Typical Oil Drain Plug Torque Specifications

by Kevin Mclain

Typical oil drain plugs come in many different sizes. Each make and model vehicle comes with its own design of oil pan and its own size of oil pan drain plug. There are different types of oil drain plugs. Some drain plugs come equipped with a permanent sealer attached to the back of the drain plug bolt head. Other drain plugs require the assistance of an O-ring, regular washer or a crush washer. The most important part of installing an oil drain plug is to ensure that the drain plug is properly tightened and properly torqued.

The Purpose of Torque

The purpose of torquing drain plugs is to properly secure the plug to a designated tightness that is recorded in foot-pounds. Torque is created by the twisting force or the rotational force of the drain bolt. The force is applied by a torque wrench. Once the designated torque amount has been reached, the drain bolt is properly torqued.

Tightening Before Torquing

Once the drain bolt has been screwed back into the drain pan, tighten the drain plug until the drain plug will no longer turn without having to add excess turning force. This process will not only tighten the drain plug, but it will also allow you to watch as the drain plug washer, O-ring or crush washer is seated.

Aluminum Drain Pans

Aluminum drain pans are more fragile than basic oil pans. The oil drain plug may be a basic drain plug, but the torque amount will be different. The typical torque specification for oil drain plugs on an aluminum oil pan is 20 to 25 foot-pounds.

Basic oil pan

Most vehicles are equipped with a basic oil pan, and the basic oil drain bolt will require a little bit more torque. The reason for the extra torque is because the basic oil pan is designed out of a thicker metal than an aluminum oil pan and can withstand a tighter oil drain plug. Torque the oil drain plug to 25 to 30 foot-pounds.

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