How to deal with Stripped Oil Drain Plugs

new oil drain plug

Oil Drain Plug

After performing well over 2000 oil changes I think I have seen it all as far as things that can go wrong with this simple service. The focus of this article will be on oil drain plugs and how to solve some of the most common problems associated with them during oil changes.

At the very bottom I will include some of the tools and replacement parts that are mentioned. I have seen damaged oil drain plugs ever since I first got into the auto repair business in 1984. Although it was far less common in the old days due to better materials. Back then most of the damage would be taken by the softer drain plug instead of damage occurring to the threaded hole inside the heavy steel pan.

Even if there was damage to the threads in a metal oil pan you could usually chase them with the proper sized tap. But as time went on we started to see the quality of the steel oil pan start to tumble as auto companies used cheaper and thinner parts to save money and reduce weight. Then they took this a step further and started using stamped aluminum oil pans. This meant a whole new series of problems associated with a stripped oil drain plug. Now it was just as common to see a severely damaged hole in the oil pan as it was to come across damaged threads on the plug itself.

Simple preventative solutions for oil changes Continue reading

Cadillac Tire Pressure Warning Light

tire warning message

Tire warning message

This morning I was greeted by the tire pressure warning light on my 2009 Cadillac SRX. Although I am no stranger to the warning light and the monitoring system that turns it on this was the first time I’ve seen it on my own personal vehicle.

The Cadillac is equipped with a driver information center referred to in the owner’s manual has DIC. So I scrolled through the information that was available on the Dic to confirm the original message of check left rear tire. Lo and behold the left rear tire was the lowest one on the vehicle coming in at 24 psi

The first thing that crossed my mind was that yesterday there was no warning lights and everything was just fine, the tires where reading 25 psi across the board. But overnight we had low humidity and clear skies that allowed the temperature to drop into the upper 60s. This reduced the pressure just enough to trigger the dash warning light. What a difference a single psi of air can make. Continue reading

Three Signs Your Mechanic is a Crook

Image of Mark the Mechanic

Me Fixing a Big Truck

Just because this article is about crooked mechanics doesn’t mean that I think all or even a majority of automotive technicians are crooked. Being a professional mechanic for about 27 years I have worked with and for many honest and talented people that cared about the consumer.

With that said there was often a bad apple in the bunch that did things that were selfish and harmful to the customers. Whenever I start telling stories about crooked mechanics the first one that pops into my head was a dealership mechanic I worked with in the 80′s that kept a squeeze bottle of used engine oil in his toolbox.

He would squirt it around Gasket surfaces and then claimed that they where leaking and needed repair. When we start talking about good mechanics and bad ones I think it is necessary to point out that any industry will have its share of good and bad people contained within that microcosm. In fact this is just my opinion but I have met more crooked Dentists and Doctors then I have professional automobile technicians.

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Florida Car Show Pictures

Corvette car show

Corvette Row

In a departure from the regular articles I provide on this auto repair information blog I wanted to share some car show pictures with you. On Sunday I went to the FNC car show in Bradenton, Florida. The FNC is a local church that I am not a member of. In fact I am not a member of any local Automotive clubs either. But what I am is a car lover that has dedicated a large part of his life to the automobile.

What started out as a fascination or a hobby at the age of 16 when getting my driver’s license turned into a career spanning more than 26 years. But more importantly a hobby that is just as strong and fun to me today as it was when I was a kid.

What pushed me to write about this particular car show was I thought it was really well done. I have been to lots of car shows in my town and I have to say that often they become a painful experience. Continue reading