Title:
FLUID DRAIN PAN
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drain pan including a reservoir, a tray extendable from the oil pan, retractable legs of the bottom of the reservoir and a drain near the bottom of the reservoir. When oil is being drained into the reservoir, the tray catches spills and channels spilled liquid into the reservoir. When the reservoir is to be emptied, the legs are extended, allowing simplified flow from the drain to a storage container for used drained fluid.



Inventors:
Mirza, Hameed N. (San Jose, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/428272
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/22/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D1/34
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
GROSSO, HARRY A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Law Offices of Thomas Schneck (SAN JOSE, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A drain pan comprising: a pan reservoir defined by a pan bottom and pan side walls defining an open top of said reservoir; a pan drain located on said pan to allow a liquid to be drained from said drain pan; a retractable tray mounted on said drain pan, the retractable tray retractable into the pan reservoir, and extendable from one pan side wall, said tray configured such that when said drain pan is on a level surface liquid spilling onto the extended drain pan will drain towards the pan reservoir; and four retractable legs mounted on said drain pan, said retractable legs extendable to allow said reservoir to be raised from an underlying surface or retracted such that said reservoir is not raised from an underlying surface to facilitate placement of oil pan under the vehicle.

2. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said legs include two sets of legs, each attached with hinges, and each set having a release latch below the lifting handle.

3. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said four retractable legs include two front legs and two back legs, wherein said front legs are slightly shorter than said back legs.

4. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said drain is a side tube with opening and closing mechanism.

5. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said drain includes a drain spout on a bottom of the pan reservoir and a valve to open the spout.

6. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said retractable tray include side lips.

7. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said tray includes a pull tab/handle.

8. The drain pan of claim 1, wherein said tray includes an angled shape such that liquid on side edges of the tray drain towards a tray center line.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims priority from provisional application Ser. No. 61/028,037 filed Apr. 22, 2008.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates generally to a device allowing the draining and capture of viscous liquids (e.g., motor oil) from an engine. More specifically, the invention relates to a device for use in changing viscous liquids from an engine that allows capture of the viscous liquid and prevents spills onto ground surfaces below the engine.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

To keep motor vehicles in proper operating condition requires periodically changing various viscous liquids, such as motor oil. This is generally accomplished by removing a drain plug from the crankcase and allowing the oil to drain. At the same time the oil filter is also replaced. During this process a low profile drain pan is placed below the crank case to catch the oil. In its simplest form, this may simply be a metal or plastic pan. Once the oil is drained, a new oil filter is secured into place and the crankcase plug is replaced. Clean oil is then added to replace the drained oil. After the oil has been changed, there remains a need to dispose of used oil. This is generally accomplished by draining the oil from the pan into one or more containers, and then taking the used oil to a recycling center or placing the oil curbside for municipal pickup.

The process can be quite messy. During oil changing the oil tend to drip from the crankcase and from the area where the filter is attached. When the oil is being changed the oil drain pan, positioned to catch the oil flow from the crank case, may allow dripping from the location of the oil filter. This causes spills onto the surface below the vehicle.

Once the dirty oil has been collected in the oil drain pan, the oil must be discarded. This requires transferring the oil into a container for transport to a recycling center. Generally a funnel is placed at the opening of the container and the oil is drained from the pan. However, it commonly requires both hands to hold the oil drain pan as several quarts of oil are poured into containers. This makes the use of a funnel and a container much less stable and liable to spill.

SUMMARY

The present device includes an oil drain pan having a drain pan reservoir. A drain on the reservoir allows oil to be removed from the reservoir after oil has been changed. This drain may be a tube on the bottom of one side of the drain pan, or a spout on the underside of the drain pan. A valve controls flow from the drain. The oil drain pan includes a retractable tray mounted on the drain pan. This retractable tray is retractable into the pan reservoir, and extendable from one pan side wall. The retractable tray is configured such that when said drain pan is on a level surface liquid spilling onto the extended drain pan will drain towards the pan reservoir. This tray may include side lips to contain oil and may be shaped with sloping sides such that liquid falling onto the drain pan flows to the centerline of the tray. The tray is mounted on angled slots such that there is a front to back slope of the tray to the reservoir. The oil drain pan also includes retractable legs mounted on the drain pan bottom. These retractable legs are extendable to allow said reservoir to be raised from an underlying surface or retracted such that the reservoir is not raised from an underlying surface. The front legs may be shorter than the rear legs, such that when the legs are extended, the reservoir will tilt toward the drain. This makes draining the reservoir easier and quicker. The legs may be retracted for easy storage.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an oil drain pan.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of an oil drain pan with the legs extended.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

With respect to FIG. 1, an oil drain pan is shown having a pan reservoir 12 into which oil could drain during an oil change. This reservoir is defined by a drain pan bottom 14, a back wall 16, a front wall 22 and side walls 18, 20. Extending from the top of walls 16, 18, 20, 22 is a lip 24, which extends towards the center of the reservoir. In some embodiments lip 24 may be angled downwards slightly. This lip prevents spilling as the drain pan is moved. During such movement, the oil in the pan may tend to slosh in the reservoir and could slop over the side of the oil drain pan. The edge lip inhibits this from occurring.

