Car Oil Drain Plug Not Tightening: 3 Reasons And Their Solutions

A loose drain plug can leave you with a seized-up engine. So, if you are facing a problem with the oil drain plug tightening, then you need to take it seriously. And for that, you need to know the cause and of course the solution!

So, why is the oil drain plug not tightening?

The oil drain plug might not tighten fully due to having a damaged oil drain plug. Secondly, you may also face difficulties if you let the plug open for so long. And finally, an overdosed oil tank might also be responsible for this issue.

That was just a quick overview. And we got more! Read along to get to know about all the reasons and their solutions coming ahead.

So, get started now!

Why Won’t the Oil Drain Plug Not Tighten?

You may often take off the oil drain plug of your car. Following that, some of you may fail to put it back on properly. 

And this mainly happens due to issues with the oil drain plug. So, what is wrong with the oil drain plug of my car? Here are the reasons discussed in detail.

Reason 1: Damaged Oil Drain Plug

The main reason for this is a damaged oil drain plug

So, what damages an oil drain plug

You might damage the oil drain plug if you exert too much force when taking off the plug. Rather than rotating it to take it off, many try to pull it out of the tank, damaging the plug in the process.

oil drain plug

And some also pull it so hard that it gets slightly torn. As a result, the oil drain plug of your car is damaged. 

So, what happens if the oil drain plug is damaged

A damaged or faulty plug fails to seal the tank. Because you can not tighten the plug when you put it back on. It can also lead to additional issues like jerking your car left-right. Such issues can affect the fuel system of your car.


For a damaged oil drain plug, you can’t do much. And you can’t leave it loose either. If you do, then your engine will be seized-up. 

So, the only best solution is to replace the oil drain plug. And you can definitely do it yourself. 

Because it is nothing uncommon or hard to do. But even if you need assistance, do not forget to take it. 

Ask any professional mechanic near you to help you with this. 

What separates a good oil drain plug from a bad one is its durability and build quality. A quality oil drain plug distinguishes itself from the others with its superior endurance. As a result, they are less prone to getting stripped in the face of high pressure. 

Have a look at some of our recommended oil drain plugs for your oil tank:

Dorman 090-936CD Oil Drain Plug Check Price
Dorman 65263 Oil Drain Plug StandardCheck Price
Omix-ADA 17438.05 Oil Drain PlugCheck Price

These oil drain plugs are compatible with most of the available oil tank models. So you won’t have to struggle to fit it in your oil tanks!

Reason 2: The Plug Was Left Open for a Long Time

Took off the plug and forgot to put it back on? And now you are struggling to tighten it? Well, that was ought to happen if you had left it open for a time being.

Now the point is, why? If you keep it open for a long time the plug lets surroundings dust get into that. Some people might think that the linings would not get dirt. But in reality, the linings get clogged real quick. 

And that is when the problem arises. Because if you try to put back the plug then, it would not work.

That would be due to the clogged linings of the plug. And even if you loosely plug it back, it would not be tightened or sealed.

Plug Was Left Open


For this, you need to clean the plug and the opening of the tank. Because there might be dirt clogged in it. 

To clean it, you just need a cloth. Then wipe off the plug and the opening. Wipe away slowly and ensure to cover the entire part.

After that, you need to tighten the oil drain plug. Remember that you need a wrench in order to execute this method. 

However, it is nothing as complex as it might sound. To begin, take off the loose oil drain plug from the container. You need to use a wrench to do this.

Once you take it off, you may take off the oil into a container or pot. Now, let the oil tank of your car rest for a few minutes. 

A little bit of air passing through would not be a bad idea. And after that, you need to put the oil drain plug back again. 

Now, take the wrench again and start tightening the oil drain plug. Make sure you do not go hard while doing this. Be gentle while you rotate the plug with the wrench.

Try to ensure that you leave no space or the plug is not loose anyway. But be careful not to overtighten it. Because doing so may strip up the oil drain plug of your car. So, be careful of it.

And this is how you can tighten the oil drain plug of your car.

On an important note, you must get the ideal sized wrench for the oil drain plug. Because this is the only way to fasten the plug properly and avoid stripping.

Another thing. If the mixture of oil and dirt forms grimes in the oil tank, you should use oil degreaser to get rid of it. 

Reason 3: An Overdosed Tank

Although this is not a common issue, this may still occur. A typical reason for this is air compacted inside the tank. Or else, the tank compartment can be excessively fueled.

So, how does an excessively fueled tank create issues? Well, the flow of air or oil resists the plug-through air compact. 

As a result, the oil drain plug fails to tighten up properly. This may also happen if the tank was kept open for a long time.

So, these are the main reasons for the oil plug to not tighten up. Let’s get to the next segment to learn how to fix the problem.

Remember one thing. A faulty oil drain plug might lead to a stalled car once you release the clutch. Because this can be the culprit to drain the energy out of the engine.


So, if your tank has overdosed, you need to drain off the oil. This is as simple as it sounds. You just need to remove or drain the excess amount of oil from the tank.

You may use a funnel for this. Or else, you can do it however you find it easy and convenient. 

Once you remove the excess oil, you tighten the plug like the previous one. This time, you may consider tightening it multiple times.

Because tightening up the plug multiple times may be helpful. That is, you just need to take off the plug and put it back on. Although it is similar as discussed previously, we still cover it again.

To begin, you take off the oil drain plug and then fasten it. You may see the plug is kind of loose. But rather than trying to tighten it, you should take it off again.

And then you need to fasten the plug again. If you do it two to three times in a row, you would see a change. That is, it would actually be tighter than the first time.

Overdosed Tank

This mainly happens as the linings get along more precisely. Well, this would actually work surprisingly.

And this does not actually cost you anything more. Because you would be just doing the same thing 2 or 3 times.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it Okay to Replace the Oil Drain Plug of My Car?

Yes, it is fine to replace the oil drain plug, and is considered good by some users. Because the oil drain plug gets clogged with dust from oil or surroundings over time. So, you better replace it when needed.

Do I Need to Replace the Oil Drain Plug After a While?

No, it’s not obligatory to replace the oil drain plug once it becomes old. In fact, people do not generally change the oil drain plug at all. If you can torque your plug properly, it can go for a life-long time. So, unless you use it roughly, you do not have to consider replacing it.

Can I Wrap Up the Oil Drain Plug with a Piece of Cloth?

No, there is no necessity to wrap the oil drain plug with anything. A few users think it can tighten the plug even more. But there is actually no need for it. Rather, it may just overpack the oil drain plug. So, make sure you tighten the plug without wrapping it.

The Final Words

Now you know why is the oil drain plug not tightening! And you have also come across the solutions to follow for this.

Do not overdo anything to seal the oil drain plug properly. That is if it resists sealing properly, do not force it. Because it would not work in any way unless you fix the issue.

All the best!

Robert Lozano

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