Oil Leaks And Your Drain Plug

Do you take care of your own oil changes? If so, it’s important to know how to remove and reinstall the drain plug the right way. The drain plug seems like a simple part, but it plays an important role in your Mazda’s lubrication system.

What Is A Drain Plug And Why Is It Important?

Drain plug Mazda

Image Credit: HowTune

A drain plug is a screw-in plug that’s located at the bottom of the oil pan. The oil pain is normally at the lowest point of the engine. When you need to drain the oil out of the engine:

  1. Unscrew the drain plug to remove it from the oil pan
  2. Oil will flow out of the opening until the engine is drained of oil

The drain plug serves two important purposes:

  1. To keep the oil from leaking out of the oil pan
  2. To provide an easy way to drain dirty oil out of the engine

The Importance Of Tightening The Drain Plug The Correct Way

When you change the oil (and replace the oil filter), it’s crucial to remove and reinstall the drain plug the right way.

A common (and easy) mistake is to over tighten the drain plug. In some applications, it’s OK to slightly over tighten a bolt. It’s not OK when it comes to drain plugs. When you over tighten a drain plug, the threads on the drain plug and the oil pan can get stripped. You'd have to buy a new drain plug and oil pan. This also creates an opening for motor oil to leak out.

If enough oil leaks out, the engine no longer gets enough oil. This leads to a variety of engine problems, such as:

  • Contamination of metal shavings in the motor oil due to the lack of lubrication between moving metal parts
  • Failure of individual engine components
  • Complete engine failure

In a nutshell, an improperly installed drain plug can result in very expensive engine repairs.

How To Tighten The Drain Plug The Right Way

This is the proper way to tighten a drain plug:

  1. Screw the drain plug into the oil pan with your hand until the plug is no longer loose.
  2. Grab a torque wrench and then set it between 20 and 25 foot pounds.
  3. With the torque wrench, tighten the drain plug until you hear the first click.

If you don’t have a torque wrench, you can continue tightening the drain plug with your hand. Don’t tighten it until it no longer moves. Just tighten it until it’s snug. Then turn it a 1/4 to 1/3 of a turn with a wrench.

Why It’s A Good Idea To Stock Up On Replacement Drain Plugs

OEM Mazda drain plug

If you take care of your own oil changes, it’s smart to stock up on replacement drain plugs. They’re quite inexpensive (especially if you shop with us – we offer wholesale pricing). Having an extra drain plug on hand can save you in an emergency. For instance, you can easily replace a damaged drain plug on the spot. This will prevent any more oil from leaking out.

It’s also a good idea to stock up on other lubrication system parts, such as oil drain plug gaskets. Having extra parts on hand allows you to fix any issues that arise during an oil change. Being able to replace defective or damaged parts ASAP helps prevent engine oil deprivation.

Do you have any questions about drain plugs or other lubrication system parts? You’re welcome to contact us!