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Tools to release a jammed oil filter

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What is the issue?
Tightened oil filters can be difficult if not impossible sometimes to remove by hand.

Why address this?
It can be a demoralizing experience. You have drained the oil and the oil filter is welded on and simply will not come off. You need to remove a jammed filter before the oil can be changed and the service can be completed.

How to address this?
Invest ahead of the event in a special tool as there are many excellent tools for wrenching off a spin-on oil filter.

Typical Band Wrench
Photo: Laser

One of the most popular tools for this purpose is the band wrench. They use a metal band that tightens against the filter’s canister as a tightening screw is turned. You might add a layer of rubber or an old domestic washing up glove to help it grip tightly onto the filter. Other kinds of band wrenches use a synthetic fabric or rubber-like material or chains. These may provide a better grip than the metal band wrenches, but they are often awkward to use in tight spaces.

Strap Filter Wrench
Photo: Courtesy of Am-Tech

A slightly different approach to the traditional band wrench is the cost-effective Strap Filter Wrench, shown above. If space around the filter is an issue this strap wrench is very space efficient. Made out of a high strength nylon band it is tightened by a ½" wrench socket drive and will shift almost any difficult or stubborn oil filters. By wrapping the fabric around the oil filter and creating a tight fit on it the torque from the applied pressure on the wrench helps to gradually loosen the oil filter.

When using band wrenches be sure to attach them as close to the base of the filter as you can. This is the strongest part of the canister and there is less risk of crushing them there.

Adjustable 3 Jaw Oil Filter Wrench Tool
Photo: Courtesy of CETA

What is largely considered to be the best tool these days for the removal of oil filters is a spider-style
or claw style oil filter wrench. It has three geared metal prongs and accommodates a ratchet driver or spanner to turn the oil filter off. As the driver is turned anti-clockwise the gears make the prongs clench the filter body harder. This type of wrench can be used in a more confined space rather than a strap or chain type wrench and they rarely if ever slip or puncture the old filter.

The trick to avoid this problem in the future is, when putting on the replacement filter, to stick your finger in the oil and run it all around the new rubber seal. Then just turn the new filter on by hand. The sealing is done entirely by the o-ring. The cap is torqued only to keep it from unscrewing. So typically, turn it till it is snug and give it a tug , hand tight, plus a ¼ turn. It won't leak and will turn off easily by hand the next time you replace it. If you are any way unsure consult your engine manual.
Please note

Never use an oil filter removal tool to tighten a replacement oil filter.

If these tools are not available all is not lost, see don’t have a hand-driven oil filter wrench and the oil filter is stuck?

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

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