How to deal with that stuck oil filter

It can be a demoralizing experience.  You have drained the oil and the oil filter is hanging on like a leech.  It won’t come off.

The best way to fix this is not to have it happen in the first place.  You can remember to put oil on the gasket and hand tighten the spin on filter just enough to seal it.  It might be best to use silicone grease instead of oil on the gasket, but now that doesn’t matter because the dam thing is stuck.

One method is to drive a large screwdriver through the side of the filter and lever it around.  This will work, but it leaves a huge mess and often totally destroys the filter leaving only the base attached.  Then you stick the screw driver in the small holes around the threaded center hole and with a hammer drive off the base of the filter.

Meanwhile your arms, clothes, the ground are covered with old motor oil.

Here are a few things to try before you resort to the screwdriver method.

Remember that the filter is not stuck on the threads.  It is stuck on the compressed gasket between the filter and the block.  If you can break that bond the filter will spin free easily.  So take a single edge razor blade and work it between the gasket and the block and slide it all the way around the gasket.  You might need to use a thin screwdriver instead, but be careful.  You don’t want to scar up the machined surface that the oil filter gasket presses against.

There are also many fine tools for wrenching off a spin-on oil filter.  One tried and true tool is the band wrench.  Some are made with a wide metal band that tightens against the filter’s canister as force is applied.  You might have to put some sandpaper in between the band and the filter can to get enough friction.  When using band wrenches be sure to have them as close to the base of the filter as you can because there is less risk of crushing the canister there.  Another kind of band wrench uses something other than metal, sometimes a sythetic fabric or rubber-like material.  These may give you a better grip than the metal band wrenches, but often they are awkward in tight spaces.

Another very effective tool looks like a big pliers with a round jaw.  This give a great grip and should also be used at the base of the filter.  Its drawback is that there may not be clearance in some engines.

My favorite is the K&N oil filter that has a “nut” on the base of the filter for a 25mm (or 1 inch) wrench.  It is a high quality filter that is easy to remove.

When you install a spin on oil filter be sure to lubricate the gasket surface and don’t over tighten.  It doesn’t take much to seal the gasket and the pressures are not so great that they will blow the seal (although in cold weather with a high pressure oil pump I’ve seen it happen).

There is always the screwdriver method.



If you read down the long list of comments that people have added over time – look for the one where Tom had a tough time with the screw on filter that was stuck on the engine of his 3000 GT.  Here are photos of the mess and the tool he used to get himself out of the mess.

buggered up

tool pic 2

tool pic 1

This entry was posted in Automobiles, Care and Feeding, Cars, Garages, Life and Cars, Servicing Cars and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

359 Responses to How to deal with that stuck oil filter

  1. lotsofish says:

    I’ve used the screwdriver method several times. 🙂

    • Adi says:

      Thank You all very much!

      This forum has helped me fix my nightmare. On my Sentra and since I’ve been doing oil changes (approx 3 years) this was the first stuck oil filter. I have bought a filter grip that goes on the end of the filter and onto which you could use a ratchet but due to the awkward position it is located, every time I would try, it would slip. I then read this forum an a bunch of you mentioned tape and sand paper, having neither I used the Blue Mechanic Paper towel, I hammered the oil grip onto filter with the paper in between and then i was able to use the ratchet, that did the trick. 2 Days, for something that normally takes me 15 minutes. thanks for the ideas.

      • P says:

        Thanks for the advice.. I fought one for about a hour, then read your comment about using sandpaper.. worked great…

      • Terry says:

        Goo gone worked like magic!!!! After two hours of struggling. Goo gone worked in 5 minutes with just a little elbow grease to help

    • c.bass says:

      Just buy a small 4.5 oz.squirt can of( goof off adhesive remover) at Walmart paint section for $3 bucks and squirt some around the rim of filter it will seep onto the rubber gasket and you can very easily unscrew even the tightest filter immediately .In the future rub clean oil on the new gasket and only hand tighten the new filter .normally filter should be tightened only about one half turn more after the gasket makes snug contact with motor.

      • jay says:

        Goo Gone worked like a charm in minutes. After struggling for hours employing mechanical means to try and loosen the filter, your recommendation was a gift. Thank you!

      • PJ says:

        Amazing, the goo gone worked like a charm in 15 minutes!!! 2012 6.7 cummins

      • TJ says:

        Another thumbs up for the Goo Gone! Just before resorting to the screwdriver method, tried the Goo Gone and it came right off!

      • Mark B says:

        A combination of the goo gone and hitting it first in the tightening direction worked wonders. Before that a couple of hours wasted trying everything else. Thanks.

      • bogie says:

        I couldn’t get my nozzle of the goo gone to the base of the filter, so I tried penetrating oil from an aerosol. figured it’d be the same principle, and after 4 hours of trying to chisel / muscle it off swearing like a sailor during the entirety, that stuff loosened it in 15 minutes. Thank god for the internet.

    • After buying 2 different filter wrenches and a strap wrench – none of which worked at all, I used the screwdriver method (Which, I thought about doing right away, but didn’t know of that was a good idea or not. Could’ve saved myself 2 hours of frustration and some money if I went with my instincts)
      Anyway – I got that sucker off w a screwdriver. First time in 25 yrs of changing oil that I have encountered a filter that was stuck to that degree. Now I know better for next time.

