Oil pans should never wear out.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1987 Ford Crown Victoria. I noticed oil on the driveway under the car, and found that I was down several quarts. The mechanic looked it over and found that the oil pan was saturated with oil. After he wiped it out with a rag, the pan appeared to be pitted from rust. The mechanic then scraped the pan with a small scraper and a hole the size of a dime appeared. He then wire brushed it, and many pits were visible. My mechanic fiber-glassed the pan as a temporary repair, and advised me to have a new pan installed as soon as possible. Is this normal, or do you think Ford should be responsible for the replacement cost of the oil pan?

TOM: This is certainly not normal, Vinny, and we think Ford ought to fix it for you. Oil pans should never wear out. My '63 Dodge Dart still has its original oil pan (and probably its original oil, too!).

RAY: What's happened is that car makers have been using lighter, thinner metals for things like oil pans in order to save weight, and, of course, money. The result is that they don't last as long. But four years is ridiculous! In fact, I would check this oil pan very carefully and see if there aren't compartments for mashed potatoes, peas, and a cherry cobbler. It could have been the tin from one of the assembly worker's Hungry Man dinners.

RAY: The first thing you should do is get a new one installed, Vinny. Because if another hole develops and you lose all your oil, you'll ruin the engine. And you'll never get Ford pay for that. But we do think you have a strong case for asking Ford to pay for the oil pan. Call the Ford zone manager in your region and whine a lot. Good luck.

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