How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter (Best Ways)

Every standard maintenance of a car includes changing your oil filter. One of the most common and frustrating issues is a stuck oil filter. It would be best if you used the right tools to remove it.

Just sit back and relax because we will unveil the best ways to remove a stuck oil filter.

What Is An Oil Filter?

What Is An Oil Filter

An oil filter does what it means on the tin exactly. It is the component of your car’s engine that filters the oil. It is a component probably about the size of a can of baked beans that is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

The filter’s function is to remove any contaminants or pollutants from your engine oil. If tiny particles of complex objects enter the oil stream, they can rub up against important equipment parts, causing them to wear out considerably quicker.

If one of these dirt specks or tiny stone chips becomes large enough, it might become trapped in a component of your engine and prevent a piston from moving or a valve from shutting.

It might have significant repercussions for your engine’s overall performance and produce problems that cost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to repair.

Reason Why Oil Filter Gets Stuck

Oil Filter Gasket

When your oil filter becomes clogged, it looks that even superhuman strength will not be able to free it. But, before we begin eliminating anything, we must first consider how we get here.

Most likely, the person who replaced the filter did not follow the cardinal installation rule: lubricate the gasket and do not overtighten.

Tools Needed for Removing the Oil Filter

Tools Needed for Removing the Oil Filter

  • Oil catch pan
  • Wrench depending on what you are comfortable using or what is available for you.
    • Spider Wrench
    • Socket Wrench
    • Metal band or Chain loop Wrench
    • Strap Wrench
    • Pliers
  • Rags
  • Car Jacks or Ramp
  • Personal Protective Equipment (Gloves & Glasses)
  • Work Light

Steps on How to Change Oil Filter

Before you get that stuck oil filter out, you need to know the proper steps how to change your oil filter.

  1. Run your car’s engine– Because warm oil drains faster than cold oil, you should run your car’s engine for a few minutes before completing the procedure. However, it is critical to run the engine for a few minutes if it gets too hot. It will be dangerous since it would be too hot to drain.
  2. Jack up the car– It is essential to do this stage right since the consequences might be disastrous if you don’t. Check if you’re utilizing the jack and jack supports appropriately to elevate the automobile. Take additional precautions with this step.
  3. Loosen the oil fill lid to make it easier for the oil to drain– The oil fill cap is a circular cover at the engine’s top that covers the opening where you check your oil or pour oil into it. Twist it counterclockwise to release it and allow the oil to drain more quickly.
  4. Locate the drain plug and put an oil pan over it– Consult your owner’s guidebook for information in locating the oil drain stopper, and keep in mind that the oil will pour into the pan at an angle. Using a socket wrench, loosen the plug.
  5. Unscrew the Drain plug– While doing so, push the pin back towards the pan. It will prevent the oil from leaking until you are ready to disconnect the plug. It is critical to proceed with caution at this point since the oil may be hot.
  6. Drain the oil– drain the old oil from your engine.
  7. Replace the oil plug– After you’ve exhausted all of the old oil, reinstall it and manually tighten it. After tightening the plug, use your wrench to secure it. If you have to use a new drain plug gasket, your owner’s handbook should tell you. It is critical not to overtighten this plug.
  8. Remove the oil filter– Be cautious since your old oil filter may still contain hot oil even after the oil has been emptied. Place your oil pan beneath the old filter, then gently remove the filter with the wrench. Using a cloth, wipe up the engine’s mounting surface. You can check to see if the old filter’s gasket is still attached to it.
  9. Ensure that the new oil filter is lubricated– Using your hands, screw it into place. Apply a light layer of fresh oil to the rubber seal before installing the new filter. Then, make sure the seal is well-positioned in the filter and screw it on by hand. Generally, you don’t need to use the wrench to tighten the oil filter, but you should verify the particular instructions of the filter you purchased to be sure.
  10. Put the new oil- Make sure you use a clean funnel and pour in the right amount of oil for your car (your owner manual should specify). It’s conceivable that some oil didn’t drain out, and you don’t want to overfill the container. Replace the cap when you’ve finished pouring in the oil.
  11. Turn on the engine and look for leaks- Your oil and filter change is nearly complete! It’s time to start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes. After that, inspect the region surrounding the oil drain plug and filter. There should be no leaks, but if there are, don’t be concerned. Turn off the engine and repair it. Turn off the engine if you don’t observe any leaks. Allow for a minute or two of resting time after that—this enables the oil to settle.
  12. Check the oil level– Remove the dipstick from the car, clean it, and reinstall it. After that, you should take it out again. It must reach the “full mark.” If it isn’t, apply additional oil; the balance should be shown in the owner’s handbook. Lower your vehicle, and you’re almost ready to depart.
  13. Remove the old oil and filter responsibly and adequately– It’s important to dispose of old oil and worn filters correctly. This entails transporting them to a licensed used engine oil drop-off location or a recycling facility.
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Methods and Tools to be Used

1. Spider Oil Filter Wrench – These wrenches feature gears that can be adjusted. Two clamping legs, dual jaw plates, and three geared metal prongs are included. To remove the oil filter, use a spider wrench and a 3/8-inch ratchet driver. Spider wrenches come in two varieties: claw and jaw, and they both grip the filter in a slightly different way. Filters that are hidden away in limited spaces benefit from spider wrenches.

