How to Make an Oil Drain Pan

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Things You'll Need

  • Large plastic trash can

  • Tape measure

  • Pencil

  • Reciprocating saw

  • Medium-grit sandpaper

  • Drill

  • 1-inch Hole-cutter drill attachment

  • 1-inch Rubber stopper

An oil drain pan catches old oil that's expelled during an oil change.

Oil drain pans are used during oil changes. The mechanic begins the oil change by sliding the pan under the vehicle. It catches the old oil as it drains out of the engine block. Once it's full, the pan's contents must be drained into an oil receptacle. This homemade oil pan design includes a rubber plug on the bottom to allow for easy drainage. A plastic trash- can bottom serves as the basis for the catch pan.


Step 1

Place a large plastic trash can on the floor. Using your tape measure, draw a mark on the trash can 4 inches from the floor. Move the tape measure an inch to the right and add another mark, also 4 inches from the floor. Continue measuring and marking around the circumference of the trash can. Connect the marks to make a ring around the trash can's circumference.


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Step 2

Cut off the bottom of the trash can with a reciprocating saw; use the drawn-on ring as your guide. Discard the top portion of the trash can. The bottom portion of the can will serve as the oil catch pan.

Step 3

Sand the cut edge of the trash can's bottom using a medium-grit sandpaper. Sand away the sharp edges.


Step 4

Drill a 1-inch hole through the bottom of the pan. Place the hole approximately 2 inches in from the edge of the pan.

Step 5

Insert a rubber stopper in the hole on the bottom of the pan. Insert the stopper from the bottom, so you won't need to stick your hand in the oil to pull out the stopper.


Hardware stores sell multipurpose rubber stoppers.

To empty the pan, place it on a table. The portion of pan with the rubber stopper should be positioned so it's hanging over the edge of the table. Place an empty oil container (with a funnel in the opening) below the hole to catch the oil. Remove the stopper to empty the oil catch tray.

The bottom of the trash can must be free of cracks and holes.


Never pour old oil down the drain or discard it in the trash. The used oil can be returned to an auto supply shop for disposal or can be discarded during a local hazardous-materials collection.


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