To the layperson, the value of a metal or non-metallic disc with a hole that functions to secure various moving mechanical parts seems irrelevant and unimportant. Even their minimal cost factor seems to nullify their relevancy and importance. This little disc is commonly not within eye-shot either wherever it may be fastened or located. The out of sight, out of mind adage applies here and also seems to diminish the very purpose these minuscule parts serve in a plethora of manufactured items. Once the layperson becomes enlightened to the truth and perhaps has a first-hand encounter with a device that failed without one, the realization becomes more apparent that good things really do come in small packages. These small packages can even potentially circumvent a mechanical loss or disaster.

The happy motorist felt accomplished that day as their car’s oil change was completed and they began the dreaded 300 mile drive for the out of town business trip. Perhaps there could be some pleasure gained from the experience after the work is completed but the brown greasy substance that seems to follow the freshly prepped family car is raising a few eyebrows right now. Then there’s that engine oil light that illuminated the dash panel while selecting the next radio tune to help shorten a long, boring drive. Looks like that economy lube and oil chain didn’t replace or over-tightened one insignificant part to the oil pan drain plug, that seemingly worthless little washer. Whether it was one of those standard flat washers or those other kind of flat washers is the last worry on the mind of the business traveler. The black smoke that is now billowing in the air from under the car hood is the traveler’s greatest concern and worst nightmare.

Flat Washers

The easiest means for a layperson to become enlightened is from first-hand life experience. Herein lays a valuable lesson between the everyday layperson, an automobile and an oil pan drain plug. Never underestimate the function of parts unseen and perhaps do a little research before prepping the family car and going out of town. It could help circumvent a personal meeting with black, billowing smoke from under the car hood and the illuminated warning light on the dash panel.