      Thank you for posting this article Jim. Very informative.

    • Viktor says:

      Plumber wrench of proper size always worked for me.

    • Marte Marty says:

      Depending on the position of the oil filter I wouldn’t use the screwdriver method.
      I would only if the filters base is pointing upwards.
      If the filter is horizontal or base down I theorise that if you put a screwdriver thru it, you are letting a lot of the oil & crud you filtered out of the engine, directly back into the engine.

      I have just spend hours getting one off, with a cold Chisel, and ended up breaking the aluminium housing that’s bolted onto the engine right where the threaded tube goes into it.
      Ok, I’m lucky to had a spare car for parts…
      But, I’m getting a large cup socket that fits over the end of the hex end filter, and those filters, from now on.

      Thats my ‘DIPSHIT’ theory in practise.
      ” Do It Properly, Saves Hassle In Time “.

      • Kendall Gifford says:

        On the cup type filter removers, you need to be careful because different filters take a different size cup, even for the same application. So if you take off a Fram and use a Wix which in my opinion is the best filter bar none, it may not fit the cup that took off the Fram. BTW, Wix is sold by NAPA under their brand NAPA Gold.

  2. Tim says:

    I used the screwdriver method and it did not work. The filter ring stayed on, but I crushed the filter. I could not get the rest of the filter off and I ended up breaking the whole thing off of the motor. So, what do you suggest for this problem?

  3. Jim says:

    Tim –

    I gather that you finally did get it off. If you did not then hopefully there is enough room to use a hammer and screw driver or drift and – using the drain back holes – drive the threaded flange off.

    In the future you can try coating the gasket with synthetic grease also known as spark plug boot release. The part that really gets stuck is not the threads so much as the flat rubber gasket. Try the K&N oil filter as it has a nice nut on the bottom that REALLY makes it easy to remove the filter. If you cannot find a K&N, and the filter is stuck again, try to get a single edge razor blade between the gasket and the engine block. That should break the seal.

    Also be careful how tight you get the filter when you put on a new one. Snug should be fine. You can start up the engine and check to be sure it is not leaking, but often it is easy to over tighten the spin on filter.

    Good luck. Let me know how it goes.


    • DVB says:

      Jim – Thanks for the advice of the razor! I tried two filter pliers and bent a screw driver before reading your advice. My 1989 Saab 900 hadn’t had an oil change in awhile but will from now on! Thanks!

      • Valerie says:

        Husband+ boat+ oil filter. Found Jim’s advice for him just as the filter was reaching “abliterated” stage. The razor blade worked!

  4. Mark says:

    Had this happen to me this weekend on a 2006 Accord that has never had the filter changed.

    Used wonder bar to chisel away the oil filter near the base. Crude, but it cuts very efficiently.

    I tried using a screwdriver on the small holes around the base. But it just kept slipping off and deforming the hole.

    Instead, a cheap ~24″ bar clamp worked very well. (Sanded off the rivets so that the moveable clamp came off. The remaining arm was a great handhold while hammering the filter off. It took some heavy bloes to get it off.)

    Before this i tried a chain wrench, the red handed pliers shown above, and sticking a screwdriver through it. No luck with any of these.

    • irenio says:

      haha i hammered my screwdriver through the middle then used a huge nail to coninuously hammer in and slightly turn it for about 20 or maybe 30 mins lol but it got the job done with the cost of a HUGE MESS lmao

  5. Mike says:

    I just finished my first oil change on my recent purchase of a F-250, 7.3 PowerStroke. I first tried to use a chain wrench near the base but this only punctured a hole in the filter without budging it a bit. I purchased a nylon strap type tool from Advance Auto Parts. This is nothing more than a wide nylon strap attached to a square tube that accepts a half-inch ratchet. I used this in conjunction with a 24″ pipe as a breaker bar. This finally broke the filter free. Only drawback is you have to hold the tube before you ratchet back for another stroke. A happy ending to a very frustrating job.

  6. Allan says:

    And when all else fails — use an air hammer. I tried the wrench, a special tool, the screw drive, and then the air hammer. What is left of the oil filter is now a collector’s item.

    • Hot says:

      Allan is a genius. It’s what I had to resort to also. Fought with the damn thing for about 12 hours. Forgot I owned an air hammer. I had it off in less than 10 minutes.

  7. Stephen says:

    Then there’s always the dealership’s $29.95 oil-change special… let someone else fight with the darn thing in the first place.

    • Leonard says:

      Good luck !! That’s what the wife did. Grease monkey left half of the old filter casket on leading to a rapid loss of oil on a road trip. DON”T TRUST CLOWNS TO CHANGE YOUR OIL !!!! It’s the blood of the engine

  8. Tim Supples says:

    Screwdriver has always worked for me. The only time I didn’t use that when it was stuck, is on the first oil change of my Goat. I really didn’t want to drive a screwdriver through my aluminum oil pan, so I went and got a band-type filter wrench. But I always lubricate the gasket and hand-tighten, stupid factory filters must be tightened to a few hundred ft-lbs or something.

