How to Remove a Broken Oil Pan Bolt

by Lee Sallings
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From time to time, a bolt will be cross-threaded or over-tightened and will break off in the block while replacing an oil pan. Removal of the broken bolt can be time-consuming and result in additional damage if not done properly. This project requires special tools, but they are available at larger auto parts stores and are not very expensive when compared to the cost of having a shop do the work. The average weekend mechanic can easily accomplish this repair.

Step 1

Raise the vehicle with a floor jack and support the weight of the vehicle with jack stands. Position the stands on the frame away from the oil pan.

Step 2

Remove the oil pan, located under the vehicle attached to the engine block, according to the directions in the service manual for your vehicle.

Step 3

Punch a small dimple into the center of the exposed end of the broken bolt using a center punch and hammer. Place the dimple directly in the center of the bolt to make removal easier later and avoid damage to the threads in the engine block.

Step 4

Put a small, left-handed drill bit in the electric drill and set the drill to rotate in reverse. The left-handed bit will cut in reverse rotation, and many times it will grab the broken bolt and unscrew it without a lot of effort. If this procedure isn't successful, drill into the bolt slowly to prevent bit slippage and damage. Then select the next larger bit in the set and drill the hole out larger. Repeat this process until most of the bolt has been removed. Insert a screw extractor into the hole that has been drilled into the bolt and rotate it counterclockwise with a small crescent wrench to remove the bolt.

Step 5

Repair the threads of the bolt hole with a tap from the tap and die set. Clean any metal chips and debris from the hole with parts spray.

Step 6

Reinstall the oil pan with a new gasket and tighten all bolts snugly according to the specifications in your service manual. Fill the engine with fresh oil.

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