Nothing is certain. Even the drain plug of the oil pan on your car's engine may not be enough to prevent oil leaks. Unknown by many car owners, some car models have drain plugs that come with an oil drain plug gasket. The gasket doesn't just serve to stop oil from leaking. It has another special function - as a lockwasher for the drain plug. The gasket keeps the plug from slipping out of its thread.There have been cases wherein the drain plug completely fell out of the oil pan leaving owners completely baffled. There's a catch to the oil drain plug gasket, though: it can only be used once. That means every time your engine has an oil change, you have to replace the gasket.Otherwise, the gasket will cause a leak. The more you tighten it, the worse the leak gets. That's because the gasket loses shape once used. No sweat. Plenty of replacement gaskets are available here at Carparts.
• Helps the oil pan's drain plug in preventing oil leaks
• Keeps the oil drain plug from coming loose
• Compatible for engines with gasket-equipped oil pan drain plugs
What to Consider When Buying an Oil Drain Plug Gasket
If your car is having an unexplainable oil leak, then you should check the oil drain plug gasket. This gasket is attached to your vehicle's drain plug and seals the area between the plug and the drain pan. Once it's worn out, oil will pass through the plug and spill. Usually, drain plug gaskets last for a long time. However, to avoid sudden leaks, experts recommend that they be replaced every oil change. If it's time for you to replace this part, there are some things that you should consider, so you won't end up with a leaking oil pan.
The gasket type
Nowadays, car parts manufacturers make oil drain plug gaskets out of different materials. If it's your first time to buy a replacement gasket, then you have to know which type will suit you and your car's needs. Listed below are some of the most common type of oil plug gaskets and their pros and cons.
- Rubber-lined brass: When it comes to stopping oil leakage, a rubber-lined brass gasket is an excellent choice because the rubber line fills the grooves of the drain plug perfectly. Also, if you're a DIYer, this gasket is perfect for you because you don't need a torque wrench to tighten it. However, rubber-lined gaskets don't last because the rubber eventually wears off.
- Plastic: This type of gasket is perfect if you want temporary oil leak solution because it's very cheap. However, if you'll use this gasket as a long-term solution, you need to be careful. Plastic gaskets tend to melt or get crushed because of the engine's temperature. Thus, you have to replace them often.
- Copper: If you want factory-like performance, then you should buy a copper oil drain plug gasket. This type is typically used as an OEM gasket because it's cheaper than others. Moreover, copper gaskets last for a long time if they're properly torqued. However, if you'll go for this type, make sure that you'll clean it every time you change your oil so it won't crack.
The gasket size
Now that you have an idea of which type you will choose, it's time to find out what gasket size your car needs. If you'll browse a car parts catalog, you'll see a size chart for oil drain plug gaskets. Some of the sizes that you can choose from are 1/2 inch, 10mm, 12mm, and 22mm. However, you can't just choose randomly because the gasket size depends on your car's oil drain plug size, make, and model. For instance, if you have a 1996 Range Rover 4.0 SE, you'll need a 12mm gasket. On the other hand, if the size of your car's drain plug is 17mm, then you'll need a 14mm gasket. Always remember that knowing the right size is very important because if you'll buy the wrong one, you'll just end up with an oil leak.
Replacing a Worn Oil Drain Plug Gasket in 8 Steps
If your car's engine oil is still leaking even after replacing the drain plug, then you should consider replacing the oil drain plug gasket. Even if it's just a small part, the gasket can cause major problems once it's damaged. A worn gasket can cause engine oil to leak faster than you can say "fender bender". Thus, your car may overheat, and some metal parts in the engine may melt. Luckily, replacing a damaged gasket is as easy as 1-2-3. This DIY guide will teach you simple and quick steps on how you can do this repair at home.
Difficulty level: Easy
Things you'll need:
- New oil drain plug gasket
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Socket wrench
- Oil pan
Safety tip: Allow the engine to cool for a few minutes before working on the gasket to avoid being scalded by hot oil.
Step 1: Park on level ground. Then, raise your car using the floor jack. Don't forget to support your raised vehicle by using jack stands.
Step 2: Locate the oil drain plug. Usually, it can be found at the front end of the vehicle. Once you found it, put the oil pan underneath.
Step 3: With your wrench, loosen the bolt securing the plug in place. Once it's loose enough, unscrew it with your hand. Stay clear of the draining oil because it may scald or irritate your skin.
Step 4: After draining the oil, clean the area with a rag, so you can locate the worn gasket.
Step 5: Remove the gasket from the oil drain plug. Then, set the plug aside.
Step 6: Dab some oil on the replacement gasket, so it will fit the plug perfectly. When you're done lubricating the replacement gasket, attach it to the oil drain plug.
Step 7: Put the oil drain plug back in place using your wrench. Afterwards, open the hood, and replace the oil you drained while replacing the gasket.
Step 8: After refilling the oil, leave the oil pan under the oil drain plug for a day so you can be sure that it's no longer leaking. If the oil pan is still clean the next day, then you did a great job. If not, make sure that the oil drain plug and gasket are installed properly.