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What is an oil pan?

What is an oil pan?

The oil pan is one of the most important components of an internal combustion engine. Its job is to collect the engine oil that is used to lubricate various parts of the engine. There are two main types of oil pans. They can be dry or wet, depending on the make and model of your car. Here we give you more information about this element: how it works, the different models available...

What is an oil pan?

The oil pan is the lowest part of the engine and contains the oil used to lubricate the various parts of the engine, which contributes to the smooth running and durability of the various mechanical parts.

It can be made from a variety of materials that determine its strength. Very solid, it can be made of aluminum or sheet metal, but it is mainly made of steel or, more recently, plastic.  This reservoir is located under the crankshaft. Lubricants are stored here after passing through the oil filter and the oil pump.

It's important to note that the oil pan is not a wearing part, as its service life can easily exceed that of your vehicle. However, to prevent oil leaks that can adversely affect the operation of your engine, you should periodically replace the oil pan gasket to ensure that it remains watertight. On average, the gasket should be replaced every 150,000 km.  It is also advisable to inspect this component regularly to detect and prevent oil leaks.

Two types of oil pans

Currently, two types of oil pans are used on different car models:

The wet oil pan

Used to store used engine oil. It's the most common type because it's less prone to failure than the dry pan. What's more, it makes it easier to check the engine oil level when it needs to be topped up. This operation is performed with a dipstick and allows you to determine if it's time for an oil change.

The dry oil pan

The dry sump doesn't store engine oil directly, but instead draws it in via a sump pump and sends it to a reservoir, also known as an oil pan. It is then immediately transferred to the oil tank. The oil tank is equipped with a radiator for more efficient oil cooling. This type of oil pan is found in sports cars and high-performance vehicles.

Why change the oil pan?

Normally, this is a part that doesn't need to be replaced, but there can be 2 reasons to replace it: the first is when the pan itself is damaged, deformed, or broken; the second is when the drain plug threads are damaged or the drain plug is stuck in the pan. The oil pan gasket may be leaking.

How to replace an oil pan gasket?

When the engine oil pan no longer functions properly, you should consider replacing it. This operation requires the use of proper equipment. You will need a toolbox, a jack, a can of motor oil, and a new oil pan gasket, which you can easily find at an auto parts store.

First, place the car on the jack to gain access to the oil pan. Then drain the engine oil. The next step is to remove the bad gasket. Don't forget to clean the oil pan. All that's left to do is install the new gasket you purchased as a replacement and top off the engine oil.

How much does it cost to replace an oil pan?

The price can vary greatly depending on your vehicle. All of our home mechanics can perform this service right at your home, depending on your vehicle. An oil pan can cost anywhere from $80 to $350. This is in addition to the installation time, which can range from 1 hour to several hours, as well as changing the oil and oil filter.

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