  9. Allan says:

    Stephen: I had two expert mechanics working with me from my motorcycle club. The estimated cost if it had been taken to a motorcycle shop was about $150 for the time the mechanic would have taken. Besides, the look on my wife’s face at the state of the garage was almost priceless. I had to talk her out of calling the Environmental Protection Agency.

  10. Great post! I’ll probably blog something similar later. Should I Use Synthetic Motor Oil

  11. brandon says:

    i have never had any trouble until this weekend. i have a 2000 dodge ram 1500. i have tried the screw driver and the razor blade but nothing seems to work.

  12. jimsgarage says:

    Well Brandon, if you have had to resort to the screw driver then you may just have to resort to the messy method. That being that the screw driver will rip apart the case so that you can then drive off the bottom part of the oil filter using the drain back holes.

  13. Jim Swindle says:

    The filter was stuck tight on my new car. I finally succeeded by doing all of the following:
    1. Jack it up to get a better grip.
    2. Clean the filter with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel.
    3. Put double-stick carpet tape around the filter.
    4. Take a band-style oil filter wrench.
    5. Wrap some strips of shelf-lining around some of the wrench’s band. (The shelf lining is the sort that is some sort of mesh dipped in a colored foam plastic.)
    6. Use the band wrench to remove the filter.

    (I’d tried most all of these steps individually without success. Adding the double-stick tape did the trick for me.)

    • Norm says:

      This was extremely helpful. I have a 2006 Dodge Stratus, and I had the car up and wheel off. Had to remove the dirt guard to get better leverage, but once the filter began to collapse, I thought I was doomed. Sprayed WD-40 around the seal and ran a razor blade around it. I got the double-sided carpet tape and used small guaze strips from a first-aid kit in place of the shelf lining paper. The tape helped fill in the collapsing filter, and the guaze allowed me to get a dry grip. The filter finally began to move and eventually I had it off without it becoming entirely annihilated.

    • Marlon " says:

      Thanks so much. This worked with just the double sided tape after.

  14. jimsgarage says:

    Nice job. That was quite a solution!


  15. Bob says:

    I’ve been changing my oil on my Jeep for years and yesterday was the first time I got a stuck filter. I was using the big pliers type removal tool which eventually destroyed the filter. I then removed the chewed up filter body with some cutters and was left with just the base. I then used needle nose pliers as a spanner wrench (the filter base has a bunch of holes in a circle) I put the tips of the jaws in opposing holes spanning the center and then put a big screwdriver between the jaws for leverage. That did the trick. If this happens again I think I’ll try the razor blade idea first.

    • chris says:

      thanks bob,it worked great. didnt know what to do next. thanks again

    • Formerly frustrated says:

      Bob, you’re a genius. I just had my first run in with a stubborn filter. Tore it in half, tried a strap, channel locks, screwdriver and hammer on the holes on the inside, nothing. The needle nose worked perfect!.. Thanks!

      • grs says:

        Yup…The needle nose pliers and spanner did the trick! Longest oil change of my life came to an end…Thanks for the help!!

  16. Arlos says:

    Yesterday was the second time in my life changing an oil filter that was STUCK, both times on a vehicle I’d purchased, so someone else changed it previous. I searched for something new but resorted to the screw driver & chisel method. Because of the position of the filter base I could not get it off with a chisel. My new solution:

    After letting this sit for a day, I was directly under the filter looking up, measuring where I needed to position some pins in a spanner socket type of tool I was going to fabricate, when I noticed that the standpipe the filter screws onto had an allen inside it. This was on a 4.3 vortec, but I’m sure there are other engines that use this also. I unscrewed it, tapped the filter base, unscrewed the standpipe from the base, and; screwed it back into the block.

    I hope this helps someone else

    • ron says:

      I have the same engine. Going to try this.

      • chris says:

        i had the same problem with the same engine and after finally getting through the filter I was able to find the same and it worked like a charm

    • Steven says:

      7 years and 1 month later and this post from Arlos is still helping people with stuck filters, I was scared when I crushed it but when I read this about the 4.3 engine, I layed into it with snips and got to that allen, awesome helpful site!!

  17. jimsgarage says:

    Nice job Arlos. This is a great tip if you’ve had to break the filter apart.

  18. David says:

    I could only razor about a third of the rubber gasket because of the stupid layout of the 2008 Sable. The oil filter comes straight downwards at the bottom of the engine, and is surrounded by parts. Gluing coarse sandpaper inside my strap wrench was helpful, but not enough. Driving an awl diagonally upwards into the bottommost part of the side wall of the filter let me use the awl handle to rotate it about a quarter turn. It was still tight, but at that point, the strap wrench could just rotate the filter one turn more. Then, blessedly, I could finally unscrew it by hand-over six hours after I first tried!
    Thank you for the tips that ultimately ended my ordeal.

  19. Patrick says:

    I had a filter that was stuck on my 87 Electra Glide… I used the screw driver method. It will tear the filter but was slowly moving it. Eventually you have to stab a new hole and keep working it! Finally I got it off.

