If drain plug is shot, no need to replace entire oil pan

An oil drain plug. Dreamstime/TNS

Q: A chain oil change place stripped the screw that lets oil out from my oil pan, which causes small amounts of oil to leak out. A local auto shop said I have no choice but to replace the entire pan. How is it possible there isn’t a replacement screw of some sort that can produce a seal? I’d rather buy a screw than a pan.

W.E., Boston

A: If only the drain plug (screw) itself is damaged, replacements are readily available. If the threads of the oil pan are damaged, you need not replace the entire pan — which in some cases can be labor intensive. You don’t tell us what kind of car you have, so we will suggest a universal-type oil drain plug. There are several designs, and one may do the trick for you.

One design has an expandable rubber plug that has a drain plug in the center. Another installs like a toggle bolt (envision a swag hook) with a drain plug. Still another is simply an oversize drain plug with self-tapping threads that replaces the stripped plug.

Q: A few months ago, I bought a 2019 Ford Fusion. After everything was signed, sealed and delivered, I learned that every time you start the engine, you have to press a special button or your engine will turn off and back on every time you come to a stop sign or for any other stop such as in slow-moving traffic. I find this to be an annoyance and haven’t found anyone else who likes the concept. Why is this function there in the first place?

J.U., Riverside, Ill.

A: The function is to increase fuel economy and reduce exhaust emissions. You get zero miles per gallon while stopped. Many first-time owners dislike the system but get used to it after a while. Switching it off when you first start the car is not terribly difficult.

Q: My question concerns the rear radio speaker on my 2009 Toyota Corolla. No one has been able to turn off that speaker, and the owner’s manual is of no help. Is it possible? If so, please give me detailed instructions for the fix so I can take the car back to the dealer and have it adjusted, if possible.

M.L., Delray Beach, Fla.

A: Try the draconian approach. Pull the plug or cut the wires.

Q: Regarding the use of silicone on weather strips. Ace Hardware’s brand “Pure Silicone Lubricant” dries after a while, eliminating the possibility of getting any on your clothing. It doesn’t have a chemical smell. A friend’s car doors had frozen. After it thawed, I sprayed all the weather strips and waited until it dried. The next week he called me to let me know everything was good and asked what kind of air freshener I used. He wanted to get some for his other cars.

R.R., Evergreen Park, Ill.

A: Wow, a lube without the chemical odor. I may have to check it out.

Send questions along with name and town to Motormouth, Rides, Chicago Tribune, 160 N. Stetson Ave., Fourth Floor, Chicago, IL 60601 or motormouth.tribune@gmail.com.

Tribune Wire

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