Best Oil Drain Pans: A Great Tool for Keeping Oil Changes Clean
Avoid messy spills and ruined floors when changing your car’s oil
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If you are in the habit of changing your own oil, then you need to use a large drain pan. Not only are engine oil drain pans great for avoiding messy spills in your garage or driveway, but they are also great for transporting used oil to recycling centers. Check out our picks for the best oil drain pans available to help you decide which pan can best serve you.
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Benefits of an Oil Drain Pan
- Avoid messy spills. The worst part of any oil change happens precisely at that moment when you accidentally bump into a half-full bucket of oil and watch it tip over. Oil change drain pans are designed specifically to avoid these situations.
- Easy to use. Using a motor oil drain pan is as simple as positioning it underneath your car’s oil pan. There are no fancy attachments or tools necessary to use one.
- Inexpensive. The average cost of an oil drain container for cars or pickups is on par with some of the higher quality buckets that are available. The cost and the fact that oil catch pans are designed to specifically hold oil make them the better choice of the two.
- Better than oil extractors. Oil extractors are an easy and clean way to remove motor oil from your engine. However, you won’t be able to as thoroughly remove contaminants from the pan as you can by draining the oil.
Based out of Edgerton, Kan., Hopkins is in the business of offering a myriad of automotive accessories at reasonable prices. The product lines that Hopkins controls include well-known brands such as Bell and FloTool, with the latter brand offering popular items such as the Five-Gallon Open Top Drain Pan.
Originally founded in 1903, this Iowa-based company’s first foray into automotive manufacturing came when it developed an after model master vibrator for the Ford Model T engine. Since that time, Lisle has grown massively and is now responsible for producing over 400 automotive tools including the Plastic 4.5-Gallon Drain Pan.
Oil Drain Pan Pricing
- $5-$15: Even if you only have a few extra dollars to spare, you can still get an oil drain pan that will help you get the job done. At this price, pans tend to be disposable and basic in design.
- $15-$50: At the midrange level, you will find some of the best oil drain pans that are made from high-quality materials and have extra features like an extendable spout and a cap. For most home-based mechanics, these oil drain pans will make the best choice.
- $50 and up: Moving up in price leads to the professional oil drains like those you will find in a mechanic’s shop. These drain pans are upright, sit on stands, have wheels, and can hold many gallons of used oil.
Size and Shape
Oil drain pans come in a myriad of shapes and sizes in order to accommodate the many different kinds of vehicles there are in the world. The design and location of the oil pan on your car will be the key factor in deciding the dimensions of the drain pan you purchase.
Obviously, you don’t want a product that is inadequate for the amount of oil in your car but you also don’t want a large capacity oil drain pan that holds 15 more quarts than your car does. As a general rule, try to find a drain pan that holds twice the quart capacity as your car.
Not all oil drain pans are created equal, and you certainly don’t want an inferior one that won’t hold up. Make sure the drain pan you purchase is constructed from high-grade materials.
A pour spout is a really handy feature if you want to pour out oil without having to worry about spilling it. Your full drain pan will have to be emptied at some point, so it only makes sense to find one with a pour spout.
The average car engine holds anywhere from 5-8 quarts of motor oil. That means having to haul around 10 to 16 pounds of oil every change. Handles make this task considerably easier.
- Mesh Screen: Having a mesh screen over your drip pan opening can be a lifesaver if you accidentally drop the drain plug when removing it. This is especially so if you need to use a big oil drain pan for large vehicles.
- Size of Mouth Opening: The sizes and shapes of the opening in available drain pans will vary but a good general rule to go by is that bigger is better.
Best Oil Drain Pan Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Lay a piece of linoleum underneath your oil drain pan to catch any spilled oil. You can easily clean up any mess while keeping your garage floor free of stains.
- If you only need a little bit of oil to top off the reserve, don’t fill it from a full bottle. Instead, pour the amount needed into an empty bottle and use that to avoid spills.
- Wear disposable gloves to keep your hands from getting oil on them. Old motor oil can be especially difficult to remove from underneath your fingernails.
- If your oil filter is vertical, keep an open bag underneath it while loosening it. The bag will catch any oil that drips over when the seal is cracked.
Q: Where can I recycle my used oil?
A: You can take used engine oil to an automotive shop to have it recycled. Also, most retail stores that sell motor oil will recycle it.
Q: What is the best material that oil drain pans are made of?
A: Something lightweight and durable would make the best material for obvious reasons. Among the list would be polyurethane and high-density polyethylene.
Q: How long will an oil drain pan last?
A: If properly maintained and stored, a drain pan will last for years. Like all tools, your oil pan needs to be cleaned and stored in a dry location to maximize its lifespan.
For its durability, quality design, and great features, the ATD Tools Drain Pan gets our top pick in this review.
The Custom Accessories Oil Drain Pan is a great value option for working on smaller vehicles or in cramped conditions.