  20. Sean Horan says:

    Hey, I just wanted to say thank you for the razor blade method–I think that combination of stripping away some of the rubber and a stronger friend was what finally ended a good 2 hours of struggling with it and the available knickknacks in these spartan living quarters …

    I have a 2002 Tacoma with the 3.4L V6 (5VZ-FE). The oil filter is not at all easy to get to. It’s installed drain hole side up behind the alternator and then there’s about 2mm of clearance between it and some other part of the engine. The available space and leverage makes it much easier to screw on than off.

    I tried using a rubber strap wrench a couple changes ago and found that my biggest issue was fitting the handle in there. Similarly, the heads of a couple oil wrenches I’ve seen at Checker seem a bit too big. The razor blade method certainly works but in the future I was curious if maybe one of you could recommend a specific something to get the filter off in exceptionally claustrophobic situations?

  21. jimsgarage says:

    Sean –

    I still highly recommend the K&N filters with their unique “bolt head” on the end of the filter. A 1″ (25mm) wrench and its off.


  22. LEO says:

    J.C. Whitney has a filter wrench, that is adjustable to any filter. It comes in two types of sizes. Cost is around $12.00. You can use a socket wrench on it and it has gotten me out of several filter problems!

  23. Peter says:

    You may also want to try tapping the filter using a long piece of wood and a hammer. This helped me out with my truck which has zero clearance to use any of the above mentioned tools or techniques.

  24. Jim says:

    Ok, I am going to try the razer blade trick. I have been changing oil an filters in my vehicles for 50 years and have never had one as stuck as this one on my 800 cc m/c. I have tried every wrench that I could find in the parts store. The last one was a strap wrench that I had to add tape to the inside to get to get tight enough to not slip. I then hooked up a ratchet tie down strap to the end of the filter wrench and started ratcheting. I stopped when I thought the front wheel of the the m/c was going to come off the ground. I am going to try the ratchet again and leave it tight while I use the razer blade knife. If it still doesn’t move I will try whacking it with something while I still have the pressure on it. If that doesnt work I might try epoxy glueing on one of the filter end wrenchs to the filter and taking the front wheel off and using a impact wrench. Any other ideas?

  25. Pingback: » Don’t Overtighten Your Oil Filter

  26. michael t says:

    Here is one idea: superglue
    That’s right, use it liberally on your socket type oil filter wrench (the solid metal/plastic piece that fits on the end of the filter), wait a few minutes and whammo!!!
    That piece is on solid. You should not need an air wrench, hammering, razors or other potentialy dangerous ideas. Watch your hand when it frees however, the metal around the filter is always a bashing hazard.
    Metal filter sockets are best cause I’m sure the weak link here is the part where the socket wrench goes in.
    Thank you and good luck

    • Wish I had read this before destroying the filter!! I bought one of the new plastic cup-style wrenches, but it kept rising off the filter with lots of torque. I’ll have to remember the super-glue and double-sided tape tricks before resorting to brute force methods. Thanks everyone!

  27. Dan Czarniak says:

    I gave up on the big screwdriver a few hours ago. I was leaning on it (so to speak) so hard that I thought it might break. I also have a big coolant hose right next the filter. The idea of punching more holes in the filter, in addition to possibly ending up with rough edged metal gave me the creeps.

    The solution: Big metal C-clamp.

    I found one that fit in the space available – all you need is enough room to turn the filter a little bit. I barely had room for 1/8 of a turn. I just kept tightening the C-clamp until there was no way that it was going to come loose.

    The beauty of it:
    1. the metal on the clamp effectively bites into the filter. It’s not going to slip.
    2. a big clamp will go onto the filter and still have a good length of threads left over – ‘outside’ of the clamp.

    There’s your leverage.

    • Terry says:

      Thanks for the C-clamp tip – worked like a charm! After clamping, I protected the screw threads with a piece of rubber, then was able to loosen it with a hammer. Many thanks.

    • Capt Cozmoh says:

      I used the C-clamp method with a combination wrench for added leverage. On the first attempt the filter broke loose!

      Thanks Dan Czarniak and Jim’s garage!

    • aaronymous Fink says:

      Fantastic .. the large C-clamp is the one thing that FINALLY helped me to break the seal and very simply and smoothly twirl this little demon off! THANKS to all who contributed here!

  28. Peter says:

    I just tried the big C clamp method and it worked for me after hammer and razor blade did nothing. I had to go about 1/30 of a turn at a time for half a turn but it worked out. I’m glad I didnt go straight from the screw driver method to tearing it apart. I’m never going by Jiffy Lube again, the one time I go for the convenience…

  29. Ken says:

    I’m going to do my first oil change on my motorhome. Ford V10 6.8L engine. I’m a bit worried about getting the filter off with a metal band wrench.
    What’s the worst that might happen if I can’t get it off and leave it on? Besides slightly contaminating the new old with a little old oil?

  30. jimsgarage says:

    Ken –

    It depends upon how many miles are on the current filter. Typically a motor home engine has to deal with a lot of heat and stress. This may or may not mean more contamination. That depends upon the type of oil used (synthetic?) and how much time it spends sitting. Non-synthetic oil tends to get acidic when it is left sitting in the engine often due to condensation of water in the block itself.

