While I was tuning up my outdoor power equipment I made a boneheaded mistake with my lawn mower. I was putting the drain plug back in my mower with a socket wrench completely forgetting it was plastic. As soon as I realized something didn't feel right the head completely sheared off leaving the threaded portion of the plug in the drain hole.

There's no place to grab a hold of it now. I believe the threaded portion of the plug is hollow but there's still a bit of the top left of the plug so I can't see through it or stick anything in it.

Any advice on how to get it out? I have a replacement coming today.

So far this is what I've been thinking but I'm open to other options

  1. Heat the tip of a wide, flat screwdriver with a propane torch so it will melt the plastic and make a slot. Let the screwdriver tip cool and try to unscrew it with the screw driver.
  2. Drill 2 holes so I can stick the tips of slightly open needle nose pliers in the holes and twist it off.
  3. Try to remove what's left of the top and use a nipple extractor to remove the threaded portion. This tool works great for broken sprinkler risers but I can't think of how to open up the top to insert the tool.

Here's a picture of the drain plug. Only the threaded portion remains.

Tecumseh Oil Drain Plug

from SearsPartsDirect.com

2 Answers 2


The drain plug wound up not being as hollow as I thought. There was quite a bit of plastic inside the threaded portion and on the top.

I used a conical burr bit in a drill to make a couple of depressions in the plug which I then inserted the tips of needle nose pliers into and was able to twist it off. I wasn't able to twist it off before with pliers. I think the vibration from the drilling might have freed up the threads a little. After that it was easy to remove and install the new plug.

  • Don't forget to select this as the answer when they time comes you can. Apr 16, 2014 at 18:15

Have you tried to just use your fingernail to turn it out? If not, you can use a screw driver and small hammer to run it out. You should be able to easily create a ridge on it since it's plastic. You need to do this carefully, but you'll probably be amazed at how easily it will turn out.

  • Thanks. I'll give those suggestions a try too. I'm just a bit worried about using the hammer. Worried it might jam the threads in and make it harder to remove. Apr 16, 2014 at 15:37
  • No dice with the fingernail or hammer and screwdriver. Apr 16, 2014 at 16:29
  • 1
    I take it the threaded portion is wedged down in there pretty good, then. Once it breaks free, it should be pretty easy to get out. Your suggestion of heating the screwdriver seems like the next best step. Apr 16, 2014 at 16:40
  • Thanks again for the assistance. It always puts me at ease to bounce ideas off someone so I don't make a bad situation worse. I added an answer with how I managed to remove the broken oil drain plug. Apr 16, 2014 at 17:50

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