All engines, regardless of type, must use oil to keep all the contact points lubricated inside the engine. The oil also helps, to some degree, cool down certain components inside the engine.
The purpose of the oil pan is to hold all of the engine’s oil; both while running and when turned off. The pan must be large enough for all of the oil to be stored in it when the engine is not running but also must have pickup tubes and baffles to pump the oil to the top of the engine when the engine is running.
Some oil pans today still use a gasket, whereas most modern vehicles use some form of RTV or liquid silicone sealant. If the gasket or mating surface is leaking, the oil pan will need to be removed and the sealant or gasket replaced depending on the type of vehicle.
Oil pan gasket replacement can range in difficulty and thus, the labor cost is very dependent on the type of vehicle.
How Much Should Oil Pan Gasket Cost??
The oil pan gasket replacement cost is going to rely heavily on the difficulty to remove the oil pan. Most gaskets and liquid sealants are fairly inexpensive so the bulk of the repair is dependent on the labor cost. As always the labor rate is dependent on location.
Let’s assume a labor rate of $100 an hour when tapping the services of an independent shop and $150 an hour for a dealership. The cost of oil is not included in the price and many shops will charge a full oil change on top of the pan replacement.
- For a 2010 Ford Focus, the job calls for 2.7 hours of labor. This oil pan uses a liquid gasket. At an independent shop, the labor charge would be around $270 to remove the oil pan and reseal it. The sealant can range from $15 to $25 depending on the type and the brand of sealant used. If the oil pan is being replaced, an aftermarket oil pan can range between $55 and $100 depending on the markup and the brand of pan purchased. At the dealership, the labor would cost around $405 for the same service. The sealant used by the dealership would cost $20 to $30 depending on the location. If the oil pan is being replaced, the cost of a brand new Ford oil pan for this vehicle would range between $160 and $200.
- For a 2006 Honda Pilot, the job calls for 6.2 hours of labor. This vehicle uses a liquid silicone gasket. The increased labor on this vehicle is due to the difficulty in removing the pan. This vehicle actually requires the front subframe to be removed to gain access to the oil pan. At an independent shop, the labor would cost $620 to remove and reseal the oil pan. The liquid gasket can range from $15 to $25 depending on the type and brand of sealant used. If the pan is being replaced, the cost can range between $70 and $110 depending on the markup and the brand of oil pan used. At the dealership, the labor cost would be around $930. The liquid gasket used by Honda dealers is around $25 to $30. For a brand new Honda oil pan, the part cost can be in the range of $150 to $200 depending on the location.
- For 2012 Chevrolet Camaro with the v6 engine, the job calls for 10.8 hours of labor. This oil pan uses a liquid gasket and the increased labor cost is due to the front subframe requiring removal to replace or reseal the oil pan. At an independent shop, the labor would cost around $1,080 to remove and reseal the oil pan. The liquid gasket can range from $15 to $25 depending on the type and brand of sealant used. The cost to replace the pan with an aftermarket part would range between $55 and $90. At the dealership, the labor cost alone would be around $1,620. The liquid gasket that Chevrolet uses costs between $15 and $20. To have the oil pan replaced with a brand new Chevrolet oil pan, the part can cost in the range of $140 to $175.
- For a 2003 Ford Crown Victoria, the job calls for 6.6 hours of labor. This vehicle has a steel pan and uses a gasket. At an independent shop, the labor would cost $660 to remove the oil pan and the gasket is in the range of $25 to $40. The oil pan gasket price for an aftermarket variety would cost between $50 and $80. At the dealership, the labor would cost around $990 and the cost of the gasket is around $55 for a Ford brand. To replace the oil pan with a new Ford brand, the cost of the pan would range between $100 and $125.
More About Oil Pans
Most vehicles will have between four and six quarts of oil for most of the average domestic and Japanese vehicles.
Larger vehicles like trucks or diesel vehicles can range in oil capacity of up to 15 quarts of oil. Many European vehicles will take between seven and ten quarts of oil depending on the vehicle.
Most oil pans are made from either stamped steel or cast aluminum. Most older vehicles used stamped steel, whereas, on most cars today, you will find aluminum pans being used. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Steel pans are less likely to be punctured by road debris than aluminum pans. On the other hand, steel pans are much heavier compared to aluminum pans.
Aluminum pans tend to strip the threads out of the drain plug much more often than steel pans. But unlike steel pans, aluminum pans can be repaired with a timecert.
A timecert is a threaded insert that can be installed into an aluminum pan. This insert is permanent and considered a proper repair by most manufacturers.
The old threads are first drilled out to a slightly larger diameter, then, the larger hole is tapped with a special tap tool. The timecert insert is then installed into the larger hole and locked in place permanently. The inside diameter of the timecert is the exact same size as the original hole, so the drain plug remains the same.
Some places will offer oversized drain plugs. These are only temporary fixes for stripped out drain plug threads.
These oversized drain plugs can leak and once removed for the next oil change, they rarely seal back up properly. Because of this, oversized drain plugs should be avoided.
Why Would You Need Your Oil Pan Replaced?
The number one cause of oil pan replacement is the stripped drain plug threads. This happens when inexperienced technicians overtightening the drain plug causing the threads to be removed from the oil pan. Without proper threads, the drain plug cannot seal up tight.
When this happens, the best option is to ask for a timecert to be installed. Some independent shops will not install this so you may need to see your local dealership.
Most dealerships charge one hour of labor so depending on the labor rate, the price can fluctuate based on location. A timecert is a permanent fix so this can save you money if you don’t have to replace the entire oil pan.
The second most common cause of oil pan replacement is the road debris puncturing the oil pan. This happens often and if the engine is not shut off immediately, your engine would be ruined depending on the size of the hole.
Oil pan gaskets and reseals are very common as, over time, the sealant or gasket breaks down and begins to leak. Most of the time, this leak will continue to progress until you have visual spots of oil on the floor. Having your engine lose oil can cause premature failure due to lack of proper lubrication.