    The best thing is to get it off and put a new one on, but you know that all ready. See if you can take it off and put a replacement on – it wil have to be done sometime.


  31. Adam says:

    Exactly like my oil filter, I AM STUCK.

    I have read over your bit on how to deal with a stuck oil filter and everyone’s comments and I think it’s safe to say that I am stuck. I don’t know where to go from here. Please help, I am very frustrated.

  32. Adam says:

    Ok, allow me to let you in on what I’ve done so far.

    First, I tried every kind of filter wrench from the strap to the chain to the cup. I then tried a pair of channel locks. After none of that worked, I tried the razor blade method. Nothing. I then tried the screwdriver method. Nothing.

    Now that I had a big hole through the filter and oil everywhere, I decided to just cut the whole bottom half of the can off. I had the bottom of the can cut off and I found a threaded piece in the center surrounded by 6 little holes. Because of the angle I had, I used a mirror and a flashlight to look up in the center threaded piece for a 3/8 opening or a spot for an allen wrench. There was nothing in there. So then I took a screw driver and a hammer to one of the 6 holes to try and unscrew it that way. Nothing.

    I am very stuck and very frustrated because time is running short and I have to go back to work on Friday. This was supposed to be a very routine oil change! Please help!!!

  33. jimsgarage says:

    Adam –

    I think you are close. You should be able to use the holes that are in the mounting surface of what’s left of the oil filter just as you described. Be sure you are turning it in the left or counter clockwise direction.


  34. Dano says:

    Thanks for your help. I had the filter stuck on a Suzuki 400 Eiger ATV. Note much room to get your hand in there and turn the filter wrench. So I took a little bit of everyones advise and it worked. First I tried the razor, couldn’t get my hand in there to cut. Next I sprayed Wd-40 penitrating oil on the outside of the gasket. You guys kept saying to put oil or grease on the gasket when you install the new one, so I thought if I can get a little in there maybe it will come loose. I then took a piece of wood and hammer and tapped the filter around trying to creat space for the penitrating oil to get in. Next I took paint thinner and put it on a rag and wipped off the excess wd-40 on the outside the filter. I then wrapped sandpaper around the filter, put the strap wrench back on, gave it a good hard push and it came loose. Thanks everyone. I’ve been working on it for 2.5 hrs. Took a break to get some ideas and it worked. Thanks again!!

    Note, the filter actually said when putting on the filter, once the filter gasket is seated, turn the filter tight 2 more turns using a filter wrench. This was my friends 4-wheeler that I borrowed last weekend. No wonder I couldn’t get the filter off. I will only hand tighten this time.

  35. Keith says:

    I just had to do the screwdriver method on my 98 Nissan Altima and I’ve got to tell you – use a philips screwdriver. Put a small hole, let the filter drain. No mess :D.

    And surprisingly, the new filter actually doesn’t leak when hand-tightened. I figured it would. So I’m going to do that from now on.

    Thanks guys!

  36. jimsgarage says:

    Nice going Keith!

  37. kc says:

    Okay I have a huge problem. It was supposed to be a simple oil change and turned into a disaster. I tried unscrewing the filter by hand for a while, using a rag , sandpaper n that didn’t work. I tried 3 different kinds of filter wrenches, none worked. Then I sprayed wd40 which did nothing, then tried the razor and then resorted to the screwdriver. This just made my problem 10 times worse. It just ripped a huge whole thru the filter, so I had to tear the rest of the filter from the top part. There’s only about a inch left of the filter that is still screwed on. I’ve tried to chizzle away but there’s really not enough room to hammer. I have no idea what to do, I see the holes that were mentioned before, on the inside of the filter, but don’t know what to do, is there any hope? I have to get to work the rest of next week and I am driving back to PA from NC next Friday… HELP PLEASE

  38. jimsgarage says:

    I understand your frustration, but do your best to relax and examine your situation. Get a pair of Vice-Grip pliers and clamp on to what’s left of the filter housing as close to the base as possible. Use it for leverage and try to spin the base off. Remember to go counter-clockwise (to the left). You may be able to stick some needle nose pliers in the holes that are in the screw on base and then put another wrench on the handles to spin off the base.

    Good luck and let us know what solves this for you.

  39. jimsgarage says:

    Folks –


    Always hand tighten and it doesn’t take much to tighten. A half turn after the gasket has contacted the surface is a LOT.


  40. Dan says:

    Visegrip actually makes a tool which is perfect for removing oil filters. It’s very similar to the red-handled picture shown above (which by the way, work well), but of course locks like a Visegrip. Once you’ve got a good grasp on it (possibly crushing it a little), you can always put a pipe on the end. Trust me, it will come off.

    I personally am very hesitant to use a screw driver. If the oil filter is stuck on, and intact, the vehicle is still operational, if stuck on with a hole through it, your vehicle isn’t moving under its own power until fixed.

  41. jimsgarage says:

    I could not agree more Dan. Thanks again for your comments.


