Oil Extractor Vs Drain Plug: Which Process Works Better?

Do you know that your car engine’s lifespan depends on your cleaning? It is proven that you can prevent damage to the engines by extracting oils. The engine gets damaged due to the by-products produced from petroleum. No matter how expensive your oil or car is, these by-products will certainly cause some damage to your vehicle.

There are a few ways to extract engine oil. Using an oil extractor or simply via the drain plug are two of the most popular methods. In this drain plug vs oil extractor guide, we will talk about the process and the pros and cons to inform you of the most suitable method.

Oil Extractor

This extraction device uses the vacuum mechanism in order to pump out oil directly from the crankcase.

It uses a long tube to collect oil from the dipstick to the attached plastic container. You only have to pump the handle to create a vacuum. Then, the oil will automatically be collected in a clean container.

This process is by far the cleanest. You do not have to raise the car; hence, this job can be done one-handed.

But one disadvantage of this oil extractor is that it cannot extract the sludge. Sludge is heavy, so the thin tube cannot collect it. So it remains and gradually becomes a precipitate.

Related post: How Do You Use A Manual Oil Extractor Pump?

How To Use An Oil Extractor?

To extract engine oil, you need to warm it up first. Let your engine run for about 5 minutes, and then stop to let the oil cool over 15 minutes. Be sure the oil is not too hot.

Open your car hood and take out the dipstick. Keep pushing the tube about 2-3 feet into the oil dipstick until it reaches the bottom. It is easy to suction oil out from the car engine. The procedures are described below.

  • To extract engine oil, you need to warm it up first. Let your engine run for about 5 minutes, and then stop to let the oil cool over 15 minutes. Be sure the oil is not too hot.
  • Open your car hood and take out the dipstick. Keep pushing the tube about 2-3 feet into the oil dipstick until it reaches the bottom.
  • If you use a motor oil extractor, attach the extraction pump to the car battery and place the tube’s end in a clean container. Then start the pump to extract oil.
  • On the other hand, if you use a vacuum extractor, it will be less complicated. You just need to pump to create a vacuum, and the oil will be collected in the attached container.
  • When nearly all the oil is extracted, you will find air bubbles in the tube and the container. To extract the oil left, bend your tube slightly more to get it out.
  • Carefully remove the oil tube and keep an eye on the oil dripping from the tube.
  • Replace the engine oil filter.
  • Add engine oil as specified in the manual.
  • Let the oil reach the oil pan.
  • Check your oil level and add oil to the appropriate level.


  • The simplest way to suction out your engine oil
  • No need to ask a mechanic
  • No need to raise your car up
  • Fewer tools are required
  • No oil leak
  • Not messy as your oil is collected in the adjacent container
  • Easy to use, but you will have a good workout


  • Time-consuming
  • Requires a large amount of compressed air supply
  • The tubes may run short
  • Cannot suction out the sludge
  • If the oil filter is located under the car, you will have to lift it up

Drain Plug

The drain plug is installed on the underside of the car. It is a large screw or plug under the engine’s oil pan. Although it gets messy because of the oil leaking, it is the quickest method to extract oil.

Below is the whole process explained in the easiest-to-understand manner.

  • Lift your car with a jack, or crawl under the car if possible.
  • Find the drain plug. It is a big screw-like object at the lowest end of the engine.
  • Place a large clean container underneath the plug.
  • Loosen the drain plug and remember to wear gloves while doing so.
  • When the oil is extracted completely, remove the oil filler hole at the top of your engine. Tighten the oil filter counterclockwise by using a wrench.
  • The filter often has some oil in it, so carefully remove it and replace the engine oil filter with a new one.
  • Moisten the new oil filter’s gasket and place it properly.
  • Clean the drain plug and screw it down.
  • Use a funnel, and pour new engine oil through the oil filler hole by an appropriate amount.
  • Replace the oil filler cap, then run the engine for at least one minute to check for any leaks or drainage.
  • Stop the engine and allow the oil to settle up in the oil pan. Add more oil if necessary.
  • Drive and test your car to make sure everything functions well.


  • Not time-consuming
  • A popular method of oil changing
  • All the oil with precipitates is drained out


  • A really messy job
  • You have to lift up your car

More to see: Best Oil Extractors; Top 7 Best Oil Extractor Pumps You Should Know

Oil Extractor Vs Drain Plug

It is a frequently-asked question among those who own a car. Should I spend more money buying an extractor, or should I manually remove the oil through the drain plug?

Both methods are good, depending on your personal preference. If you are a clean person and like doing work yourself, buy an oil extractor. Otherwise, if you prefer to get the job done quickly, using the drain plug will be better.

Draining oil by the drain plug is the quickest way, but it also is messy. It may take you extra time to up your garage if you do your work by this method.

Also, you will have to raise your car to reach the drain plug. Still, this method is preferred by many people because it does not require any other tool to get your job done.

Meanwhile, the oil extractor has also become a tool of choice for many. Using the motor extractors, you can extract nearly all the oil, even the sludge.

But if the oil filter is located underneath the car, you will have to lift it up. In that case, you might think of using the drain plug.

So each tool has both pros and cons. Users can choose either, depending on their personal preference.


Tools like oil extractors make our daily lives a little less complicated. Whereas the extractor has many flaws, the drain plug also has a number of disadvantages itself. My personal favorite is the oil extractor because it reduces the workload and is a clean process. But we would like to let the readers decide for themselves what they think is the best.