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Oil Drain Pans are one of the tools that some people don’t think they need. Why invest money in a glorified bucket, these people think… until the day comes when they need to drain the oil from their vehicle. Then, as they look down at the pool of oil that is spilling out of their homemade bucket and tarp contraption and slowly spreading to cover their driveway, they realize their mistake. Don’t be one of those guys — spend a little bit of money in advance and make removing your cars oil a far slicker operation.
The Best Oil Drain Pan
This product brings a real sense of ease to an oil change – and if you’ve ever done one, you’ll probably appreciate any product that makes the whole process that bit easier.
The FloTool by Hopkins manages to do this by essentially combining two necessary parts of the oil change into one simple product. First of all it is a drip tray with a nice wide catching area. Secondly it is a container for the used oil with secure, leak proof caps.
It can be stored upright or on it’s side for easy transport to your local disposal point, it has comfortable carry handles and the 16 ounce capacity is extremely generous – you could probably get two full oil changes out of this product before you need to think about emptying it.
16 Quart Capacity
Secure, Leak Proof Design
Can be Stored Upright or Flat
- Weight3.75 Pounds
Just look at the size of that opening! It is both eye catching and also the key feature of this product. That 8-inch hole allows you to drain oil directly into the product itself.
That fact alone makes oil changes simple and mess free – pop the cap, drain the oil, screw the cap back on and haul away your old oil. That is an incredible simplification of what can be a time consuming and messy process.
15 Quart capacity again is more than generous for a complete oil drain, and the ergonomic built in handles make it easy to transport. All course, as a premium product this item will dent your wallet a little more than some others on this list – but you are getting a superb drain pan for your investment.
15 Quart Capacity
Made in the USA
- Weight2.5 Pounds
A slightly simpler product this time but don’t think you’re not getting bang for your buck with this one. The huge opening on this pan means that less accuracy is required during the pour than with some other pans. That can help to guarantee an easy drain with no clean up required.
What about when the oil has been drained? Well, this product continues to impress even there. The big, built in handles are perfectly placed to move the pan and keep it easily balanced even when full of oil. The built in spout makes pouring the oil into its new container as easy as pie. This is a deceptively simple product that has been carefully engineered to do its job perfectly.
Anti Splash Lip
Built in Spout
Large Easy Grip Handles
The second entry from Hopkins on this list, and this model takes inspiration from the earlier FloTool pan, whilst adding a few features of it’s own.
Once again, this is an integrated drain pan and container, bringing the benefits of that design of pan – namely an easy drain, straight into a container for ease of removal. Again, this model comes with a nice wide catchment area so minimize the accuracy required during the drain.
A difference here is the addition of a built in spout, which comes with pluses and minuses compared to the previous FloTool. So on the one hand, you lose the vertical storage ability. With the spout however you gain a better degree of control when it comes time to empty the product. So you have to decide between storage or pour (age) – but either way you’ll be picking up a premium product.
Large 15 Quart Capacity
Built in Handle
Easy Pour Spout
- Weight2 Pounds
Some Tools are a pleasure to use simply because they just do their job well. This inexpensive oil drain pan is certainly one of those tools.
Construction wise it is made of super tough Polyethylene plastic. This means the product itself is going to last for a long time. It also means that during use, the pan will stay strong and rigid, no matter how much oil it is filled with.
That tough construction is handy by the way because with a total capacity of around 18 quarts, this is a pan that can handle a serious amount of oil. The built in spout makes controlled pouring nice and easy, and the built in anti-splash lip regulates the flow through the spout preventing splash back. A deceptively simple product that does a fantastic job – and as an added bonus is a lovely green color.
Easy to Use and Clean
Built in Spout
Tough Polyethylene Construction
4.5 Liter (18 Quart) Capacity
- BrandCapri Tools
- Weight2.08 Pounds
This product is an expression of good design. There is nothing superfluous on this product, it is, in many ways, as simple and straightforward as the model we discussed above.
However what you do get here is another great example of the built in drain pan and container concept that can help to make oil changes a breeze. Do you know what you also get? A product that works, period. Nice large drain pan, big capacity, ergonomic handle, solid construction and a leak proof cap.
A spout could have been a nice addition maybe, but this is just such a simple but effective product that also seems like overkill on this particular model. The white color is a bit of strange choice for an oil drain pan however.
Pan with Built in Container
Screw on Cap
- BrandMatrix Concepts
- Weight1 Pound
From a product that is lauded for it’s simplicity, to one with a number of innovative built in features.
The first thing to note is that big old yellow funnel. It simply clips into the unit for easy storage, and is inserted into the drainage hole for easy filling during the oil drain. That is a pretty clever system, and it all but guarantees an easy drain, and because the funnel is detachable, you can easily carry to one side to clean it replacing.
12.5 Quart capacity is lower than some on this list but more than generous for tackling any oil change for a car, SUV or truck. It should also be noted that this is a very low profile pan, less than 4 inches in height during operation. That means it could be a good choice for vehicles that especially low to the ground like sports cars or those with modified suspension.
Built in Funnel
12.5 Quart Capacity
- Weight2.85 pounds
Best Oil Drain Pan Buying Guide
So that is our list of what we consider to be the best drain pans on the market. To make sure that they can do their job effectively it’s important that you select the right one – and aren’t you surprised to find there are so many features and designs of oil pan out there?
Don’t worry, we were too – which is why we’ve put together these short articles to cover everything you need to know about these products and help you choose the right one for you.