Spider Oil Filter Wrench

2. Oil Filter Wrench Socket – Socket wrenches attach to the bottom of an oil filter casing and feature metal or plastic socket-shaped cups. They feature a 3/8-inch ratchet handle by default, although they come in a variety of sizes. They’re handy if you have limited room around your oil filter or if your oil filter is recessed. Socket wrenches are required for several car models.

socket oil filter wrench

3. Strap Wrench – A strap wrench is essential if you have an SUV, pickup truck, or other large vehicle since the oil filters are typically bigger (up to 6 inches in diameter). To crank the bar that tightens the strap that firmly secures the filter, you’ll need a 1/2-inch square drive tool. On more significant engines, a strap wrench is ideal for removing jammed oil filters.

Strap Wrench

4. Chain Loop and Metal Band Wrenches– These wrenches resemble nooses rather than regular wrenches. They have a rotating handle and a metal or chain strap that loops around the cap. They’re great for oil filters because of their distinctive shape, but they’re not designed for other jobs, so they’re less helpful than claw and socket wrenches. Metal band wrenches with handle hinges are ideal for older automobiles since they allow you to access difficult-to-reach locations. Oil filters that are greasy and slippery function well with chain loop wrenches.

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Chain Loop and Metal Band Wrenches

5. Oil Filter Pliers – The finest oil filter pliers include extended twin handles, robust steel construction, and plastisol-coated grips for a secure grip. When it comes to removing complex filters, they feature adjustable jaws and may be extremely strong. Filters ranging in size from 2-15/16 to 3-5/8 inches may be removed using a 3-5/8-inch tool. Larger filter pliers are available for larger oil filters.

Oil Filter Pliers

Warning!! Don’t Use Screwdriver Method or Cavemanning

Every day, I see DIYers asking for advice on how to remove a clogged oil filter. I’ve also seen folks insert a screwdriver into the oil filter container and attempt to twist it. It is the absolute WORST method for removing a clogged oil filter. It’s not a good idea!

First, you weaken the can by driving the screwdriver into it. Then you tear the can off as you try to turn it. All of the filter material will break away, leaving just the heavy metal plate torqued to the oil pump flange.

Screwdriver Method or Cavemanning

The only way to get rid of that plate is to take a sharp cold chisel and hammer a groove into the outside edge before spinning it off. There’s a good chance you won’t have much space to deal with, and you’ll end up turning a minor issue into a nightmare.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are the pros and cons of changing your own stuck oil filter?

A: Well, there are lots of pros to changing your own oil filter. One is oil filter changes may be completed in a short period of time. It is less costly if you change your own oil filter. It becomes a disadvantage when you have little knowledge of the tools and methods you should use to remove a stuck oil filter.

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Q: Is Hand Tightening the oil filter enough?

A: With only a decent hand-tightening, every respectable oil filter is meant to seal for tens of thousands of kilometers. Unless you have one of those highly recessed filters with little room for your hands around it, you won’t need a wrench. Then tighten another half-turn using the wrench.

Q: Is it possible to remove the oil filter without having to change the oil?

A: Yes, you can change your oil filter without having to drain the oil. A filter replacement has no effect on the location of the oil. If any oil leaks from the filter, it’s just what’s caught beyond the anti-drain-back gasket.

Q: Is a torque wrench required to tighten an oil filter?

A: A torque wrench may be required in addition to this basic equipment to correctly install the plug and filter. However, most experienced technicians just tighten the bolt and filter by feel. The basic guideline is “hand tight,” or as tight as you can, tighten the bolt with just your wrist moving the ratchet.

Q: Is it possible to clean and reuse an oil filter?

A: First and first, if you are unfamiliar with the operation of an oil filter, it is not suggested to clean and reuse it. Cleaning an oil filter, let alone reusing it, is a difficult task. However, in my opinion, it is not an unrealistic concept, to begin with. Oil filters in vehicles do clog up with time.

Q: Is it true that oil filter wrenches are universal?

A: They are, indeed. Keep in mind that we’re talking about oil filter wrench cup sets here. A set will typically comprise ten units that may be used on various oil filters. When it comes to oil filter wrenches and pliers that employ chains, the situation is similar.


Now that we have provided you with the necessary information on the tools and methods, you will realize that removing a stuck oil filter is not as hard as you think. You just need to have the right tools and knowledge. Using the wrong tools will be time-consuming and frustrating.

Utilizing the right tools will let you finish the task in a matter of minutes. Remember that properly maintaining your car is still the best way to take care of it and prevent issues such as a stuck oil filter.

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