Best Oil Drain Pans: Greasy Situation

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

Top 8 Best Oil Drain Pans

If you followed our advice about socket sets and garage door openers, you’re well on your way to dabbling in a bit of automotive DIY. A good place to start? The simple oil change. Since oil is the lifeblood of your car, it’s an excellent idea to understand why it’s important to change it regularly.

Ah, who are we kidding? You lot know all of this better than the rust pattern on the floors of your hoopties. If there’s one thing that ties this TTAC community together, it’s our incessant love of horrible old rotboxes and our penchant for working on them.

Now pick up one of these drain pans and stop draining oil into a Maxwell House coffee can, okay?

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Capri Tools Portable Oil Drain Pan

A drain pan's a drain pan, right? On occasion, yes - explaining why we're leading with one of the highest-rated pans on Amazon. A full 98 percent of the 650+ respondents gave this thing 4 or 5 stars, citing its solid build quality and predictable action of the spout when disposing of old oil. Several customers also claim the tub's design helps prevent splatter, something your author would love to see in action. Cleaning up drops caused by the initial rush of oil is very annoying.

Its 4.5-gallon capacity should be more than enough for the vast majority of consumer-grade vehicles; in fact, with the average vehicle holding between 6 to 8 quarts of oil, there's enough room in this thing for the remnants of two oil changes, perfect for when you planned to recycle the first lot but completely blanked until three months later when it's time for another service.

Pros

  • High capacity, solid construction

Cons

  • Choosing between black and green

Bottom Line

  • Way better than that coffee can we mentioned

2. Lumax 15 Quart Drainmaster

Here's a good option that keeps the oil contained in a sealed environment until you can bring it to the depot for disposal or recycling. The red circle spins off like a top to reveal a mash-type grid underneath through which the old oil drains into the container. This has the added bonus of preventing your car's drain plug from getting lost in the muck.

This should mean there's little or no mess to clean up topside. A few customers left bad reviews because the used oil leaked out of the 8-inch red lid area, making a mess. It isn't entirely clear if this is a design issue or, um, user error. In any event, make sure the red cap is screwed on tightly before storing it in an upright position

Pros

  • Wide mouth, mesh keeps drain plug out of the oil

Cons

  • Tighten that cap

Bottom Line

  • Seems great when used correctly

3. OEM Tools Low Profile Oil Drain Pan

One of our editors - kudos if you can guess which one - owns a tattered Mazda Miata that sits a lot closer to terra firma than it did after rolling out of the factory in Hiroshima. You can guess amongst yourselves if this is a result of a lowering kit or years of neglect.

This oil drain pan would be the perfect selection, then, with dimensions sized just right for sliding under low vehicles. In fact, it is less than three inches high. Naturally, this does limit oil capacity so be sure you've got a couple of these things on hand if your car's thirst outquenches that of this pan.

Pros

  • Great for low cars or any bike

Cons

  • Very small capacity

Bottom Line

  • Get two if you're using this for a car

4. JohnDow Industries Portable Oil Drain

For the fortunate few working on their rides underneath a lift, one of these extend-a-mix drain pans might be just the ticket to a quick and painless oil change. Funneling all the oil down a giraffe-like neck into a solid round base, these units - or ones like them - are found in service bays across America.

This particular example has a height adjustment between 48 and 67 inches, so measure twice before hitting the order button to make sure that's sufficient reach. The 8-gallon capacity tank makes a great counterweight as it is filling up and is translucent, allowing for easy viewing of oil level.

Pros

  • Look like the, er, pros

Cons

  • Not the cheapest thing on this list

Bottom Line

  • Very handy for those with a lift

5. ATD Tools Black Drain Pan

This one's markedly similar to the unit from Capri that kicked off our list. Round and deep with a spout and some handles, its anti-splash lip should contain fluid splatter during the initial pour and while moving the thing around.

Over 1,200 real-world customers have given this pan good marks, praising its ability to catch spills before they happen and the overall sturdiness. Hilariously, some people have had a bit of fun with their reviews, tossing in a good dose of flippant humor (which is always in ample supply at TTAC).

Pros

  • Affordable and well-reviewed

Cons

  • Cap that spout to avoid drips

Bottom Line

  • These customers are our kinda people

6. Lumax Plastic Oil Drain Pan

Constructed of tough polyethylene material, the seller asserts this oil pan is impervious to oil and gasoline which makes it perfect for a range of jobs. Actually, most of the pans on this list hold up to both of those fluids but your author simply enjoys it when someone uses the word 'impervious'.

A wire loop handle is supposed to double as a lifting aid and tool for pushing this pan underneath the car. I'm not sure about that, given its scanty diameter. Most people in the review section had a similar view and felt the molded-in handles worked just fine. This is also a strong boi, with customers talking about its lack of flex when full and posting pictures of themselves actually standing on the thing.

