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Nissan Altima Oil Pans

Having the right amount of engine oil in your Nissan Altima is vital to the health of the engine. Damage to the oil pan may create a dangerous leak. Factory and aftermarket replacements are available to restore the integrity of the lubrication system.

What is the purpose of the oil pan?

Like all vehicles, the Nissan Altima requires motor oil for lubrication. When you turn the car off, most of this lubricant drains into the pan. It’s stored there until it’s needed again. If the pan fails and begins to leak, the engine may overheat. In the worst case, the engine oil level will become so low that the metal melds and the engine is ruined.

How do you know the Nissan pan is failing?

Unless the pan is suddenly and catastrophically damaged, you’ll usually have time to catch a leak before any harm is done to the engine. Keep an eye out for the following signs.

  • Unusual amounts of oil under the vehicle: It isn’t unusual for an auto to leave a drop or two on the driveway. If you begin to notice larger amounts, or even puddles of the lubricant, this is a clear warning sign.
  • Obvious damage to the pan: If you drive over metal debris that’s thrown up against the pan, this can cause a puncture. Scraping against the road surface or bottoming out over a bump may dent the pan and create a weak spot that later begins to leak. If you experience these mishaps, be alert for signs of leaking.
  • Leaking drain plug: You may notice this during an oil change. The plug gasket may be bad, or the threads on the plug may have been stripped.
  • Chronically low oil levels: If you find yourself constantly topping off the motor oil, this is a clear sign that it’s leaking from somewhere. Check the pan.
How do you choose a new pan for the Altima?

Which part you need for your Nissan Altima will depend on its model year and the capacity of its engine. The following characteristics vary among the different styles of pan.

  • Material: The factory pans and most aftermarket choices are made of black steel. There are a few made of cast aluminum.
  • Capacity: The pans may hold from three to five quarts.
  • Size and shape: Some pans are square, and some have irregular shapes. They’re about 11 to 15 inches long and 8.5 to 11.5 inches wide, depending on the model.
  • Drain plug size: A new pan should come with a drain plug. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to know the thread size and pitch to get a compatible replacement. Most Nissan Altima drain plugs are either 12x1.25 or 14x1.5.
How do you replace a Nissan Altima pan?
  • Drain the oil from the Altima.
  • Remove the 10 to 12 bolts holding the pan to the block.
  • Pry the pan loose.
  • Clean any residue off the contact surface on the car.
  • Apply RTV gasket maker to the new pan and bolt it on.
  • Refill the engine oil.