How to Get a Stuck Oil Filter Off

Changing engine oil is one of the easiest service jobs you can carry out on your car, but at times the oil filter could get stuck and may seem impossible to remove.

The problem of an oil filter being stuck is more common than you may think and the first thing you need to know is to stay calm when this happens, as it is the best thing you could do.

Lucky for you, there are lots of things you could do to pull off an oil filter that is stuck. In this article, I would be teaching you how to get a stuck oil filter off your engine.

What is an Oil Filter?

An oil filter is usually a black cylinder-shaped part found on all vehicles and is designed to remove contaminants from engine oil and transmission oil.

Back in the day, some bikes do have their oil filters located inside their engines. It is usually always located on the bottom part of the engine and in most cases on the front end and the best way to access it is from the front of a car.

Usually, an oil filter should be replaced with every oil change. It may come together with the kits or you would have to make an additional purchase. Either way, always use oil filters that are recommended by the car manufacturer as it ensures the best filtration and safety.

Why Does an Oil Filter Get Stuck?

An oil filter could get stuck sometimes because of several reasons, which I would discuss some such as:

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1. Lack of Lubrication of the Rubber Seal

There are two reasons that make it very important for the rubber seal on the oil filter to be lubricated before mounting the filter.

The first reason is to make a much better seal between the housing and the oil filter, and the second reason is to be able to easily remove it when needed. By oiling the rubber seal, you will make it easier to be removed when needed.

2. Tightened Too Much

When you tighten the oil filter excessively, the rubber seal will eventually become a gasket that glues the oil filter to the housing making it very difficult to break that seal and remove the oil filter when needed.

Beginners usually make this mistake, but the ideal way to install an oil filter is by;

  • Oiling the rubber seal and making sure you will tighten it using your hands only.
  • You can further use a tool to fasten it tierce.

It won’t leak and it can be removed easily during the next Engine oil Change.

How to Remove a Stuck Oil Filter

Here are a few tested and trusted ways to remove stuck oil filters

1. Oil Filter Pliers Or Chain/Strap Method

The fastest and most conducive process to get rid of a stuck oil filter is by;

  • Warm up the engine
  • Spray the bottom of the filter with Rust removal (WD-40) before administering a wrench for the removal of the filter,
  • Wipe the filter with a rag and fit the cap wrench to the top of the filter
  • Then using a socket wrench, slowly turn the filter anti-clockwise to remove it.

However, there are other ways such as sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do the filter will start to crush before it twists off. If this is the case with you then the alternative to getting your filter off is on the next procedure.

2. Use a Screwdriver and a Hammer

This isn’t always easy; depending on the oil filter’s location, and also keep in mind that it is going to make a mess, you will also need to get a bowl to accumulate oil leakage from the filter.

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Simply hammer a long flathead screwdriver directly through the old oil filter and turn the screwdriver once it is completely through the oil filter, and there should be enough force to pull off the old filter.

Drive the screwdriver through as high as possible on the old filter, as this reduces the risk of the old filter shearing off.

If the above step doesn’t get rid of the oil filter then you can get a filter wrench and attach it around the filter then follow the next step.

3. Oil Filter Cap Wrench With WD-40 Method

This method could be used when the oil filter is difficult to grip or hard to locate. Depending on your choice of oil filter cap wrench.

The first type fits directly on the top of the oil filter, gripping the filter so that it can be loosened while the second type is used for paper oil filters that are found inside the oil filter.

  • Firstly, use the cap wrench to get rid of the head of the filter casing
  • Get the engine warmed up by driving the car around for some minutes, this will aid in easy filter removal
  • Then spray the base of the oil filter with some WD-40 to help to loosen it.
  • Wipe down the filter with a rag and fit the cap wrench to the top of the filter.
  • Slowly turn the filter anti-clockwise to remove using a socket wrench.

Useful Tips While Changing Your Oil Filter

1. Always use An Exact Fit Cap Wrench Filter Tool

Endeavor to get the exact fit for your oil filter, it’s the one that covers the whole without the need for any adjustment. Once your engine is warmed up with the help of a spray the oil filter won’t hesitate to come off

2. Do not over-Tighten The New Oil Filter

It’s not advised to use a tool while fitting a new oil filter. make sure you use your hand to tighten oil filters at first installation.

If it’s in a tight space and you can’t get access with your hand then only use the tool to give it one final quarter turn and then you are done.

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3. Always Warm The Engine Before Starting

Try warming up the engine each time before changing it as this will not only make the oil flow out easier but can help to break the seal between the oil filter and the engine block.

4. Soak The Base Of The Oil Filter With Penetrant Spray

Make sure you soak oil into the rust remover solution before you embark on using any of the above methods to remove it.


The below video will show you three ways you can successfully remove a stuck oil filter.

Stuck Oil Filter FAQs

Q: Can I Change the Oil Without Changing the Oil Filter?

Yes, it is possible for you to make this type of oil change, but it is not recommended. As earlier mentioned, this could cause the oil filter to be clogged over time, thereby reducing the ability to filter the oil. As this happens, the oil will be returned to the engine with dirt and metal particles, which can damage the engine.

Q: How Do I Turn an Oil Filter to Loosen It?

You will have to twist it counterclockwise and this applies to all oil filters regardless of the type, size, and vehicle. You’ve to turn to the left to tighten an oil filter while making use of the recommended wrench cup.


getting rid of a stuck oil filter can be time-consuming especially if you don’t have a suitable tool for it. But if you do have it, then you will need just a couple of minutes to be done with it.

Remember, an oil filter should be replaced each time you change the oil because it is the most affordable maintenance that has a huge effect on the engine of your car as it reduces damage and ensures that your car lasts longer.

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