Which way to turn the oil drain plug?

Ever wondered which way to turn your car’s oil drain plug? Many motorists get confused about whether to go clockwise or counterclockwise. This article is a handy guide, ready to steer you in the right direction and simplify this seemingly daunting task.

Determining the Direction to Turn the Oil Drain Plug

To determine the direction to turn the oil drain plug, start by understanding that most drain plugs loosen in a counter-clockwise direction.

Counter-clockwise vs. clockwise

To loosen the oil drain plug, turn it counterclockwise. We call this lefty-loosey. When it is time to put the plug back, make sure to go clockwise. This means righty-tighty. Be careful not to over-tighten and strip the bolt head! If you’re unsure about how tight or loose it should be, check your car’s manual for help.

Visualizing the direction while under the car

To visualize the direction to turn the oil drain plug while under the car, you can imagine yourself standing in front of the car and facing toward it. Then, picture turning your left hand counterclockwise (lefty-loosey).

That’s the same direction you need to turn the oil drain plug to loosen it. Remember, counterclockwise or lefty-loosey is how you should think of it. When removing the oil filter, twist it counterclockwise as well.

It’s important to visualize and remember these directions correctly to avoid any mistakes when changing your car’s oil.

Using a ratcheting wrench

To loosen the oil drain plug, you can use a ratcheting wrench. This tool makes it easier to turn the plug counterclockwise and remove it. Make sure to choose the correct socket size for the wrench to fit securely onto the bolt head.

By using a ratcheting wrench, you’ll have better control and leverage when unscrewing the drain plug. Just remember to tighten it back up clockwise after changing the oil.


To summarize, when it comes to loosening the oil drain plug, remember that it turns counterclockwise. Use a box-end wrench or socket to loosen it. Don’t forget to place a catch pan underneath and properly tighten the plug after an oil change.

If you’re unsure about your specific vehicle’s instructions, consult the manual or a professional. Happy oil changing!

Some Facts

2. To remove the drain plug, a box-end wrench or 6-pt. socket can be used to loosen it.

3. The drain plug should be located under the car or near the front of the car’s engine.

4. It is important to ensure that a catch pan is placed underneath the drain plug hole to collect the oil.

5. The oil filter can also be removed by twisting it counterclockwise, preferably by hand.

6. If the oil filter is difficult to remove by hand, a wrench can be used.

7. In some cases, using WD40 on the oil drain plug may help loosen it if it is stuck.

8. It is essential to properly tighten the oil drain plug after an oil change to prevent leaks.

9. The direction to tighten the oil drain plug is clockwise.

10. It is recommended to refer to the car’s manual or consult a professional if unsure about the specific instructions for a particular vehicle.

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