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Unexpected Item On My Agenda: Replace Our Oil Pan!

It’s funny how an innocent drive down a dirt road can turn into an unexpected mechanical issue! Our family was together in our minivan, driving down a country road on a gorgeous day. I was driving slow, but apparently not slow enough. In the middle hump of the road, all covered up with grass, was a stone that was just high enough to make contact with our oil pan. “Crunch!” As you may know, that sound is extremely unpleasant to hear.

Dodge Grand Caravan Oil Pan

As you can in the photo above, hitting the stone caused a substantial dent (circled), but it was contact with the oil pan plug itself that created the oil leak. We were over an hour away from home, but fortunately there was an auto parts store nearby. The employees there were extremely helpful, and we were able to use JB Weld to create a temporary patch over the oil plug to get us home.

Thankfully, an oil pan replacement isn’t too difficult to handle yourself. If there is a measure of difficulty, it’s having to remove parts or braces that may partially cover over the oil pan. All I needed to do is find out what type of new oil pan was needed, along with a new oil pan gasket, and order them. Any local parts place will usually have that information, as long as you provide some basic info like the vehicle year, make, model, and engine size. I also purchased some cleaner and a scraper to provide a nice, clean area for the new pan and gasket to adhere to.

Dodge Grand Caravan Oil Pan

You can see my new oil pan pictured above. I’m not a mechanic, but I work on my vehicles myself whenever I can to save money, and to feel a sense of accomplishment. I can’t do it alone, though. For years, I’ve always purchased a repair manual from the great folks at Haynes, to keep with my vehicle. They are a DIY mechanic’s dream repair guide! If you want a step-by-step guide to replacing an oil pan, be sure to buy one of their manuals.

Now we are good to go. There’s no oil leaks, and now I have the comfort of knowing that my oil pan and gasket is new and should be problem free for years to come. As long as I can avoid those pesky stones!


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