Oil Drain Plugs – Choose and Use Wisely

By Gary Church

An oil drain plug – is a drain plug – is a drain plug. Right? “NOT!!!!”

There is a prevailing attitude that as long as an oil drain plug has the same thread pitch you can use it in any vehicle that uses that size plug.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Unfortunately, most shops find this out after they have replaced an engine, pressure washed an undercarriage, and of course lost a customer.

All drain pans are not designed the same which is why different drain plugs are required for different vehicles.  Short shank, pilot point, magnetic tip, wide flange, rounded flange, flat smooth flange, or even tapered are some of the differences.  Some even have an O-ring or seal on the seat.

There is a reason for all the different designs used on today’s automobiles.  There is as much engineering going into the oil drain plug as any other part or system on the vehicle.  Some vehicles have a reinforced drain plug hole and others do not. When it comes to doing an oil change and doing it right, I suggest using a drain plug that is the same quality, style, design, and fitment as the OE drain plug.  If for no other reason than the peace of mind created by knowing that the oil pan drain plug will do its job.

And don’t even get me started on the drain plug gasket.

For a wide choice of OE style oil drain plugs, gaskets and application information visit the automotive hardware section at www.johndow.com.