  42. matt says:

    Help! I have a stuck oil filter that has been completely ruined. I am down to the base with the eight drain holes and I still can’t get it to budge. Can I remove the bolt from the engine block with a hex or allen wrench type tool? If so, could this cause a problem with it coming off in future oil changes? Any ideas on what to use in the drain holes in the base (already tried screwdriver and hammer with no luck)? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  43. jimsgarage says:

    Matt –

    Not sure what car and engine we are talking about here, but you have to take your time with this. Remember – you don’t have to turn the filter base a quarter turn in order to loosen it, just moving it a quarter of an inch will be progress. Depending upon your access try to drive the base around by the holes again. Use something shorter to hold against the holes – it will give you a better angle to drive at.If you are under the car it is easy to lose your orientation and drive it in the wrong direction. Make sure you are going counter clockwise with the base. On some engines the hollow center bolt can be removed with an allen wrench, but not all. Remove it as a last resort since you will likely damage it if you have to use Vice-Grips to turn it.

  44. Noel says:

    Time for some desperate measures. Is the filter mounted directly to the engine block or on some type of mounting flange? If it’s a flange can you remove the flange? Then work on it on a bench? Or just replace the flange and put on a new filter.

    If you decide to remove the hollow bolt, check to see how it’s held on. Is it just screwed into the block or mounting flange or retained with an allen screw?. The screw-in ones are usually pretty tight, but I’ve had two cars, a VW and an Exploder, on which they would often come off with the filter. Go figure.

    If it’s the screwed on type, you might be able to get a couple of nuts to go on the hollow bolt. Put one on a few turns, then the other. The second one would stop against the first one. Then use two wrenches to tighten them against each other, then use a wrench on the first nut (the innermost one) to turn it against the second (outer) one, which wouldn’t move. This approach doesn’t always work, but you may get lucky. The amount of clearance you have will partly determine if this approach is possible.

    Next level of aggression is a monkey wrench, which will more effective for removing the bolt than vice grips. A monkey wrench grips tighter the more pressure you put on it and is longer so has more leverage than ViseGrips. But it will totally bugger the threads on the bolt and will deform the bolt.

    Next (and MUCH more desperately) is a cold chisel on the remaining lip of the filter. This is last because you don’t want to gouge the edge of the mounting surface for the filter when the chisel slips (note I said when, not if.) Hit this from underneath the filter at an angle. Consider a heavier hammer. I use a brass-headed one that weighs about 2 pounds and delivers a nice solid blow to anything that refuses to move. BEFORE you do this, look to see whether the filter mounts directly to the engine block or to a steel or aluminum flange that bolts to the engine. The impact can damage the mounting flange, so as I noted above, if the filter mounts to some other removable part it may be better just to replace that part and be done with this.

    And like Jim says, be sure you are turning counter-clockwise. Good luck.

  45. jerry says:

    Had a tough time getting my new Subaru’s filter the first time. Ended up using a small length of bicycle chain looped around the filter and held tight with vice grips. ( I measured the amount of loop on the new filter and then sliped it over the stuck one and twisted the vice grip with another wrench. It worked. Hope this helps.

  46. Jim's Sister says:

    I find it astounding that an item on a car which has to be changed on a regular basis would be so poorly designed that one would have to take vice grips and a bicycle chain to it in order to take it off. Forget better milage, more leg room or a sexy, sleek exterior, somebody is going to make millions coming up with a better system than this!

  47. Noel says:

    Nah, it’s no biggie. Oil filters are very seldom stuck on, in my experience. But then I change all my own oil, and I always lube the gasket and don’t over tighten the filter.

    This is like wheels getting stuck to the hub due to corrosion, which is not uncommon in northern states. A little prevention is all it takes to avoid the issue.

  48. Jon says:

    Just a quick question. When I finished changing my oil, I cleaning up when I noticed that the old filter was gasket-less. Apparently, the gasket was still on when I put the new filter on. (Since I have to do this mostly by feel, I didn’t notice it.) Do you have a suggestion on how to get the old gasket off without damaging where it sits?

  49. jimsgarage says:

    Jon –

    It should not be a big deal to get the old gasket off the oil filter flange. You should thank your lucky stars that you noticed that the old one didn’t come off with the filter. Too many times this has happened to people and when they installed the new filter they ended up with stacked gaskets. When they started up their car and tried to drive the gaskets blew out and oil pumped everywhere.

    It should not take much to remove the old gasket, just a little help from a small screw driver should do it. The flange is not usually made of metal that is so soft that it will be damaged. The new gasket will conform to any small variations in the surface of the flange.

    Instead of coating the new oil filter gasket with oil I’ve had very good luck using a light coating of dialectric grease, the kind you would coat spark plug boots with.

    Thanks for the question.


  50. Jon says:


    Thanks for the quick reply to my question! Two quick follow-ups — I noticed that the gasket was stuck prior to starting the car. As long as I don’t start it, what are my chances that that the filter I just put is still void of any oil.

    Also, I assume that I shouldn’t try and reuse the new filter that I just put on, and spring for another new one…correct?

    Thanks again!

  51. jimsgarage says:

    Jon –

    Since you haven’t started the engine, just unscrew the filter, remove the old gasket, make sure the gasket on the new filter is OK, and reinstall. Re-using the new filter should not be a problem.

