How To Clean the Oil Drain Plug

For automobile and motorcycle owners, having an oil change is a given when it comes to regular preventive maintenance.  However, oil change maintenance schedules cost a fortune!  Instead of going to an auto mechanic, many drivers just do it themselves.  An important part of the process of changing the oil on your machine is cleaning the oil drain plug.  Cleaning it thoroughly will make it easy for you to spot a leak after you put in fresh oil.  It will also keep you from getting dirt from the oil pan into the inside of the engine.

What is an oil drain plug, anyway?  An oil drain plug is basically a large nut that covers the hole located under the oil pan at the bottom of the engine.  It is taken off so that the old oil inside the engine can flow out and be replaced.   
Normally, when you buy your oil filter, the oil drain plug comes with a gasket.  That gasket is wound around the oil drain plug to prevent oil leaks.  To remove the oil drain plug, the gasket should be loosened first.  If there is no gasket, because some automobiles do not have one, you may unscrew the oil drain plug with the use of an adjustable wrench instead.  If the oil drain plug is too hot to touch, you can let it cool off first.  If you cannot reach the oil drain plug easily, you will need to crawl under the car.  Just make sure to lift the automobile with the use of a jack to give you ample space.  Before you totally remove the oil drain plug from the oil pan, make sure that there is a basin waiting from under the oil drain plug that will catch the old oil that will flow once the oil drain plug is removed.  Once the oil drain plug is almost ready to come out, protect your hand with a rag and twist the plug to remove it.  Pull your hand away quickly to prevent the engine oil from spilling onto your shirt.

Usually, the tip of the oil drain plug is magnetic.  This feature enables it to catch slivers of metal shed by the engine.  It is normal to see small pieces of metal ending up on the edge of the oil drain plug.  Just use a clean rag to wipe them off.  You can scrape off any hardened residue if ever you find it.  Do not forget to wipe the oil drain plug area.  After all this cleaning, the oil drain plug is now ready to be placed back in the hole.
In returning the oil drain plug, you should make it a point to never over-tighten it.  It should be tightened according to the engine’s manual specification.  An over-tightened oil drain plug may damage the oil pan.
You will definitely save some money by doing this task yourself.  All you need are the right tools and sufficient knowledge to get the job done.


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