How to Fix a Rusted Oil Pan

Written by mark robinson
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How to Fix a Rusted Oil Pan
Vehicles in areas where road salt is used are more susceptable to rust. (rust image by jamalula from Fotolia.com)

Being exposed to the elements makes the oil pan vulnerable to rust. Exposure to water and road salt can accelerate the rusting process, creating the telltale spots and holes that can cause oil leaks. If the oil pan isn't completely rusted out, it can be patched up with an application of epoxy. Fixing a rusted oil pan should be considered a temporary solution that can buy you time to acquire a brand-new oil pan.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Newspaper
  • Sealable drain pan
  • Ratchet and socket set
  • Penetrative lubricant
  • Screwdriver
  • Oil pan gasket
  • Shop towel
  • Dremel tool with wire wheel attachment
  • Epoxy
  • Spatula
  • Engine oil

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Raise the vehicle with a floor jack and support it with jack stands. Place newspaper on the ground near the oil pan area.

  2. 2

    Place a drain pan underneath the oil pan and remove the drain plug with a ratchet and socket. If the drain plug does not budge, apply a small amount of penetrative lubricant on the plug and let it soak in before attempting to remove it. Allow all of the oil to drain out of the pan.

  3. 3

    Spray a liberal amount of penetrative lubricant on the bolts holding the pan to the engine block and allow it to soak in. Loosen and remove the bolts from the pan, using penetrative lubricant as needed.

  4. 4

    Remove the rusted oil pan and the oil pan gasket from the engine block. Use a large slotted screwdriver to pry the rusted oil pan away from the block, if needed. Keep an eye out for any rust fragments inside the engine's crankcase area.

  5. 5

    Scrape away any remnants of the old gasket with the slotted screwdriver and wipe away the debris with a shop towel. Place the new gasket on the mounting surface and lift the oil pan into position.

  6. 6

    Use a Dremel tool with a wire wheel attachment to remove surface rust from the pan. Brush away the rust until you can see bare metal. Mix the epoxy according to the instructions on the package and spread it over the rusted-out areas with a spatula. Wait for the epoxy to harden up before putting the oil pan back on.

  7. 7

    Place the new gasket on the oil pan mounting surface and lift the pan into place. If the bolts are rusty, use new bolts of the same size and shape as the old ones to secure the oil pan. Tighten the bolts with a ratchet and socket.

  8. 8

    Add the recommended amount of engine oil to the engine as specified in the owner's manual. Move the drain pan out of the way and discard the newspaper. Lower the vehicle and start it, checking underneath for leaks. Turn the vehicle off and check the engine oil levels with the dipstick. Add engine oil as needed.

  9. 9

    Take the sealable drain pan to the nearest automotive parts outlet or service centre. The used oil can be discarded here at no charge.

Tips and warnings

  • You may have to replace the pan altogether if the pan is too rusted out to be patched up.
  • Do not treat this fix as a permanent one. Repairing the oil pan with epoxy is intended as a temporary measure. The best permanent fix for a rusted oil pan is to replace it with a new pan.

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