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How to Remove A Stuck Oil Filter? Simple Tricks

How to Remove A Stuck Oil Filter? Simple Tricks

If you're looking for “how to remove a stuck oil filter?” You can use one of the following approaches:

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


  1. The screwdriver approach
  2. The band wrench approach
  3. Warming up the engine approach
  4. Lubricating the oil filter using WD40 approach
  5. Consulting a mechanic

Changing your vehicle's oil filter is one of the essential maintenance that you must perform regularly. Many drivers prefer to replace their oil filter and change the oil themselves without going to a professional so they can save on labor costs. However, what happens when things don't go the right way?!

One of the very common issues that some inexperienced car drivers might encounter is dealing with a stuck oil filter. What happens is that whenever they try to get the old oil filter out, they cannot, no matter how much effort they spend.

The good news is that removing a stuck oil filter is not a complicated job, and when this happens to you, you should not panic because we will provide you with simple ways to resolve the issue in this article. We will highlight some of the common methods to remove a stuck oil filter using simple tools that you might already have.

What is the oil filter, and what does it do?

Before we dive into the details about “how to remove a stuck oil filter?” We must highlight the main purpose of the oil filter in your vehicle. As the name suggests, the oil filter is responsible for filtering the engine oil and prevent any contaminants or debris from making their way to the engine.

Without an oil filter, larger debris and contaminants can't damage the engine and reduce its efficiency. Therefore, maintaining a clean, fresh oil filter is essential to prevent dealing with significant issues that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road, especially those related to an overheated engine.

Over time of use, the oil filter gets clogged either partially or completely. Therefore, whenever you perform an oil change, experts recommend changing the oil filter and installing a new one. Installing a new air filter is not a complicated job, and it's something you can do by yourself without needing a professional.

How to remove a stuck oil filter?

Although it's not super hard to change oil or install a new filter, many inexperienced drivers might deal with situations where they cannot get out the old oil filter because the filter gets stuck. When that happens, you need to take immediate action and remove the stuck oil filter using one of the following approaches:

  1. The screwdriver approach

The most straightforward method to get rid of this stuck oil filter is using a thin screwdriver. Insert the screwdriver in the area between their engine block and the gasket. Then, allow the screwdriver to go around the oil filter gasket, which loosened the filter slightly.

If you tried this approach and it didn't work, you might want to use the screwdriver and insert it inside the filter itself. Once you have it secured, you can wrench it away and take the oil filter out. Keep in mind that this approach is a little messy because it will damage the old oil filter and might cause oil spilling around the area. That's why you should have a bucket or a container to collect any spills and a dry cloth towel and wipe off all impacted areas.

The other thing to consider is that when you take the oil filter this way, the method does not guarantee that you will take out the metal ring, and you might need to re-use the screwdriver again to get rid of it.

  1. The band wrench approach

The second approach is using a specific band wrench. All you must do is tighten the range around the oil filter and secure it to force it away. Some experts recommend using sandpaper between the wrench and the oil filter to reduce friction and make it easier for you to get out of the stuck oil filter.

Remember that sometimes this band ranch approach doesn't work, which means that you might want to try other types of wrenches than the metal one. For example, you might want to try synthetic material strap wrenches or probably rubber wrenches.

  1. Warming up the engine approach

Sometimes you don't even need to use any of the mentioned methods to get rid of an old oil filter. For example, some drivers sounded effective in warming up the engine and allowed oil to get a little hotter, so it loosens the old oil filter and helps you get rid of it easily.

  1. Lubricating the oil filter using a WD40 approach

You can also try using a WD40 to lubricate the area around the oil filter. This way, it can be slightly easier to wrench out the oil filter using the screwdriver or the band wrench or probably using your hand without any tool. But, of course, this approach might not be the best, especially if the old oil filter is stuck badly.

  1. Consulting your mechanic

If none of the mentioned methods worked for you, your only one resort is to reach out to your professional mechanic and have him perform a quick inspection to see what he can do to get rid of these stuck oil filters. Mechanics should have previous experience with a similar situation because it's very common, so it shouldn't take them much time and effort to remove the oil filter without causing any big trouble.

Why do filters get stuck?

Understanding the main reasons for stuck oil filters is extremely important because it helps you prevent the situation from happening in the first place. According to experts, most oil filters get stuck because of insulation issues.

