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

How to Remove 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.

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
  • Oil Drop Prevent Filter Stuck

    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 not oiled it before screw to engine as indicated in the service manual of 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 was tightly twisted
  • Stop Screwing Oil Filters Tight

    The gasket on filters prevent leak of oil. Some car mechanics think, that they must tightly screw oil filters to engine. But manufacturers say, that the filter has specified tightening torque (usually near 20 Nm). If gasket touched too much, especially when using a special key, 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 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 filter in left way to remove it from engine.

Oil Filter Unscrewing Direction

What to Do If You Can’t Remove Oil Filter

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

Special removal tools for oil filters

In stores with car accessories (like Halfords, Autozone, Wallmart, 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, work like pliers);
  • Oil Filter Pliers

  • Cup Type Oil Filter Wrench (before buying don’t forget specifying the size of filter);
  • Cup Wrench for Oil Filter

  • 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);
  • Adjustable Wrench with Chain

  • Swivel Handle Oil Filter Wrench (work almost like wrench with chain).

Swivel Handle Oil Filter Wrench

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

  • Take some sandpaper in hand, wrap around oil filter and then try unscrewing it again (this may help produce additional grip);
  • Unscrew with Sandpaper

  • Creating an additional lever with old timing belt and key (see image below);
  • Old Timing Belt and Key

  • Using of screwdriver and hammer is a simplest way to remove oil filter from engine, if you are not afraid to get dirty in oil. Pierce filter body with screwdriver and then rotate it counterclockwise using hand.
  • Screwdriver Through Oil Filter

How To Unscrew And Replace A Stuck Oil Filter

Don’t forget to share link to this article if it helps you or add your method to post comments if it wasn’t described.


  1. Michael Srite

    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. Sala

    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.

    • Admin Author

      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. Marty

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

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