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I have a 2005 Dodge Stratus, this is my first time doing the oil change (I'm the 3 owner). I can't get the oil plug off. I have tried a ratchet , wrench and a hammer. The car was warm when I tried I heard that can help. Any other ideas?

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  • Use a longer wrench or t-bar.
    – Solar Mike
    May 16, 2020 at 17:07
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    A picture of the plug would be helpful
    – Moab
    May 16, 2020 at 18:55
  • What you heard was wrong. Both the plug and the sump into which the plug fits will expand when warm, thus making the plug harder to remove. Let it all cool down before you try again. May 16, 2020 at 19:06
  • Be sure you're turning it the right way. Things can be confusing upside down.
    – George
    May 17, 2020 at 2:21

2 Answers 2

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Metal expands when it heats, so warming an engine isn't a good way to free up the plug, although it's good to have warm oil when you change it as it flows more freely. First, get some penetrating spray like WD40 and spray it on. Then spray more on 20 minutes later. Then spray more on 20 minutes after that and try the nut again, repeated sprays and giving it time to soak in can work wonders. Spraying and leaving it overnight isn't a bad idea.

Next, get a longer lever. A breaker bar or something similar will give you lots of torque on the plug. If you don't have one use a "cheater", which is a length of pipe that fits on the end of your wrench. Make sure you are getting a good grip on the plug and not rounding it off.

Once you get it off make sure you torque it down to spec, the reason you're having problems could be it was over-tightened in the first place. 14 foot-pounds seems to be a common number but check your service manual to make sure.

Once you free it and it starts to move you could then heat up the engine to get the oil warm, then stop it and remove the plug fully to drain.

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Oil change tip - how to loosen a stuck oil pan drain plug / bolt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UwqA1vifRjI

This guy shows exactly what you are looking for, 'IF' the problem is not a rounded off bolt.

If the bolt has been rounded off by repeated attempts to get it out, there are several options available to you. I don't have all the terminology, but this fellow explains and demonstrates several methods of removing rounded bolts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ix1-NVOC83w

A great explanation of extractor sockets and tool quality vs performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EfLTszAr7w

When you get it out, move your head real quick. I'll never forget my first oil change. LOL I don't know which was more humiliating; the fact that it happened or the merciless ribbing I endured afterwards. :)

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  • Oil drain plugs are usually stuck when they are tightened without the gasket (crush washer). Next time, use a washer and tighten the plug to the specified torque and you will have no problems loosening it later. Another advantage of using a crush washer is that it prevents damaging the oil pan threads in case of over-tightening the plug.
    – LFY MP7.3
    Jun 12, 2021 at 11:46

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