How to Remove an Over-Tightened Oil Plug?

by Chris Lewis.

The oil plug keeps the car lubricated by ensuring that the oil in the pan doesn't pour out. The pan is where the car oil sits, and the plug helps it to serve its purposes. This is why you must always loosen the plug to change your car engine oil.

But sometimes, you may discover that the oil drain plug is too tight and not bulging to you when you turn it. If such a thing happens, it means that the plug is stuck, and unless you take certain actions, it's not coming out.

No matter how many expletives you let out in frustration, the plug isn't going anywhere unless you carry some actions.

So, in this article, we will discuss some of the things you can do to make the plug come out. But, before that, let's discuss why the oil plug usually refuses to loosen freely.

Why do Oil Plugs Get Stuck?

Why do Oil Plugs Get Stuck?
Why do Oil Plugs Get Stuck?

If you want to change your car oil and the plug refuses to loosen, check the causes below.

Over tightening

The simplest reason for the hard plug that refused to open is due to over-tightening. Some car mechanics might often exert so much pressure while tightening the plug, forgetting that someone will loosen it one day.

It may be that during the tightening process, they destroyed the screw pitch without knowing. If the screws are bad, you can only change the oil pan for it to work again.


If the car maintenance engineer didn't over-tighten the plug, then sludge is responsible for the issue you're facing right now. But how does the sludge form?

Whenever you ignore the engine oil for a long time instead of changing it, the sludge forms and holds the plug in its grip. This is why you can assert every level of pressure, and it won't budge.

The chemical process causing this is when the engine oil molecules break down and mix with metallic particles, water, fuel, carbon. This mixture typically forms the sticky sludge that holds the plug tightly.

Now that you have seen why the plug is stuck let's check some things to do in the situation.

How to Remove the Plug

How to Remove the Plug
How to Remove the Plug

The steps below apply to an over-tightened drain plug or sludge-gripped plug. So, follow them and fix the issue.

1. Warm Up Your Car First

For an effective result, when removing the stuck plug, warm up your car. Just turn your vehicle on and allow it to steam for a bit of time.

When you are sure that the vehicle is warmed up enough, look for a stable ground to park it. 

Please, make sure that the car is not hot before you start working on it for your safety. You can then use your hydraulic to lift the car above ground level.

Bend down under your vehicle to find the stuck drain plug. Immediately you locate it, bring it out. Then, all you need to do is turn the plug counter-clockwise and clockwise. It will surely loosen after some time.

2. Apply Rust Remover or Lubricant

After checking the drain plug and discovering rust surrounding it, take care of the rust. Apply a lubricant on the rusty place. The lubricant will dissolve the sludge and rust on the drain plug.

All it takes is to spray oil on the drain plug. Allow it to stay for some minutes. This will enable the oil to work perfectly.

Then you can start removing the car’s oil drain plug. You can use Marvel Mystery Oil for this task.

It is proven to be an effective and safe lubricant for sludge and rust removal. You can also use it to stop gum and varnish build-up, clean fuel injectors, carburetors, and enhance gasoline mileage. It can also increase the plug life.

Using a rust remover prevents the formation of sludge on your engine. It acts as a lubricator to your vehicle’s upper cylinder to ensure smoother idling. Also, it enhances compression, power, and MPG.

These attributes show that this particular lubricant is your go-to. Moreover, you can also prevent the entire problem from occurring by using Marvel mystery oil.

3. Apply Your Socket Wrench

As far as you are a vehicle owner, a socket wrench is a must-have. It is vital in automotive maintenance. The reason is that it is flexible and easy to use. Socket wrenches serve multiple purposes.

Thus, if you get a fitting socket wrench for your drain plug, you can apply it to remove the drain plug.

It is advisable to purchase a long-handle socket wrench. It can deliver extra torque as you remove the plug.

The best one in the market is 69 pcs- EPAuto ¼” & 3/8” Drive Socket Set with Pear Head Ratchet.

It has every socket your car may require. Also, this brand is resistant to corrosion, easy to store, and durable.

4. Use Hammer

Use Hammer
Use Hammer

If you have warmed up your car, applied your socket wrench, and applied a lubricating oil to no avail, your next option should be the hammer.

Gently tap your hammer on the stubborn drain plug to loosen. But be very careful, though, to avoid damaging the plug teeth.

Applying a hammer is only necessary when other options fail you. Also, you can apply the hammer if the drain plug is tightened too much.

5. Use a Professional

After trying all of the above steps and nothing worked, don't hesitate to look for professional help.

But going to a professional for such a task will cost you money. Update them about all your efforts so far that didn’t work. The mechanic will help you solve the problem in no time at all.


If you follow all the steps stated above, you can easily solve an over-tightened oil plug issue. However, you should make sure that the problem does not reoccur.

If your oil drain plug tightens, again and again, it is likely to destroy your car's oil pan. Then you will have to spend a substantial amount on replacement.

About Chris Lewis.

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