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How to Remove a Stripped Oil Drain Plug

by Serena Styles

Changing your vehicle's oil on your own is a cheaper alternative to paying a shop to do it. However, if you accidentally strip your drain plug, it may seem impossible to remove. Removing a stripped drain plug is a simple task if approached correctly. All that is required is a few tools and 10 minutes of spare time.

Order a new drain plug for your vehicle prior to removing the stripped plug so you have a replacement on hand.

Secure a pair of round-jaw vice grip pliers around the stripped drain plug. Do not use flat-jaw vice grips because they will not lock around the bolt as securely.

Turn the pliers to the left, or counterclockwise, to loosen the drain plug. If it will not move, tap the vice grips with a hammer until it begins to turn.

As you feel the drain plug begin to loosen, wedge a flathead screwdriver between the plug and the oil pan to pry it out.


  • Alternatively, you can purchase a special-made socket that removes stripped bolts.

Items you will need


About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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Photo Credits

  • vice grip pliers with screws image by JoLin from