I Just Did The Weirdest Oil Change

Just went to do my TL’s 67th or so oil change and noticed some strange things.

So the last two oil changes were done by Honda dealers. I know, I suck. I didn’t have time to do it/couldn’t be bothered on our road trip from NYC to LA, so Morehead Honda in Newburgh, NY and Premier Honda in New Orleans, LA got the privilege.


Whatever. I broke out my new Harbor Freight Low Profile jack, which worked so well I can’t wait for another excuse to raise a car, set the stands, removed jack, and crawled under with a few sockets and a ratchet.

What size was it again? 14? 17? Naturally, I’m going to try every one before looking at the manual. Then the first socket I try first will end up being the right size. Surely, you know how this goes. But when I got to the oil pan I found something else entirely.

This... slot. Thing.


I was livid. I know it didn’t use to look like that. Sure as shit didn’t feel factory, anyway. I dug out the manual to see if I was nuts and nope, I should have been fondling at a 17mm socket.

“Some fucking chum guzzler at one of those dealerships must have either overtightened, lost or broken my drain plug and taken it upon themselves to affix this wind-up toy piece,” I reckoned.


But what recourse did I have? The shops were a half and a whole country away, and they saw my car months and months ago.

More to the point, I needed to do an oil change and figure out how I was doing oil changes going forward. So I set to loosening the drain plug.


It wasn’t budging against my fingers, but a quick twist with a plier broke the seal and after the at the thing popped out.

Well, two centimeters or so out. Instead of dropping into my waste oil catch bucket, it clung to the oil pan by a little steel wire umbilical cord that appeared to go inside the hole from which oil is expelled.


It’s actually pretty trick.

There didn’t appear to be any leakage, and holy crap was this little twist-plug easy to use.


I uneventfully swapped filters and re-affixed the plug, which took a lot of fiddling but eventually returned to a seal.

Then I opened the oil fill cap on top of the engine to replenish its blood and.... what the hell happened here?


It looked like someone had taken a bite out of the threads on the cap. Was that little chunk of plastic eaten by my engine? I never heard anything. Could an engine pass a piece of plastic without being damaged? How would this even happen?


I looked up the part just to make sure. Yeah, no, there’s not supposed to be a chunk of the thread missing.

With no choice but to finish the change, I ran the car with a full belly of dinosaur blood and looked for leaks. And looked and looked. And test drove it, and looked again. Apparently solid underneath. But that filler cap is going to need replacing.


Moral of the story; never let anyone touch your car. Obviously. But if they do, maybe they’ll give you some weird drain plug technology you end up liking?

But seriously; anyone have any experience with this type of drain plug or have any idea what could have happened to my filler cap?


Contact the author at andrew@jalopnik.com.

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