How To Remove An Oil Filter With (Without) A Wrench

Are you planning on changing your oil filter on your own? Oil filters are very crucial to a car’s engine.

Like the engine oil, the oil filter wrench is essential for ensuring that the oil stays clean throughout your engine oil.

As a general rule, oil filter wrenches are used to loosen the oil filter with its different types and gripping styles. 

It makes oil filter changing much easier since you don’t have to remove the oil filter by hand. Instead, you use the oil filter wrench, and installing and removing it will be easy.

This article will teach you why the oil filter is essential, things to prepare before changing the oil filter, choosing the proper oil filter wrench, why changing the oil filter is necessary, and many more. This will guide you if you don’t know much about oil filters.

Make sure you read to find additional tips and tricks you need to know when changing the oil filter.

Why is the Oil Filter Important?

Why is the Oil Filter Important

Like most parts of your car, the oil is essential as it lubricates the engine parts to reduce friction, which also normalizes the working temperature of your vehicle and removes dust and debris to reach your necessary engine parts.

Oil plays an essential role in every engine-powered vehicle because it serves as a lubricator for the entire engine.

It reduces friction, and reducing friction means lessening the wear and tear in your machine.

Secondly, it also acts as a coolant for your engine. Since oil is vicious, it’s a thick fluid that can keep your engine cool as it’s turned on and prevent overheating in your vehicle. 

Investing money in the oil can save you a lot of money on potential mechanical failures that engine oil can help you avoid.

Lastly, it removes dust and debris that reach the engine’s internal parts. However, over time, the oil becomes dirty since it will accumulate a lot of dirt throughout the entire lifespan of the oil.

 Changing oil is crucial since it will make your engine clean and viscous when you change the oil.

All of this will not be possible if you have dirty engine oil. That’s why the oil filter is essential. It makes the oil’s job easier by cleaning it and helping the oil know where to go.

The Importance of Oil Filters

Here are other reasons why oil filters are crucial in car engines. Other than the reasons mentioned above, here are additional factors that make them an integral part of every vehicle:

  • It Filters Dust, Debris, and Waste

Autos and vehicles may go through different kinds of roads. Rough roads and highways are a few examples of these.

Since there’s a possibility that the dust can crawl into an engine’s system through its oil, then it’s important to make sure an oil filter is clean as well.

  • It Keeps the Oil Where it Should Stay

Keeping the oil is not the only job for the oil filter. Its many parts work together so that the oil stays in the right place and at the right time.

Here are some areas where the oil filter distributes oil in car parts:

Tapping Plate

This is where oil enters and exits the oil filter. Through the tapping plate, the oil is being filtered.

It looks like a central hole surrounded by smaller holes. Oil goes through the smaller holes, through the filter, and flows to the engine.

Relief Valve

Motor oil becomes more viscous in cold conditions, especially when starting your engine. It will struggle to start up.

This is where the oil filter comes in. It discharges a small amount of unfiltered oil to give your engine a boost until it warms up.

Filter Material

The filter is made out of synthetic fibers that act as a sieve to collect all the grime and grit present in the oil. It is then folded into pleats to create a greater surface area for better filtering.

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End Discs

The end discs on both sides of the filler prevent unfiltered oil. It’s made out of metal or synthetic fiber, making the filtering process easier.

Anti-Drain Back Valve

This valve shuts off to prevent oil from coming back into the oil filter. It essentially stops filtered oil from coming back when the vehicle is not running to save more filtering material for oil that’s full of grime and dirt.

All these parts work together to distribute and give your engine filtered oil to help your engine stay healthy and perform better.

You don’t have to remember all of them, but it’s essential to know that you are familiar with each component.

  • Should Be Regularly Replaced

Like most car parts, the oil filter is most likely to be filthy. This means it requires regular change and cleaning to make sure it runs and works effectively as it used to.

If your car drove 3,000 miles – the recommended interval for oil changes –the oil has gone through the filter 12,000 times.

As a general rule, you’re recommended to change your oil filter whenever you change oil because when your oil is dirty and mucky, your oil filter must also be contaminated.

It can even expose your vehicle to low engine levels that significantly affect your car’s performance.

