This mechanic’s girlfriend forgot to put on a fresh washer on the oil drain plug but he remembered this one trick with a shop vac
She drained the oil, put on the drain plug, filled the engine with fresh oil and thought she was done, except she forgot one crucial step, a fresh washer on the oil drain plug. Without it, you can over-tighten a drainplug and strip the threads on your aluminum oil pan. There’s also the chance of a small leak.
Thankfully, her boyfriend remembered this one simple trick with a shop vac that saved the day.
Check out this video on this Reddit thread where I got the story from for a big hint.
Girlfriend changed oil in her car by herself and forgot the drain plug washer, so I hooked the shop vac to the oil filler neck and showed her how to pull the drain bolt out and make no mess and not have to drain oil pan again. Let’s just say oil filter wasn’t the only thing wet after that trick. from r/MechanicAdvice
Just as his title says, this mechanic got a shop vac, took off any attachment on one end, and slipped it over the oil filler hole on the valve cover.
With a vacuum on one end equalized by the gaping hole you leave behind on the other end of the oil pan without a drain plug, the oil in the oil pan cannot leak out.
There’s no potential mess to clean up.
Most people would just forget about the washer altogether or replace it, but without this trick, you’d have to do the oil change all over again draining all the new oil out and pouring it back in.
Crush washers and washers ensure you don’t over-tighten a drain plug, spreading out the tightening force equally over an even washer surface.
Here’s a rough-and-ready video on Youtube showing this ingenious method in action.
Yours truly saw this trick in action working one summer at a Speedee Oil Change in the Bay Area. A lube tech grabbed the vacuum I was using to clean interiors, ripped off the attachment, and stuffed it on the oil fill hole while a pit mechanic put on a fresh washer below. My mind was blown.
It was those little tricks learned along the way that ensured the shop could change the oil of close to 40 cars a day without skipping a beat, even when someone forgot to put on an oil drain plug washer.
So, the next time you forget to put a crush washer at the end of your car’s oil drain plug, remember this handy trick and you’ll be OK.