On the side of the drain pan is a handle 30. A second handle is on the opposite side of the drain pan (shown in dotted). These handles allow the drain pan to be carried. Within reservoir 12 may be stored a pull out tray 50. This tray is mounted on sides 18, 20 of the oil drain pan, mounted on angled slots 64, 66. The tray includes angled slots on two sidewalls extending from the edge of lip 24 at the front of the oil drain pan into the drain pan. The angle of the slots should be sufficiently shallow to allow for the tray to be retracted without contact with the oil in the drain reservoir 12. The edges of pull out tray 50 may contain side lips 56 to contain oil. In addition, the tray may also contain a center line 54 towards which the sides of the tray are angled. Both the side lips 56 and the center groove act to channel spilled oil back into reservoir 12. A pull handle 52 allows the tray 50 to be more easily pulled out and retracted.

The tray includes feet 46a, 46b, 46c (fourth foot not shown) that may be the hinged ends of each leg. When the oil is being drained, the oil drain pan rests on these feet on a surface below the vehicle.

With reference to FIG. 2, during an oil change, the oil drain pan is placed below a vehicle, with feet 46a-46c collapsed horizontally with the bottom of oil pan resting on ground surface. The tray 50 may then be extended out by pulling from handle 52. When the tray is extended, valve 60 is not seen. The shape of tray 50 prevents the tray from pulling out of slots 64, 66. For example the end of the tray may be thicker or be bent to prevent the tray from leaving slots 64, 66. Once the tray is extended, the plug from the crank case can be removed and the oil filter removed and replaced. Oil dripping from the oil filter or the filter mount will be collected by the tray and will drain into reservoir 12. Oil from the crank case will drain directly into reservoir 12. Once the new filter is on and the crankcase plug replaced, the tray 50 can be retracted on slots 64 and 66 and the oil drain pan removed. The lip 24 will prevent spillage. Handles 30 and 30a can be used to carry the oil drain pan. Following oil collection, the oil drain pan must be emptied. Extendable legs 44a, 44b are attached to hinge 42a and 42b or 46a and 46b in case leg hinges and feet are combined. Two latches 40 and 40a allows release of legs 44a, 44b, 44c and 44d so that the legs can drop into place and support the oil drain pan. Legs 44c, 44d are similarly mounted on a hinges and have a release latch under the lifting handle 30a. In one simple embodiment, the handle could extend below the hinge, and flexible protrusions on a side of the oil pan and the bottom of the oil pan could hold the handle in place.

In one embodiment, the front legs 44b, 44d, are slightly shorter than the rear legs 44a, 44c. In the front of the tray is a drain control valve 60. This valve may be lifted to allow oil to drain from drain spout 62. Alternatively (or in addition) a side drain spout 70 having a ball valve, pressure clip or other release may be included. Either drain would be near the bottom of the reservoir, either on a side or on the bottom. Once the oil drain pan legs are extended, the pan would be placed on floor surface/ground. The longer rear legs and shorter front legs angle the oil drain pan such that oil will drain from the reservoir towards the drains. A container then could be place with the drain inserted into the opening of a container or just over the opening of a container. The drain would then be opened and the dirty oil would fill into the container.

The present device could be made of metal, plastic (e.g., extruded plastics) or some combination of these or other materials.

After use, the tray may be retracted and the legs folded, allowing compact storage. No funnel is required. This provides a convenient way to transfer used oil to a container by opening the collapsed legs in the bottom of pan. The collapsed legs are opened by lifting pan high enough by holding handles on both sides of the pan (30 and 30a). Oil pan is lifted upwards high enough to accommodate the height of the legs that are opened by pressing release latch on both sides below the carrying handle (40 and 40a) and then allowed to sit on the support of open legs now. Collapsed legs can also be opened by using spring wire mechanism attached to legs. At this stage the oil pan sits on ground at a slope based on slightly short front legs towards drain valve and high enough to place a container under the drain spout 62 or using side drain valve 70 from the side of the oil pan. This allows a convenient handling of containers to be filled for disposal/recycling and eliminates a messy job of holding pan and pouring oil at the same time.





 
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