How To Remove An Oil Filter With A wrench

Like any other maintenance routine, you need to prepare certain things before performing any form of maintenance.

It would be best if you got the right tools first to be able to change your oil filter quickly and easily. These are the tools you’d typically find in car shops or your local hardware store.

Some of these items may not be common and require you to visit your local hardware store to acquire them.

However, if you plan on changing your oil filter at home, then here’s the complete list of things you need to prepare before changing your oil filter:

  • Oil Filter Wrench Set – The oil filter wrench set is one of the most crucial tools you need to begin your oil filter changing session. Without this, you will have a more challenging time removing the oil filter, or you may not even remove it at all.
  • Funnel The funnel is needed to ensure that your new oil will be placed into your engine in a much more organized manner. Without the funnel, you’ll struggle to put the new oil, make it messier, and even waste some motor oil.
  • Oil Collection Pan This is where the oil will be stored once you drain oil from your engine, the oil is going to be hot, so you need to be careful when removing the drain plug.
  • A New Oil Filter – The newer oil filter is also needed since you will be replacing the old one. The new oil filter must match your car’s specifications or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Clean Rags – Since you’re working with oil, you must have clean rags to use after cleaning up your environment and workspace. That way, you’ll replace your oil filter and be neat.
  • Safety Glasses – Safety should be your priority. Although the chance of getting oil in your eyes is low, you still have to wear safety glasses to avoid having the risk of getting your eyes irritated.
  • Work Gloves – Having work gloves will decrease your chances of having dirty hands. The oil may be hot if you’re trying to drain it right after turning on your vehicle. Make sure you’re going to use gloves so as not to end up burning your hand.
  • Hand Cleaner – Changing your oil filter will be a dirty job. Having a hand cleaner is handy so that you don’t have to experience having dirty hands all the time.

The things you have to prepare before changing your oil filter are mentioned above.

These are essential things you need to prepare so that your oil filter changing process will go as smoothly as possible.

Now that you have your tools and equipment, you must know how to change your oil filter.

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According to NapaFilters, you can try changing the oil filter when replacing new oil. These are the steps on how you can do it:

The video above is a tutorial video from Purolator Filters. They have arranged an in-depth but short tutorial on how you should change your oil and your oil filter simultaneously.

It takes less than five minutes, so make sure you watch it, or you can also follow the following steps:

Step 1

Pulling Out the Drain Plug

To change your oil filter, you first need to drain your engine of any oil. There will be no dirty/filthy oil left for your oil pan once a newer one is placed.

Make sure you put the oil pan at the bottom so all the old oil will be saved in one pan.

Step 2

Using an Oil Filter Wrench

Using an oil filter wrench, you can slowly remove the old oil filter and remove it by hand (if it becomes loose enough to be removed by hand).

There should be some oil still left on the filter, so be careful because it may be hot when you touch them.

Step 3

Putting in the New Oil Filter

The new oil filter should be evenly lined up with new oil around the gasket. Install it in its place with your hands and with your oil filter wrench.

Tighten it with an additional ¾ of a turn, but be sure not to overtight it so that it’ll be easier for you to remove it the next time you change your oil filter.

How To Remove An Oil Filter Without A wrench

Since there are different types of oil filter wrenches, you may struggle with how or what kind of tool you’ll need when removing the oil filter if you plan on changing it.

Since many tools are available, we’ll help you go through the common ones to be guided on each oil filter wrench.

Here are some of the tools you can use when removing the oil filter for faster and better oil filter changes:

TypeHow to Use ItAdvantages and Disadvantages
Cap-Type Oil Tool
  • The cap-type tool acts like a socket when removing the oil filter. It will be easier to remove the oil filter with a ratchet since it screws on tight without damaging the filter itself.
  • There is a wide variety of these cap-type oil filter wrenches. It’s easier to remove them since they fit on the oil filter cap perfectly.
  • They have a better grip and can cause less oil spillage since you have complete torque control.
  • Over time, you might have a slippage issue once the wrench loses its grip.
Three-Legged Tool
  • It has a self-gripping design and acts like a socket tool when used to remove the oil filters.
  • Strong enough to remove stubborn oil filters (if it’s stuck and hard to remove them by hand).
  • It’s a great filter claw for heavy-duty trucks since it has an excellent grip that’s both good for removing and installing oil filters.
  • They are cheap, but they are a good bang for the buck.
Chain System
  • Adjusting the chain system found on the oil filter wrench makes it easier for you to grip the oil filter itself.
  • Since it’s adjustable, it can be used for most oil filters, no matter what size.
  • This uses chains so that it can be adjusted. It risks damaging the oil filter cap, which is not good.

