs about 50-60 USD. But I am worried about those rusty bolts. Since there are 20 of them, some of them will surely snap. And I don't know if the mechanic will manage to extract them from the block.

What do you advise? Thanks

  • 1
    The picture shows the outside of the pan, am I missing something ? Sep 3, 2019 at 21:37
  • If the rusty bolts are properly torqued they should extract without problem. If they are over-torqued then they may give you problems. You will need a wire wheel/brush to clean the old sealer off the oil pan flange and the block.
    – jww
    Sep 24, 2019 at 0:47

5 Answers 5


If the rust is only superficial, I'd go for the sloppy solution and use some rust converter. Reason: You can do it on-site with the pan attached. Should that not work for some reason you still can change the oil pan later, otherwise you are set for the next years.

Should you try to do it you ought to degrease the pan first (I notice there is a thick oil spot around the plug, so do it after the next oil change, replacing the gasket/washer)

The work gets better if brush off the thickest parts of the rust, wear eye protection and a filter mask.

  • This is my next step. Brush the rust gently and apply a coat of alkyd paint, which says that it's for rusted metal, and seals well.
    – eonootz
    Sep 6, 2019 at 9:02

The pan looks rusty but it's not so critical.

If you have a spare time and you like to fix things you can remove the pan and clean it properly.

First it's better to clean the rust from the bolts with a metal brush or a wire wheel cap brush and a drill. After such cleaning you won't have any problems with bolts, because they are rusted only from the outside.

Loosen mounting bolts in reverse order shown in the picture (I assume your engine is M9R)

enter image description here

Since in Nissan X-trail doesn't have an oil pan gasket, the oil pan fixed in placed with a sealant. Use a knife to cut through the sealant to remove the oil pan.

When the oil pan is removed clean it with a metal brush from the outside and paint it with something strong. Remove old sealant and try not to scratch the surface. Then you need to remove old sealant from the bolts and from the bolts holes.

Then apply a new sealant (use a good one which can handle the engine temp) as shown:

enter image description here

Thickness A is: 3.0 - 7.0 mm (0.118 - 0.276 in)

When done wait 5 mins and install the pan.

Tighten mounting bolts in two steps separately. First step: 5.0 N·m (4 ft-lb). Second step: 16.0 N·m (12 ft-lb). Don't forget about the order:

enter image description here

Wait 30 minutes and then pour engine oil.

  • Problem is that I dont have time to take out the pan and clean it off-site. Might as well take it to a mechanic and replace it with a new one, since the part is cheap. I was thinking about cleaning it on the car, and paint it over, this would save me some time
    – eonootz
    Sep 4, 2019 at 9:10

Realistically, you shouldn't have to replace any of it. If it were me, I don't think I'd be overly worried about it ... wouldn't bother me a bit.

However, you are not me, so to answer your question ... you don't need to replace it to get it cleaned up. You'd just need to pull the pan down, clean the rust off of it, then put it all back together. You'd need a replacement gasket for the pan (between the pan and the block) as far as parts go. A Scotchbrite pad, a bottle of acetone, some rags, a spray can (rattle can) of engine enamel primer, & a spray can of black engine enamel.

Take it down, de-rustify it, clean it up, prime it, then paint. I'd have no fear of the bolts, as just the heads (not the threads) which are rusty ... you should be able to pull those off without an issue. You can clean the heads up on those, stick the threaded section through some card board and paint them the same time you're painting the pan (with primer, then paint). Really, it's just that easy. When replacing the bolts, ensure you're not over tightening them ... just past snug (probably about 15-18 lb-ft of torque, as a guess). You want to get them even, though, so as to not warp your freshly painted oil pan. Also, while you're at it, if there's a gasket on the drain plug, you might want to get a replacement for it as well ... looks like it might be seeping a bit.

  • @Paulaster2 Problem is that I dont have time to take out the pan and clean it off-site. Might as well take it to a mechanic and replace it with a new one, since the part is cheap. I was thinking about cleaning it on the car, and paint it over, this would save me some time
    – eonootz
    Sep 4, 2019 at 9:09
  • @eonootz - nothing wrong with doing that either. Like I said, it wouldn't bother me the way it is, so go for it. Sep 4, 2019 at 16:08
  • Heck, I'd just shoot some more oil over the cover. :)
    – Huesmann
    Sep 4, 2019 at 17:56
  • If one replaces a pan ; a very common mistake is over-tightening the bolts causing gasket leaks ; then you have a problem. Sep 8, 2019 at 20:11

I would take it off clean off the surface rust and see if it flakes away. Rust like that is cancerous and without removing and repainting it the rust will continue to spread from the inside out.

It isn't leaking now? However one small rock will crack a rusted pan before it cracks a unrusted pan. Rust will flake off and if there is enough will put a hole through the pan.

  • It's not leaking. If I take down the pan, I'll replace it with a new one, since it's just 50$ for a new part
    – eonootz
    Sep 6, 2019 at 9:01

Brushed the rust off, cleaned it and applied paint. The rust seemed superficial.

Here's how it looks now:

enter image description here

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