Pros

  • Holds 5 gallons

Cons

  • Weird metal handle

Bottom Line

  • Solid (literally) option for a good price

7. ATD Tools Heavy Duty Drain Tub

With a lip on it like a swimming pool diving board or spoilt child's bottom lip (take your choice), it should be a relatively easy task to avoid spills during the first gush of oil after removing the drain plug - even for those of us with, ahem, poor aim.

Dimensions are 33 inches long, 22 inches wide, and 8 inches deep. This makes for about 30 quarts of capacity which will be ample for anyone this side of a tractor-trailer shop. Do keep in mind that the volume of liquid will likely be quite heavy, so either plan ahead or actually empty the thing between oil changes, ya lazy bum.

Pros

  • Enormous volume, positive reviews

Cons

  • Could be a few spills if you're not careful

Bottom Line

  • Empty it frequently

8. Matrix Concepts Oil Drain Container

We're including this one at the end of our list because your author cannot fathom an oil drain container that's white in color. A fairly flat drain surface looks like it would cause terrible splatters when the initial hit of oil drains out of an engine but reviews make little mention of such an issue.

What is recommended by buyers is that every owner makes copious use of the unit's vent cap, lest the quantity of used oil flowing out of an engine overwhelm the pan's ability to capture it. That would be quite the mess, indeed.

Pros

  • Decent price, big handle for transport

Cons

  • Odd color choice

Bottom Line

  • Unique and seemingly proud of it

FAQs

What can I use for oil drain pan?

It is highly recommended that you use an oil drain pan that has been specifically designed for the purpose, and make sure that you get one manufactured by a reputed brand. However, if you are an occasional DIY person and know that you won’t need the pan after one or two uses, instead of investing your money in a dedicated container, you can use the following items that are almost equally good for the purpose:

A simple sufficiently spacious box wrapped with at least 2 layers of plastic bags to avoid any harm to the skin. Although this is a homely method and the cheapest among all workarounds, the pan remains prone to spillage. Therefore, unless extremely urgent and necessary, you may want to avoid this solution

A generic oil container with a screen and a wide screw-oriented lid to cover the equal-sized opening. The screen in such a container is a transparent material that lets you see through and helps you check the quantity of the fluid that is inside. Although the openings of these types of containers are wide enough, you cannot avoid a few drops of spills, at least not that easily

An old large pan with a triangular or circular opening. Because such pans usually have the widest mouths, the chances of oil getting spilled during the draining process are minimal. To be on the safer side, you can even place a large piece of paper, typically a newspaper, underneath the pan so that it can soak the accidental spills. However, when using this method, before disposing of the fluid, it must be transferred to a safe and closed container to ensure safety

How much oil does an oil drain pan hold?

Oil drain pans come in different capacities, and you should get one according to the quantity your vehicle needs. While some can hold up to 6 quarts (approximately 5.68 lt.) there are others with the capacity of accommodating around 16.9 quarts (approximately 16 lt.).

With that said, it would be a good idea to check the user’s manual of your vehicle for the exact amount of oil it needs, and get a drain pan accordingly. If you’re still not sure, you can always consult a professional technician from an authorized service station for an accurate figure.

How often should you change your oil pan drain plug?

Generally speaking, oil pan drain plugs are made of good material and last forever as long as they are removed and retightened correctly. Many people have claimed that they have never replaced their pan drain plug throughout the period they have used the car. The only thing that kept the plug safe was that it was tightened correctly.

Not to brag, but one of the people also said that it was around 35 years ago when they changed their oil and filter on their own, and after that it was always done during routine services done by the authorized service station. During all those years, they haven’t changed the plug whatsoever.

(Source: https://homex.com/ask/how-often-should-you-replace-oil-drain-plug)

Are all oil pan drain plugs the same?

When talking about the size, no, not all oil pan drain plugs are of the same dimension. However, there are a few sizes that are common amongst most vehicles.

As for the form factor, they are engineered keeping in mind the vehicle they will be used in. This is because while some vehicles don’t have a reinforced drain plug hole, there are some that do.

With that said, a conclusive answer to the question is that not all oil pan drain plugs are of the same shape and size, and they are tailored specifically for almost every vehicle model to serve the purpose well enough.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: romarti/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Vivek Nayyar
Vivek Nayyar

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  • THX1136 THX1136 on Jun 21, 2022

    Had one like the #2 choice, but it was a splashy mess to deal with. Read about the #1 choice and found it was at a price that worked for me so I purchased one. I like everything about it. It easily holds the 6 quarts for my car, pours nicely for the recycling end of things, no splashes when draining and looks like it will hold up for many years. #5 looks like it would work in a similar fashion, the only difference being a bit larger pour spout.

  • Luke42 Luke42 on Feb 28, 2023
    My EV does not require this product.
  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.
  • ToolGuy New Hampshire
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