An oil pan crack can cause leaks that could damage your car’s engine. The oil pan is located underneath your vehicle, and if you drive over road debris like fallen tree branches and rocks, you car could suffer dents or cracks that will cause it to leak.
You may be able to fix a cracked oil pan yourself, depending on the size of the break. The repair can be completed in just a couple of hours, but you’ll have to wait an additional 15 to 24 hours before the car will be ready to drive again. Below, we’ve listed some steps that will help you complete this task.
Step 1: Determine the size of the crack. Examine the base of the oil pan to get a sense of how large the crack is. Oil pans are typically made of aluminum. If the crack is large, it will need to be repaired at a shop that specializes in welding aluminum, so stop here and make plans to take the car to a mechanic. If the crack is small, continue to the next step.
Step 2: Gather your tools and supplies. You’ll need the following if you plan on handling the repair yourself:
- Large plastic container.
- Two rags.
- Mineral spirits.
- Cold welding compound.
- Engine oil.
Step 3: Drain all of the oil from the car’s engine. To avoid making a mess, you’ll need to remove the car’s oil before beginning your repair. Position your plastic container beneath the car’s oil pan. There’s a drain plug located at the base of it. Remove it with the help of a wrench. Since engine oil can be hazardous to the environment, don’t discard this fluid on your own after collecting it. Instead, take it to a recycling facility.
Step 4: Use a rag to clean oil from the break. Remove oil from the area surrounding the crack. If any oil spills, using an oil absorbent ensures that you won’t spend countless towels trying to clean up a mess.
Step 5: Use sandpaper to scrub away dirt and debris. There will likely be a lot of embedded dirt and debris lodged in the area around the crack. Use sandpaper to remove this baked-in grime and dirt.
Step 6: Clean the area being repaired. Apply mineral spirits to the area surrounding the crack and wipe it clean.
Step 7: Let it dry. Before moving on to the next step, wait for the area you’ve just cleaned to dry completely. This should take roughly 10 minutes.
Step 8: Apply cold welding compound. Spread cold welding compound generously throughout the cracks.
Step 9: Wait for the compound to fully cure. The compound will need to fully cure if it’s to effectively seal the cracked oil pan, so wait for this to happen before continuing to the next step. It usually takes 15 to 24 hours for cold welding compound to set.
Step 10: Add engine oil. Now it’s time to replace the engine oil that you removed prior to beginning the repair. After the oil has been replaced, your car will be ready to hit the road.
Whether you decide to repair an oil pan crack yourself or choose to have the task handled by a mechanic, take prompt action so you can preserve the health of your car’s engine.
Check out all the chemical products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on fixing an oil pan crack, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
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I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.