How Tight Oil Drain Plug Should Be?

To flush out the old oil, you need to remove the drain plug. The oil drain plug for your car must be tightened. This is important because oil can leak from the drain plug if it is not tightened enough. 

This article will explain how to properly tighten the drain plug.

How tight should an oil drain plug fit?

The oil drain plug’s tightness will vary depending on its sealing material and pan. A drain plug with a copper seal and an aluminum pan will open much faster than one with a urethane sealing.

To make it easier, tighten the drain pipe by hand and then use a torque wrench. If you are using a torque wrench to tighten your oil drain plug, make sure that it has the correct torque value. The owner’s manual will have the torque specifications for your vehicle.

What happens to the oil drain plug if it is tightened too much?

During an oil change, most dealerships perform Overtightening. They tighten the drain plug too tightly to prevent an oil spillage, but they actually damage the oil drain pipe.

Overtightening can:

  1. Allow the thread to split. 
  2. Disassemble the Drain hole threads.
  3. Increase the pressure on your oil pan to crack it. 
  4. The gasket connecting the plug to the engine must be damaged. 

Engine oil can leak through the drain plug if the seals become damaged. Overtightening may cause threads to become brittle or make it difficult to remove the drain plug. If the oil drain plug gets stuck due to overtightening, then the entire oil pan may have to be replaced.

How do you tighten a drain plug?

Use a torque wrench to tighten the bolt until it touches the drain pan surface. Give the drain plug a quarter turn. The oil drain plug can be tightened with your hands, but you will need to use a tool to twist it at its end.

A Torque of 25nm is sufficient to properly tighten drain plugs on most cars. The torque settings can be adjusted from 10 to 62 ft./ lbs. From 10 ft. to 62 ft./ lbs. For the correct torque specifications, refer to the owner’s guide.

How do you tighten an oil drain plug with a wrench?

A torque wrench is a great tool to tighten the drain plug if you are familiar with how much force to apply. If you apply too much force, the threads can become damaged. Sometimes torque wrenches are long. To properly tighten the oil plug, you must raise your vehicle.

In this case, you can tighten the oil drain plug using the following steps without using a torque wrench. 

  1. Replace the worn washer seal. Make sure that the washer seal has been thoroughly cleaned.
  2. The drain plug should be cleaned. You might get a false impression of thread tightness if there is dirt around the drain plug.
  3. With a clean rag and a stick, clean the drain hole threads.
  4. To prevent the plug from drying out, apply engine oil to its thread.
  5. Use your fingertips to twist the drain plug into the hole.
  6. Finally, you can use a spanner. You can turn the plug 3/4th, or full turn until there is resistance. The drain plug can be properly tightened if the copper washers get crushed.

FAQs regarding Oil Drain Plug Tightening

Is it legal to use a hand wrench to tighten an oil drain pipe?

You can use your hands to tighten the oil drain plug. You run the risk of overtightening your drain plug using tools. Some vehicles require a higher torque to tighten their oil drain caps. You can use tools to supply this torque.

To make sure that the drain plug is properly tightened, first tighten it using your fingers. Then, use a torque wrench to turn the bolt 3/4th turn.

How often should the oil drain plug be changed?

Unless the oil drain plug is damaged or cracked, it should be kept in good condition. Properly maintained, an oil drain plug can last up to 100k miles. It is recommended to replace drain plug washers after each oil change.


In summary, it is crucial to properly tighten the oil drain plug in order to prevent oil from leaking or excessive tightening. Before you tighten the oil drain plug, be sure to check the torque value. 

Turn the oil drain plug tight until the oil feels firm and the gasket touches your drain pan. Make sure the oil drain plug is not too tightened when you visit the dealer for an oil change.

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