Why Do I Need An Oil Catch Pan?
This may well be the biggest question you are asking yourself, and in reply I would first direct you to the very top of this article. We made a joke there about assuming that you don’t need an oil pan until you do – and that is pretty true!
Because this is a pretty simple tool, it’s easy to overlook it and many people do – and then find out later why that was a bad move!
So instead, take a look at some of the benefits of this type of product, such as:
Less chance of Spillages – Depending on the size of your cars engine, it will be holding anywhere from 5 to 8 quarts of oil. That is a lot of oil to clean up if the worst should happen during an oil change. Why take the risk of using a non-specific tool to complete this job? You wouldn’t use a screwdriver to bang in a nail, you would use the right tool for the job. Treat oil draining in the same way!
Avoid Clean Ups – Just to really hammer this point home, cleaning up oil spills is a huge pain in the backside! We are talking about having to buy serious chemical cleaners, lots of time and effort - and after all that, you almost certainly will never get all the oil out. That concrete driveway? Ruined forever – just to save $20 on buying a proper oil drain pan.
Make the Job Easier – If you’ve ever drained oil from an engine you’ll know it is not one of the most pleasant jobs in the world. If you haven’t done one but will be doing one soon, then you’re about to find out how unpleasant it can be! Surely then if there is a product that can make the process easier then it’s worth the investment – especially when that investment is only a few bucks.
Oil Changes are Necessary – If oil changes are so grim then why do we do them? Well, there are a multitude of reasons that engine oil should be refreshed from time to time. Basically though, they all boil down to helping make the engine run as smoothly as possible. This increases performance, lowers fuel consumption and prolongs the engine life span. So if you care about your car you need to care about the oil inside – and that means regular changes. Again, if you need to do it, if you’re going to do it, then invest a little money to help make the whole process that little bit easier.
What Causes Engine Oil Leaks
If your engine is leaking oil, this can be a bad sign. For one thing, Engine Oil plays a very important part in the proper functioning of an engine.
Once it is leaking, it is not doing its job. It’s hard to tell how much has been lost too, so it may be best to top up or use this as an excuse to empty and replace all the old oil.
At the same time, you also need to know where the leak is coming from so it can be repaired.
Luckily, there are really 5 major causes of oil leak. If you notice a patch of oil under the car, there is a very good chance the cause will be one of:
- Damaged Engine Gasket – The gasket is a name given to any seals in the engine where two metal components connect. They degrade over time, and when they are damaged they will no longer provide a complete seal, hence an oil leak. By the way – old oil when it gets dirty can really corrode gaskets. So if you want to prolong their life span – and avoid expensive replacements – regular oil changes are key.
- Damaged Oil Pan – The oil pan is quite low down on the chassis of the car. Because of this it can take damage from hitting speed bumps too quickly or being whacked by debris on the road. This can damage the pan seal, causing leaks.
- Damaged Oil Pan Drain Plug – This component is key element of the oil pan mentioned above. As such, it too can be damaged by contact with debris. If you notice a lot of dripping oil, that is the main symptom of a damaged plug.
- Missing or Damaged Oil Filler Cap – The cap covers the oil compartment, and if it is missing or damaged can allow oil to leak out. This will cause a steady flow when the engine is running, and a drip when it is turned off.
- Old Oil Filter – When the filter clogs, it will cause leaks. They should be replaced periodically, and also bear in mind that clean oil will help to prolong their lifespan.
It’s also worth checking if you are actually having an oil leak. Your car contains a lot of fluids after all, and to the untrained eye they can all look pretty similar. To really diagnose the issue, you need to know what is leaking. Get yourself a clean, white cloth and dab up a patch of fluid.
Depending on the color, you could be looking at:
- Red – Red fluid leaks from the transmission or the power steering system.
- Orange – Could be old transmission fluid, or a leak from a rusty radiator
- Yellow – This fluid is your radiator coolant.
- Green – Probably antifreeze.
- Blue – This is likely to be windshield wiper fluid.
- Clear – Also known as water! This is fine, probably just condensation from the AC system.
- Dark Brown – Old (dirty) engine oil
- Light Brown – New (clean) engine oil
- Glitter/Sparkling – You’ve run over a Unicorn, and part of its bleeding corpse is stuck in the suspension. Dispose of it before the EPA find out.
Features to Look for When Buying a Drain Pan
So what features should you look for when you are deciding on which oil drain pan is the best of you?
Built-in Storage – This is possibly the biggest factor that you must consider when making your purchase. As you can see on the product list we presented above, a number of these products come with built-in storage compartments. This means the oil drains straight into the product. This can make handing the old oil easier – you simply fill it, cap it and cart it away. It does mean that the pan is useless until it is emptied. If you need to drain frequently or drain several cars then a pan with no storage may be better.
Handles – Don’t underestimate how much 6 quarts of oil is going to weigh! We’ve selected products with handles, but they come in various placements. Try to choose a product that looks comfortable for you to hold.
Material – A heavier product will be thicker and longer lasting – it’s also going to be heavier to move when filled with oil.
Size – All the products we selected are good for at least one and up to two oil changes before they are full. Some can even go for longer than that depending on engine size. Just bear in mid larger pans will be more difficult to move when filled with oil. Also remember that whilst most of these pans will happily slide underneath a normal car, if you have a lowered vehicle then you should look for a pan with a lower profile.