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1991 Honda Accord:
Stripped Oil Pan Drain Plug Hole

Alex Steele
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I recently had my car in for an oil change at the dealership where I bought the car. It should also be pointed out that I have had my car, a 1991 Honda Accord, religiously serviced at this same dealership.


At the 55,000-mile service, the mechanic told me I needed a new oil pan because the drain plug hole was stripped from over-tightening. The thing is, these people are the only ones who have ever changed my oil. They wanted me to pay for the repair until I pointed out that fact. They then rethreaded the hole at no charge (ordinarily a $100-plus job, they said) to stop the leak.


I have since moved from Nevada to Kansas, and my new mechanic says the drain plug hole is again stripped and I need a new oil pan costing $450 installed. What recourse do I have?




Stripping the drain plug hole is a common occurrence on some Hondas. The first reason is that Honda uses a metal washer on the drain plug. The washer becomes distorted, along with the oil pan, and excessive torque is needed to seal it. (G.M. uses a washer with a rubber insert. It works really well and is interchangeable with the Honda washer.) The second reason is normal wear and tear, and the fact that most technicians don't use a torque wrench on the drain plug.


Here are your choices:

1 - Your dealer already tried to Heli-Coil (re-thread) the hole, and that didn't last. Skip that one.

2 - You can get an oversize drain plug from your neighborhood parts store. The plug attempts to dig its own threads into the stripped hole. Sometimes it works well. If it does, it's a cheap way out.

3 - A new oil pan is the best repair. If you're particular about your car, this is your only choice but first call around for prices, $450 sounds high.

4 - Too bad you left Nevada so soon, your original dealer who felt responsible enough to try and repair the oil pan just might have bought you a new one.

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19 Mar 2016, 04:34
Free knowledge like this doesn't just help, it promote dercomacy. Thank you.
03 Apr 2012, 06:43
Actually, that's a somewhat new repair since this column was written.

There are also threaded inserts which can be used to maintain the original drain plug size, and a much stronger repair than a Heli-Coil.

They only drawback to these repairs, as opposed to a new pan, are the metal particles left in the pan after drilling and tapping. It's a good idea to add oil and let it flow out the hole when done tapping. But you're never gonna get it all out. That's always bothered me...
02 Apr 2012, 23:17
Most Fast lube centers have a repair kit for this. They ream out the original hole, re-thread it and install a new slightly larger drain plug which has a rubber seal. Worked good and the pan is as good as new.


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