A 50 Cent Washer Cost Me An Oil Change

Messages
2,072
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
Morning folks, thought I'd share my little blunder. Back a couple months ago I changed the oil in my aunt's 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander with the 2.4. Was quite simple, or so I thought. Day after I noticed a small oil spot in the driveway where it was parked. I assumed it was just a little residual from when I dropped the filter on the plastic cover underneath that I just missed cleaning up. Unfortunately it was not, it was coming from the drain plug. I've never had this happen before in all my years of changing oil and all different vehicles. Apparently this engine uses an aluminum crush washer, and from the picture probably was never changed (dealer maintained until 24K).

kV5Lrv9.jpg


You can see the original plug's washer is completely flat and no longer had any sealing capabilities. I picked up a plug and washer from the dealer just incase, but all I needed was a new washer. Installed new plug/washer and all is good. I did not re-use the old oil and filter even though it had maybe 1,000 miles on it. While most see that as a waste a 5qt jug of Supertech 0w20 was $15 and I had the filter already here ($5 Hastings white can). I also did this at my own expense since it was my screw up, even though she offered to pay. So it looks like I'll need to pick up a pack of washers for oil changes in this thing. I guess it's a little bit of ignorance on my part for not checking it, but I've reused washers and had no problem before. It never lost enough to notice on the dipstick, but better safe than sorry.
 
Messages
35,810
Location
NY
If that ever happens again, try this: I've done it and it worked depending on the fill tube design. You get a rag, like an old Tee Shirt and double it, remove the fill cap and pull the rag nice and tight over it, pulling it tight down the tube. Then secure it with duct tape, tight so it won't come off. Get a shop vacuum and put it on the fill neck have someone hold it in place and turn it on. Have your drain pan in place, just in case, and remove the fill plug. The oil won't drain if done correctly, and you won't suck it out. Work on a cool engine! Replace the washer, and/or drain plug if needed, and re-install the drain plug, then turn off the vacuum. I've done it twice over the years and didn't lose a drop of oil. There are YouTube videos showing the procedure, that's where I learned the trick. HTH someone.
 
Messages
1,355
If that ever happens again, try this: I've done it and it worked depending on the fill tube design. You get a rag, like an old Tee Shirt and double it, remove the fill cap and pull the rag nice and tight over it, pulling it tight down the tube. Then secure it with duct tape, tight so it won't come off. Get a shop vacuum and put it on the fill neck have someone hold it in place and turn it on. Have your drain pan in place, just in case, and remove the fill plug. The oil won't drain if done correctly, and you won't suck it out. Work on a cool engine! Replace the washer, and/or drain plug if needed, and re-install the drain plug, then turn off the vacuum. I've done it twice over the years and didn't lose a drop of oil. There are YouTube videos showing the procedure, that's where I learned the trick. HTH someone.
What!!?? Learn something new everyday! Thanks for sharing.
 
Messages
562
Location
KY, USA
Lots of cars are using crush washers now. My '16 Nissan Versa has one. When I bought my Versa I bought about 10 crush washers to have on hand.
 
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Messages
35,810
Location
NY
What!!?? Learn something new everyday! Thanks for sharing.
You're welcome! I stumbled upon it a while ago. I tried the thumb trick once or twice over the years, it worked, but this was much neater, and the risk of cross threading due to rushing was eliminated, at least for me.
 
Messages
849
Location
NC
I had the same thing happen on my '14 Outlander. I would drip after an oil change no matter if I changed the gasket or not. I replaced the original oil drain plug with a plug from a Honda. It had the same thread pitch and diameter but it was about .5 inches longer. It also had a rubber O ring and no crush gasket.

No more leaks.
 

Delta

Thread starter
Messages
2,072
Location
South Central PA (Fulton Co)
Why didn't you just put your thumb over the drain? Works every time.

I wanted to inspect the threads/oil pan in case of any possible cracks. I did not know at the time it was just the washer. Glad it wasn't cracked as the oil pan isn't going to be easy on this thing. While the pan itself looks easy, at only 3 years old and 25K miles the bolts are completely corroded as with the rest of the sub frame/suspension.
 
Messages
630
Location
New Jersey
Used to have oil heat years ago. Had a tech come by to repair a leaking oil line at the bottom of a tank that was half full. He used the same trick. A shop vac rigged to the inlet valve to hold the oil back while he did his repair. Thought that was pretty clever.
 
Messages
35,810
Location
NY
I wanted to inspect the threads/oil pan in case of any possible cracks. I did not know at the time it was just the washer. Glad it wasn't cracked as the oil pan isn't going to be easy on this thing. While the pan itself looks easy, at only 3 years old and 25K miles the bolts are completely corroded as with the rest of the sub frame/suspension.
Good point, the shop vac method would allow for having a look at the oil pan threads as well.
 
Messages
2,058
Location
Minnesota
One question, did you try tightening the plug again, just torque it another 1/8th turn? I have never replaced those washers and to this day, have never had an issue with leaks. I suppose one could argue if the drain plug hole was tapped at an angle that could cause a leak.
Secondly.....why toss the oil at 1000 miles and especially why toss a perfectly good oil filter?
 
Messages
16,004
Location
NE,Ohio
I have never replaced those washers and to this day, have never had an issue with leaks.

There are many types of crush washers.. the hyundai type that dont actually crush are very reusable.

The one in question here appears to be similar to a subaru crush washer that is hollow and actually crushes down.. these are one use only.
and definitely not reusable except in emergency ie dont have one.
 
Messages
3,403
Location
Outer Banks, NC
This situation is a decent argument for a Fumoto or similar drain valve. If you're not a fan of that, packs of crush washers are available on both Amazon and eBay. No need to buy them from a dealer.
 
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