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    Types of Oil Filter Removal Tools

    I know everyone that has worked on a car or truck sometime in their life has run across an oil filter that just did not want to come off. I always hated when I heard someone say this is the first oil change for this car. I do not know how they put the oil filters on a new car but I personally think it is a combination of glue and a ¾” impact gun. Then again, the car can be a couple of years old and be coming in for the first oil change. Yes, the oil light was on and the little service light has been on for a couple of years.  I am sure we have all heard if it was that important why didn’t it have a buzzer or send me a text. Here are some oil filter removal tools that are recommended for every tool box:

    First off - don’t be this guy. With all the choices on the market today you do not have to drive a screwdriver into the side of an oil filter to get it off. Yes, I know we have all done it.

    End cap oil filter wrench: They come in many different sizes and in some cases of a recessed oil filter, this is about all you can use. Unfortunately with a really stuck or odd shaped oil filter these are just going to spin. Also with some Fram filters that have the rubber easy to install end-coating these will not even fit. You just slip the correct size over the end of the filter and try to remember 'righty tighty - lefty loosy.'

    The end cap remover: It also comes in a 2 or 3 jaw universal style. These are supposed to tighten on the bottom of the oil filter and grow tighter the more you turn. In theory, these should take the place of having a dozen of the special sized end cap filter sockets. I know I have one of these somewhere in my home garage. It was given to me. After a couple of times of trying to use it I guess I really need to pass this on and chuckle after it leaves.

    The handled band-style oil filter wrench: Growing up this is all I ever remember having available. They now come with a swivel handle so you do not have to have 3 of the same with the handle cut off at different lengths.  In all honesty this is not a bad wrench unless the filter is welded onto the vehicle. I personally still use this style for changing the oil on my zero turns. Pretty simple to use. Slip in over the filter and turn. If it gets bigger flip it over and try it the other way. These will tighten down and remove most filters. If it starts slipping and can not get a bite on the filter you will have to go to a better method. Just having this style filter wrench is what has forced me to admit that yes, I have driven a screwdriver through a filter.  

    Filter pliers: These are now my go-to filter pliers and are actually in the top compartment of my service cart next to my lift. I have yet to have a filter I could not remove with them. Just do not plan on reusing the filter when you are done. In most cases these bite into the filter leaving four small dents. In the case of a welded on filter I have had these literally tear holes in the side of the filter. They will remove the filter or tear it to pieces in the process. These come in different sizes and also come with swivel handles. I am really thinking of liberating a nice swivel hand set out of the warehouse.

    We sell a lot of cloth strap wrenches for removing large oil filters as well as unscrewing the covers off of cartridge style filters. These also do a wonderful job of removing the normal filter without damage. You just slip the strap and turn until the slack is out. Then you can use a ratchet wrench or breaker bar to turn the filter/cover loose.

    Chain wrenches: These come with or without a handle. These are a cousin of the strap wrench but for that hard to remove filter. They will tighten down on the hardest to remove filter and literally crush the filter until it can get a strong enough bite to remove or to totally destroy the old filter.

    Sorry if I did not cover your favorite. In doing a few minutes of research to make sure I did not miss any methods, I came across several different styles of a rubber strap T-style wrench.  Then of course some manufacturers have to be special. I saw a key style for some Audi’s, Toyota also had a strange looking pin style. Then I just came across some that made me scratch my head. I saw a suction cup that grabbed the bottom of the filter. For fear of being sued I am not even going to give an opinion on the magnet one that stuck to bottom of the filter but also claimed that it would prevent dangerous metal shavings from being left in your engine block. I can see a magnetic oil drain plug. If you invented this please let me know how using a magnet on the bottom of an oil filter with the engine off will remove any metallic shavings that are not already stuck in the filter. If you have sold a few million of these you must be friends with the guy that invented the turbo air filter. I remember the infomercials when I was a young man and every car had a carburetor. This device went over the carb and was supposed to spin the air into the engine creating more horsepower and increased mileage.  Sorry, I got off on a tangent there! Hey once again, thanks for checking out my blog and as always happy wrenching!

    -- Fred

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