How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter? Stuck Oil Filter Unscrew Guide

The importance of changing the oil filter is known to every driver who maintains the vehicle and seeks to keep the engine in good condition.

Each oil change accompanies changing the oil filter and other consumables.

Saving on oil filters is impossible and senseless (the price of this part is less than 10$), otherwise, metal chips (formed because of engine production), dirt, and other debris will get into the engine along with oil, which can lead to the failure of expensive parts.

How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter

The process of replacing the oil filter is quite simple. The driver is required to remove the old filter. However, there are situations when the oil filter is not unscrewed. What will happen in such cases will be considered in this article.

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How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter? Why Oil Filter Won’t Unscrew?

To open the old oil filter, you need to put the car in a hole or lift it with a jackscrew. If the old oil filter does not unscrew, this happens for the following reasons:

The Filter Is Not Oiled Before Screwing:

The engine gets very hot during working. This element includes a rubber gasket in which the oil filter is connected to the engines. It melts a little and sticks to the engine if you did not oil it before screwing it to the engine as indicated in the service manual of the car and filter. Gasket becomes a kind of gluing component, due to which it will be even more difficult to unscrew the oil filter.

The filter is not oiled before screwing

The Filter Was Tightly Twisted:

The gasket on the filters prevents the leak of oil. Some car mechanics think, that they must tightly screw oil filters to the engine. But manufacturers say that the filter has specified tightening torque (usually near 20 Nm). If the gasket is touched too much, especially when using a special key, the oil filter becomes almost impossible to unscrew. To prevent this problem (if you have no torque wrench), screw oil filters completely by hand, and then give it one-quarter turn. This allows the filter to fit securely without being too tight.

The Filter Was Tightly Twisted

The Oil Filter Removal Direction:

Some people don’t know the oil filter removal direction: clockwise or counterclockwise. These doubts need to be discarded because it is generally accepted that the oil filter in almost all cars (including Ford, Toyota, Mazda, and GM) is unscrewed counterclockwise. This means that you must turn the filter to the left way to remove it from the engine.

The Oil Filter Removal Direction

What to Do if You Can’t Remove Oil Filter?

If the oil filter cannot be unscrewed by hand here is the time you can offer to try to make it a person who has more strength. In extreme cases, frankly, even a strongly “stuck” oil filter is possible without any extra tweaks. You can use one of the methods described below if your oil filter is stuck:

Special Removal Tools for Oil Filters:

In stores with car accessories (like Halfords, Autozone, Walmart, eBay, or Amazon), you can find a special key designed to unscrew the oil filters. Such a key is enough to hook on the element, then start the rotation. Open with an oil filter, but not all drivers have such a key, and you must first buy it:

  • Oil filter wrench (special tool, that works like pliers)
Oil filter wrench
  • Cup Type Oil Filter Wrench (before buying don’t forget to specify the size of the filter);
oil filter cup wrench
  • 3 Leg Oil Filter Wrench Adapter (more customizable for all sizes of filters);
3 Leg Oil Filter Wrench Adapter
  • Oil Filter Adjustable Wrench with Chain (don’t need extra keys, customizable for all sizes);
Oil Filter Adjustable Wrench with Chain
  • Swivel Handle Oil Filter Wrench (works almost like a wrench with chain).
Swivel Handle Oil Filter Wrench

If you do not want to spend extra money, try some of our super cheap DIY tools:

  • Take some sandpaper in hand, wrap it around the oil filter and then try unscrewing it again (this may help produce additional grip);
Unscrew with Sandpaper
  • Creating an additional lever with an old timing belt and key (see image below);
old timing belt and key
  • Using of screwdriver and hammer is the simplest way to remove the oil filters from the engine if you are not afraid to get dirty in oil. Pierce the filter body with a screwdriver and then rotate it counterclockwise using a hand.
screwdriver and hammer

How to Unscrew and Replace a Stuck Oil Filter? Learn From Video Tutorial

Don’t forget to share the link to this article if it helps you or add your method to post comments if it wasn’t described. And if you want to know about tires, You should go here and read the deep reviews to enjoy the ride with new tires.

7 thoughts on “How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter? Stuck Oil Filter Unscrew Guide”

  1. These are all good tools and tricks, but one thing I’d suggest is to spray some WD-40 or similar lubricant around the base of the stuck-on filter and then wait fifteen minutes. I had one that was stuck so tight it collapsed under the chain wrench I was using and I was afraid the metal of the filter would rip if I kept trying to turn it. So I sprayed it with the WD-40 and a few minutes later it was easy to unscrew it.

  2. The video shows an easy accessible filter but not all filters are that accessible and some tools used wouldn’t fit in a modern engine.

    • It’s not the answer to all problems. The best way to precent stuck oil filter – screw it completely by hand, and then give it one quarter turn back.

  3. Hav one stuck on Polaris ranger…filter collapsed ripping all metal n internal filter, tried chisel still not turning…any suggestions out there???

  4. After trying these methods, we found that the best method was WD-40 for a few minutes and a C clamp. It worked like a charm.


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