How to Replace Oil Pan Gasketby Josh BoydUpdated September 09, 2022
With enough years and miles in the rearview mirror, every vehicle will eventually experience an oil leak to some degree. As the engine ages, its seals and gaskets begin to dry and crack, allowing oil to flow where it otherwise would not, often leaving an unsightly stain in the driveway as a result.
Of these oil leaks, few are as common as those which originate at an engine's oil pan gasket. In fact, leaks of this type occur far more frequently than one might expect. Luckily, oil pan gasket replacement is not overly complex, and can be completed by almost any individual with an assortment of hand tools, and a bit of basic mechanical aptitude.
How To Replace Oil Pan Gasket
Oil pan gasket replacement is relatively straightforward, and seldom involves the use of any specialty tools. This is a job that most beginner DIY mechanics should feel comfortable tackling on a Saturday afternoon, with little hesitation.
While quite standard overall, the exact procedure for oil pan gasket replacement varies from one model of vehicle to the next. This places increased importance upon having a model-specific service manual at the ready, before tackling this chore.
How Long Does It Take To Replace A Gasket On An Oil Pan?
In most cases, gathering up all necessary supplies, and elevating your vehicle to a height at which you can access its leaking oil pan gasket, actually takes longer than the repair itself. Under most circumstances, oil pan gasket replacement can be conducted in less than an hour, give or take.
However, it is worth mentioning that some vehicles actually require the removal of various steering/suspension components, in order to drop the oil pan itself. In such cases, replacement might take significantly longer. Again, this is where it pays to have a model-specific service manual within arm's reach.
Oil Pan Gasket Replacement: What You'll Need
You should have the following items on-hand before attempting to replace your vehicle's oil pan gasket. Having each of these items at the ready will expedite the replacement process, and assist you in getting your vehicle back on the road in record time.
Items you will need
Correct Oil Pan Gasket
Silicone or Sealant (if required)
3/8¨ Drive Ratchet (with sockets and extensions)
Basic Set Of Metric Wrenches
Basic Shop Light
Oil Drain Pan
Jack / Jack Stands (or ramps)
Replacing an Oil Pan Gasket: Steps To Success
If you're wondering how to replace an oil pan gasket, follow these steps:
1. Lift The Vehicle
When working on vehicles with relatively low ground clearance, such as cars or vans, it will be necessary to raise the vehicle to an appropriate height to allow access from beneath. This can be easily done with a floor jack and jack stands, or with the use of automotive ramps.
2. Check To Ensure Vehicle Stability
Before crawling beneath the vehicle, ensure that all jacks/jack stands are firmly in place, and completely secure.
3. Drain All Oil
Drain all of your engine's oil into a catch pan of the appropriate size. Dispose of this oil following all state and local ordinances.
4. Remove All Additional Hardware
On certain vehicles, it will be necessary to remove additional brackets or hardware, to gain access to each oil pan bolt.
5. Drop Oil Pan
With the use of a ratchet and sockets, or a set of wrenches, remove each of your engine's oil pan bolts. Carefully lower the engine's oil pan from its mounting point on the block.
6. Remove Gasket Residue
Using a scraper, remove any additional gasket material from both the engine block and oil pan flange.
7. Reinstall Pan/Gasket
You will now reinstall your engine's oil pan, with a new oil pan gasket in place. Add any silicone or thread sealant as specified by your vehicle's manufacturer. Bolts should be seated in a criss-cross pattern and should be torqued to manufacturer specifications.
8. Add Fresh Engine Oil
Before starting your vehicle, be sure to fill its crankcase back to capacity with fresh engine oil, of the correct viscosity.
- Unless you have recently done so, change the engine oil and filter. Closely monitor your vehicle for oil leaks after changing the oil pan gasket.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands (4)
- Socket wrench
- Drain pan
- Replacement gasket or sealant
- Torque wrench
- Do not attempt to remove your oil pan without determining the proper torque level for your vehicle. Oil leaks may develop if it is not properly tightened.
Josh Boyd is an ASE certified, career automotive technician with an intense passion for all things of mechanical nature. Whenever Josh does not have a wrench in his hand, he can be found writing for multiple publications.