    If your filter is mounted facing with the hole up, or close to it, you can fill the new filter with oil prior to installing it. That allows you to prime the system instead of having a filter’s worth of air being pumped around the first time you start.

    Hope that helps.


  52. Rachel says:

    Problem: Shredded oil filter that won’t budge.

    I ended up removing what was left of the shredded metal with pliers. I then put a screw driver in one of the six holes and tried hammering on it, but still it wouldn’t budge. The razor blade sounded like a good idea but my filter is at too awkward of an angle.

    Finally the solution: I used a drill to make a hole where the gasket is and finally relived the pressure on the seal. Then I used the screw driver and the hammer method again and it finally started turning.

  53. Yvette says:

    had to deal with a few stuck oil filters from jiffy lube and dealerships yesterday. it was a mess and tedious – i am wondering if you know of any tools to remove an oil filter mess free?

  54. jimsgarage says:

    Yvette –

    Well Harbor Freight ( has a set of fluted cups that will fit the bottom of many oil filters and then all it takes is a 3/8 drive socket wrench to remove them.

    For particularly stubborn ones I have found the oil filter pliers (in the photo above) to work very well. The only restriction is how and where the oil filter is mounted. If you can choose the filter in the first place I would recommend the K&N oil filters as they come with a 1″ hex on the bottom that makes it very easy to remove.

    Hope that helps.


  55. louis says:

    Well today i was doing a routine oil change on my wife’s jeep Cherokee 2001, for the first time i had a filter stuck on me, apparently she took it to walmart when i was out of town to get an oil change, first the sockets oil socket had “glued sealant on it” which took me a wapping 30 mins to remove, then my favorite, the oil filter, it did not budge, for almost 4 hours of wrestling it would not move, broke 3 tools, and finally resorted to the screwdriver method, guess what?! that method didn’t work either, so now i am stuck with only the filter shell, and the base around it, with it being empty any ideas on what i should do next?

    if you need me to take picture ill be more than happy to.. i am wonder if i use pliers and remove the scraps and then use needle pliers to grab the base and move it? but i am not sure… HELP!

    thank you for any kind of help.

  56. jimsgarage says:

    Louis you have my sympathy. I sounds like someonw really tightened the oil filterhard when they put it on. The thing has compressed against the gasket and the pressure won’t allow it to unscrew. If there is any room for you to get something between the gasket and the filter that will allow you to pull out some of the gasket material that will help a lot. In any case you now need to use the holes in what is left of the base to drive what is left off. Some times a hammer and a screw driver can be used to turn the filter base enough. It only has to move about 1/4 a turn to be free, but the angle you have to work from could make that a long 1/4 turn. Your idea of needle nose pliers is a good one. The trick will be to get enough grip on the pliers. I bet that filter is really on there. That is why I would try to find a way to remove the gasket from under the base if you can. Otherwise carefully use a hammer and a drift or screw driver to get that to move and unscrew. Just be certain you are going counter clockwise. It is easy to get that mixed if you are working upside down.
    Also read some comments of people above – you are not alone.


  57. louis says:


    Thank you for the info, today i did move it a little bit maybe 1/4 of an inch still not budging, but its better than nothing, ill keep on trying with the screw driver and hammer method, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel, hopefully i will have good new tomorrow.

    Thank you for the fast response, ill keep everyone posted:)

  58. Cami says:

    Thanx Jim for the handy tips…the screw driver trick loosened the filter right up. It was funny though because my boyfriend was out in the garage trying to get the filter loose for at least an hour. Then I told him to try the screw driver and hammer method and it came right undone. He was slow to admit he should have let me help sooner. Lol! Thank you.

  59. carpet cover says:

    I faced this today…thanks for all the tips. What I ended up doing was removing an extra underpanel so I could get a better angle and more leverage on a simple strap wrench that I was using. After some persuasion, I finally got it off.

    FWIW, I’ve tried the screwdriver approach before and absolutely mangled a filter. When they don’t want to come off, they really don’t want to come off and the only way I’ve managed is to get something around the filter at its base that I can really lean on. Otherwise you just shred the cannister.

  60. louis says:

    YAY! after 16 hours plus i finally destroyed that filter… all pure man power!! i actually ended up grabbing the base of the filter and bending it and breaking it in half, 🙂

    guess none of the methods worked till mine..


    • Nathan says:

      Did you just grab it with visegrips to bend it and snap it off because I’m in the same boat you were in two months ago without access to many tools and can’t afford to take it into the shop. The filter has been torn away to the base with one side pried up 1/4 inch. I even took a torch to it and still nothing?

  61. jimsgarage says:

    Louis –

    Fantastic news. We are all delighted at your achievement. Now, have you given any thought to preventing this in the future?

    I now put spark plug boot release grease on my oil filter gaskets and am careful not to over tighten.

    Best of luck in the future.


  62. louis says:

    yes in the future i wont be lazy and actually do my wife’s oil change on time, but i will try to do the spark park grease as well, thanks

  63. Alex says:

    HELP!!!! My husband has been trying for 6 hours to get the oil filter off of my 06 Dodge Ram 1500. He’s tried all the methods above to try and get the little bit of filter that is attached to the screw and it won’t budge… any suggestions will help. He tried the screwdriver, which left a million pieces shreaded on the ground, then the razor nothing is working.

