Most home mechanics are well versed at changing their own oil. It’s one of the easiest procedures that need to be done on a regular basis. Even if you’ve never performed an oil change, the steps to follow are simple enough that anyone could learn. There’s one part that often brings many headaches; removing the oil filter. That’s why you want to invest in the best oil filter wrench.
What’s So Difficult about Removing the Oil Filter?
We could take you deep into a physics lesson here, but we’ll spare you. Basically, the oil filter gets stuck because of the heat cycling of the engine. This is the constant warming up and cooling off that occurs as you drive and then turn off the vehicle. If you have a strong grip, you might be able to twist your filter off by hand, but many times, the best oil filter wrench comes in handy.
This offers some additional mechanical advantages to take off any screw on (spin on) oil filter. Just make sure this is the type of filter you have. Some vehicles like Mini Coopers and BMW’s use an enclosed filter instead which requires a specific tool.
Best Oil Filter Wrench Buying Considerations
Considering the low cost of oil filter wrenches, it makes sense that every home garage would have one. Here are a few things to consider before making that purchase.
Determining the differences between those wrenches requires looking at the unique characteristics of each one. That’s why you’ll want to examine each one individually to see what sets it apart from the others.
Choose the tool that offers features you’ll personally benefit from. There’s no reason to spend more on a wrench that doesn’t help you.
You’ll want to read the reviews to determine the performance of the wrench. Does it remove the oil filter quickly and efficiently? This is imperative since the whole goal is to get the oil change done.
We don’t often recommend purchasing brands that aren’t known for their exceptional levels of quality. You want a wrench that’s made from high-quality materials so it doesn’t break under pressure. If the wrench breaks, you might not be able to get your oil filter off, which defeats the entire purpose. Oil filter removal is a slippery business, so a heavy duty oil filter wrench tool is what you need – not some flimsy cheap tool.
Don’t automatically pick your tools based on price, but use it as a gauge. Most higher priced oil filter wrenches either come from a highly respected brand or offer additional features. If you need a basic wrench, the extra cost might not be worth it for you. Otherwise, it’s wise to evaluate everything that comes with the higher price tag to see if you might want to invest a little more for better performance.
Types of Oil Filter Wrenches
Using an oil filter cap wrench makes your car maintenance even easier. It’s important that you pick the right kind for your vehicle since there’s a wide range to choose from. While the tools, equipment, and styles may differ, most of these will work for cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
A chain loop oil filter wrench uses a chain that’s literally looped around the filter. This gives you the traction you need to muscle the filter free.
The metal band adjustable oil filter tool utilizes metal bands with loops at the end of the handle. You simply tighten this around your filter and twist it. Turning it in a counter-clockwise motion should produce enough tension to free up the filter.
The claw oil filter wrench works with the help of metal prongs. These act just like a claw would and firmly grips your oil filter. They are beneficial for difficult oil filters or ones that are placed inside a tight space.
A socket-style oil wrench looks just like a socket, but it provides a looser metal fitting to grab the filter with a solid grip. The ring of this wrench passes over the filter. Then, you push the handle to create a firm hold. Once you have a hold, simply lift the handle a little further until the filter starts to unthread.
With a strap-style wrench, there’s a fabric strap used to grip the filter. Just pass the heavy duty strap over the filter housing and pull it tight. Then, the handle is pushed just like with the socket-style until enough pressure is applied to loosen the filter.
Some vehicle models prefer to maximize the space within the engine compartment, so they create unique oil filters unlike others. These won’t work with your standard wrenches and you might need a special tool. If that’s the case, your dealer will be able to tell what you need and how to find it.
Best Oil Filter Wrenches Reviewed
We’ve put together a list of the top ten oil filter wrenches. There are numerous types to choose from on our list, so you’re sure to find something that works well for you.