Often, oil filters get stuck, making them extremely difficult to unscrew by hand. This usually happens either because people do not oil the gasket before installation or because they over tighten the oil filter when installing it. Either way, here are three recommendations on how to remove a stuck oil filter if you find yourself dealing with a stubborn filter in the future.
How To Remove A Stuck Oil Filter
1. Try to Unscrew The Filter by Hand
First, you will want to try loosening the oil filter by hand. Make sure that your hands are not oily or slippery and that you can get a firm grip on the stuck oil filter. You can wear gloves with a non-slip grip to get a better hold on the oil filter. As always, be careful with hot filters, and remember to always turn the filter to the left to unscrew it.
2. Use a Specific Tool to Unscrew The Filter
If your filter is stuck and you can not unscrew it by hand, you may need a specific oil filter wrench or oil filter cap to remove it. A few additional tools that might work are adjustable oil wrench pliers, chain wrenches, band wrenches, or jaw wrenches.
Using your tool of choice, you should be able to get a good grip on the filter to unscrew it. Be careful about crushing the cylinder depending on the method and tool you are using. Note that you will need to apply a decent amount of torque to make any headway with a really stuck filter.
3. Use a Screwdriver And Hammer
If none of the above works, as a last resort you can use a screwdriver and a hammer. Though less than ideal, this method is usually effective; just be aware that it is messy. Using the screwdriver (preferably an old one that you aren’t attached to), make a hole in the back of the filter body by hitting the screwdriver in with a hammer. Once the screwdriver pierces the metal canister from one side to the other, you should be able to use it as a handle to rotate and remove the filter.
Avoid Future Stuck Oil Filters
Of course, once you have figured out how to remove a stuck oil filter, you don’t want to cause the same problem again. Be sure you appropriately install your new oil filter. Don’t skip over the step of lubricating the gasket with a light layer of fresh oil. And make sure you don’t overtighten the new filter. It should fit snugly up to the engine block, but you don’t need to crank it tight.