There are many more types of oil filter wrenches out there. The ones listed above are the common ones which are cheap but still very effective. If you’re looking for an oil filter wrench, consider choosing one option.

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Why Do you Have to Change the Oil Filter?

Why Do you Have to Change the Oil Filter?

Oil filters need to be changed so that the oil in your engine will stay clean and viscous. A clean oil filter removes any filthy thing that tries to enter your engine through the oil.

Your oil will not have any grime, grit, dirt, dust, and debris that can potentially harm the engine.

Oil filters NEED to remain clean for them to work effectively. Otherwise, it’s not going to filter any dirt at all and may expose your engine to:

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Low Engine Levels

Since there are fewer clean engine oils left, the dirty engine oil will be mucky and be full of grime which means it will not be as viscous as clean oil. This also means that the oil cannot travel to where it needs to be.

Dirty Engine Oil

Having dirty engine oil is a significant risk. If you never really change your oil filter, the dirty oil will remain in the engine for so long. Having dirty oil will damage the internal engine parts, which can cause a lot to repair.

Insufficient Cooling and Lubrication

Since engine oil helps with lubricating the engine, having dirty engine oil will only mean that it will never reduce friction when different parts come into contact.

This also means that you’ll have a hotter engine which can cause the car to be loud and shake more than usual.

According to RepairSmith, You should usually replace your oil filter every second to get your vehicle’s oil changed.

If you’re on a 3,000-mile oil-changing cycle, you’ll have to change your filter every 6,000 miles. Visit your car shop now to get your oil and oil filter changed when needed.

Ways On How You Can Avoid Using an Oil Filter Wrench

Oil filter wrenches are specifically made for using them on oil filters only. Using them differently on other things will damage the tool and may even be unusable anymore. Although most oil filter wrenches, here are some ways NOT to use them:

  • Don’t Use it for Removing Bolts

Since most oil filter wrenches are adjustable, you might think that it’s okay to use them for removing nuts and bolts. You NEVER use them on nuts and bolts but oil filters instead.

  • Fasten it Tightly Before Turning

If the oil filter wrench is not fastened tightly on the oil filter itself, it’s not going to grip the oil filter properly. Make sure it’s secured tightly to better grip the oil filter for installing it easier and faster.

  • Avoid Fastening it Tightly (When Installing)

When installing a new oil filter, you should NEVER over fasten the oil filter wrench as this can break the grips on the wrench itself or may even cause future slippage when trying to remove or install oil filters.

As long as you use the oil filter wrench as intended, you should do fine when installing and removing oil filters.

Otherwise, take your car to the car shop. Sure it might be pricey, but it’s better than doing it yourself and risking your broken oil filter.

Frequently Asked Questions Related To Oil Filter Wrenches

Is It Okay To Use A DIY Oil Filter Wrench?

Using a DIY oil filter is okay if it doesn’t damage the oil filter cap and has a good grip on the oil filter itself.

If you’re going to be the only one using it, it’ll be fine since you’re not going to be using it every day. It’s still recommended that you purchase one, especially if you’re working in a car shop and might be using this every day.

Can I Change My Oil Filter In a Car Shop?

It’s highly recommended to change your oil filter in a car shop where mechanics are trained to change, replace, or install a new oil filter.

Is Changing the Oil Filter on My Own Cheaper?

Changing the oil filter on your own is a LOT cheaper since you have to save costs on labor.

Changing it on your own also means that you’ll save a lot of time and money since you can do it right away, compared to mechanics in a car shop with many cars in the queue.

Are Oil Filter Wrenches Heavy Duty?

Oil filter wrenches work on every vehicle that requires an oil change. They are found on everything that needs oil for an engine to run smoothly.

It can be used on heavy-duty construction trucks or your average SUV vehicles.