For example, if you or an inexperienced mechanic changed the last oil filter, you might cause challenges to the next oil filter replacement. In other words, if you overtighten the previous old filter, you can easily get it stuck. Furthermore, if you did not thoroughly lubricate the old oil filter, getting it out the next time gets extremely challenging.

Therefore, experts recommend that you understand exactly how much you should tighten the new oil filter and lubricate it before installing it.

Is hand tightening and oil filter enough?

Yes! The oil filter doesn't need to be extremely tight. You can use your hands to tighten it to a certain point where it's enough. However, some experts indicated that using certain tools to overtighten the oil filter might cause issues in the future, including a stuck oil filter. These issues might give you many headaches and make the oil filter replacement very challenging.

Do I need to change the oil filter every time?

Not necessarily. Some experts recommend that you perform an oil filter replacement every other time you do an oil change. Although some drivers prefer to change the oil filter every time, they do an oil change, it's unnecessary.

For example, if you perform an oil change once every 3000 miles, consider replacing the oil filter once every 6000 miles. Similarly, if you're driving a modern vehicle, you might not need to change the oil filter after 12,000 miles, if not more, especially if you're using synthetic oil.

Can you remove the oil filter without draining oil?

Of course! Changing the oil filter doesn't necessarily need to drain the entire oil in the vehicle. For example, you might lose up to half a quart of oil but not the entire oil in your engine. However, this assumption is valid only if you're doing the oil filter replacement properly and have the right skill sets to do it without causing any issues to the other components.

That's why if you're not 100% comfortable about changing the oil filter, it is recommended that you leave it to professionals, so you don't deal with another unnecessary headache.

What happens if you don't change your oil filter?

As we indicated earlier, the oil filter prevents any contaminants or debris from getting into the engine. Imagine if you don't change this oil filter for a long time? This filter gets clogged and prevents oil from reaching the engine with the right amount.

When the engine does not receive the proper amount of lubrication using the right quantity of oil, there is a very high chance that you'll deal with engine overheating, which could damage the entire engine and cost you thousands of dollars.

What happens if you overtighten your oil filter?

Over tightening the oil filter is never a good idea because it leads to various negative consequences. For example, if you tighten it more than a certain threshold, there's a very high chance that you could either stripe the threading or break the o-ring.

Furthermore, over-tightening the oil filter might lead to getting the oil filter stuck in the housing, making it challenging to replace it in the next sign.

How do you know if your oil filter is bad?

Although we indicated that you don't need to replace an oil filter every time you perform an oil change, you must keep your eye on symptoms indicating that your vehicle is due for oil filter replacement. These symptoms include:

  • Significant reduction in your vehicle's overall performance due to improper lubrication
  • Problems with the engine sputtering
  • Weird noises coming from the engine
  • Warning lights like a low oil pressure on the dashboard
  • The weird smoke color coming out of the tailpipe

Keep in mind that some of these symptoms might be linked to a different issue, which means that you cannot immediately say it's a bad oil filter just because there is a check engine light or there is a weird smoke color coming out of the tailpipe here, therefore, whenever you notice any of the symptoms, you must perform a thorough inspection and have your mechanic confirmed the problem before spending any money or performing any action.

How much does it cost to change an oil filter?

If you are worried about dealing with a stuck oil filter, you might want to leave it to professionals and perform an oil change along with an auto filter replacement at a dealership or an independent shop. Typically, changing the oil filter should cost you somewhere between $35 and $75. This range might not be accurate if you're driving a more modern car, especially when you get the job done at a dealership.

Conclusion

Changing the oil filter is essential maintenance that you must regularly perform, so you don't have to deal with significant engine damages. Unfortunately, while changing the oil filter is not a complicated job, removing an old oil filter can be challenging, especially if the old oil filter is stuck.

Luckily, there are simple methods that you can try to remove a stuck oil filter without causing major issues. For example, you might want to use a small screwdriver or probably the band wrench method highlighted in detail in this article.

If your vehicle has other major mechanical problems that have to do with the engine or probably the transmission, it might not be worth your time and effort in getting rid of this stuck oil filter. Instead, you need to evaluate whether it's worth selling your car and using its value towards a better vehicle.

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