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The complete guide to oil filter removal tools

The importance of your oil filter is often underestimated, but it shouldn’t be. Your oil filter is essential for removing impurities from your engine oil that could potentially cause extensive and expensive damage to your engine. Most experts recommend replace your oil filter at the same time that you change your oil to prevent impurities from entering your engine and causing abrasive wear.

Removing the oil filter – choosing the right tool

Oil filters are smooth, cylindrical canisters with a knurling around the edge. They are difficult to grip, especially when they are oily and greasy. This makes it essential to use one of the different tools available to help remove it. Your choice of tool will depend on the filter size, the amount of room you have surrounding the filter and how tightly the filter is connected. At Garage Gurus, we recommend using a cap type tool, a three-leg tool, a chain system or a band wrench. Once you have loosened the oil filter by following the methods described below, it should be completely unscrewed by hand.

Cap type tool

A cap type tool has a metal or plastic cup (shaped like a socket) which is placed on the end of the filter and connects with the knurling. You can then use a socket wrench to loosen the filter. The cap type tool can be used on oil filters of different sizes.

Cap type tool

Three-leg tool

To use the three-leg tool, place it on the oil filter and then use a socket wrench to unscrew the oil filter. As the socket wrench is turned anticlockwise, the gears inside the three-leg tool clench harder onto the oil filter for easy removal. The three-leg tool can be used on a range of oil filter sizes and works well in confined spaces.

Three-leg tool clench

Chain system

The loop of the chain is placed around the filter and the bar is turned anticlockwise by hand until the chain wraps itself tightly around the filter. The bar is tightened further with a socket wrench to increase the tension in the chain. This digs into the soft metal casing of the oil filter, reducing the chance of slippage. The chain system can work on a variety of oil filter sizes and is good for oil filters that are extremely greasy.

Chain system oil

Band wrench

The band wrench uses a metal band, connected at both ends to a knob. The looped band is positioned around the filter and the knob is turned anticlockwise. This puts tension on the band, so it grips the filter for easy removal. Some band wrenches have an adjustable hinge to remove oil filters from complicated or tough spots. The band wrench can be used on a range of oil filter sizes.


Installing a new oil filter

Installing a new filter in your engine is a straightforward task. First of all, make sure the oil filter ring is clean and lubricate the oil filter ring seal. Then position the new oil filter and tighten it by hand.

Garage Gurus tips

Here are some tips from the Garage Gurus for removing or installing an oil filter:

  • Select the right removal tool for the job
  • Adjustable tools might not be able to remove a stuck oil filter
  • When choosing the removal tool, the position of the oil filter and the space around it are important
  • When installing an oil filter remember to lubricate the oil filter ring seal
  • Tighten the oil filter by hand when you replace it

Want to know more?

Interested in knowing more about oil filter removal tools? Or another engine maintenance job? Check out our online engine courses by registering in our e-learning platform for free or visit the Garage Gurus YouTube channel.

For informational purposes only. We are not liable for any damages resulting from your reliance on this content

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