  64. Solomon says:

    I spent the last 5 hours trying to remove the oil filter from my Aprilia Atlantic 500…guess what? the filter won (for today anyway!). I am left with the base of the filter – the rest doesnt exist anymore….my problem is that due to the stupid layout of the engine block, I cannot use a razor. I will try a needle nosed plier at the holes around the centre of the filter base…everything has to be a mission with this scooter…

  65. jimsgarage says:

    Alex –

    You should be able to grab what is left of the filter with a large Channel Lock type of pliers. All of those engines have the filter at about a 40 degree angle toward the front of the block and there should be plenty of the filter base to grab on to.

    Otherwise you may have to try to grab on to the hollow threaded piece that the filter screws on to. You have to be careful because it will likely be ruined if you damage the threads.

    Good luck,


  66. Solomon says:

    here I am again, the oil filter (or what is left of it) is still winning this…Jim I need your HELP!!!
    This is a scooter oil filter, facing the ground and surrounded by the engine block so I cannot get to the gasket and try the razor trick. In the whole process I am now left with the base of the filter.
    I tried the needle pliers and used a large screwdriver for leverage. Result? bent screwdrive. I then used a hammer instead of the screwdriver. Result? broke needle pliers…I also tried hammering the holes (anti-clockwise) with a screwdriver, but again no success….after a total of 8 hours, I honestly dont know what to do anymore…it has not moved a single bit..looks like they hired King Kong to put the filter on!

    Any help/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

  67. jimsgarage says:

    Soloman –

    I am probably close to being as frustrated as you are at this point. I have been racking my brain to think of something that will allow you some type of success. As a last resort I would use a butane torch to burn away the gasket under what is left of the filter base. BUT BE VERY CAREFUL!!!! Have a fire extinguisher by your side when you do this and DON”T get the flame ANTWHERE near fuel lines or oil lines.
    Remember, this is a last resort approach. If you see ANY possibility of starting a fire or melting the body work DON’T use this method and instead take the scooter to a local mechanic.

    Let us know…


    • Nathan says:

      I tried the torch until the filter stopped smoking assuming all the gasket had burned away but still nothing. There must still be gasket pieces left somehow but I had the propane torch on it for a good 20 minutes. This whole process has super frustrating. Always so close to success but yet never achieving it.

      • Nathan says:

        Finally got it. I had to peel the whole filter back with vice grips and a screwdriver. I almost couldn’t believe it when the filter actually started to turn. Never Again!

  68. Alex says:


    What a good thread – excellent.

    I started off with the screwdriver method. I have very little room for leverage. i have put approx 3 holes in it and made maybe 1.5turns. the last hole i put in the filter was so deep that i actually got no turn. I can barely get a hold on the filter, i’m not that far from it being loose so that i can turn with my hand but a lack of manouvrability had hindered me so far.

    Any idea’s?

    Thanks Jim

  69. jimsgarage says:

    Alex –

    Sounds like you are almost there. Just take a break and relax a bit then give it another try. It shouldn’t give any more problem as you are very close to having loosened it.


  70. Paul from Canada says:

    Just got done doing an oil change on my new Dodge Ram 2009 — Couldnt get the Oil filter off to save mylife.. But after about an hour I decided to use a and awl and puncture the filter it would turn about a 1/4 turn. Made several Awl punctures and eventually was able to get the filter off.

    Just my thoughts and hopefully it will help someone else.


  71. Matt says:

    I have a 1995 Aerostar, and I’m trying to change the oil. From what I understand, the oil hasn’t been changed in many years. I got the oil out of the oil pan, but my filter is completely stuck. I tried using a screw driver and I just got oil all over my hands and face. I tried putting WD40 around the top of the filter, and it still didn’t work. I can’t really drive it to a mechanic now, since the filter is busted, and I can’t unscrew this damn thing. It’ so stuck on there that the car moves when I try to turn it!! I have an oil filter tool, but it just gets in the way and makes it all worse. I don’t have a lot of tools, and I’m not too familiar with fixing cars, as I’m only 16. My dad is too afraid to get under the car and help me, so I’m completely screwed. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  72. jimsgarage says:

    Matt –

    I hope you have it up on jack stands. No fooling.

    This is going to be a test of your stamina and patience. In other words this will not be easy and will take time, BUT it can be done.

    The base of the oil filter has small holes in it that you can use a screw driver and a hammer to spin it off with. You may have to remove more of the metal casing to get to them.

    It will take a while to get the base to turn off the big hollow screw. Just make certain you are spinning it in the right direction, counter clockwise.

    If there is any way you can get a single edge razor blade under the gasket to free it from the engine it sometimes helps, too.

    Good luck,


  73. geoff says:

    tried the chain wrench .no good kept slipping off. then tried the new halfords pliers type tool. no good. reverted to the good old screw driver , a bit messy but it worked

  74. domingo says:

    Thanks for this post, I’ve been studying it for days. I have a stuck filter that is down to the rim (gasket on and still screwed on). I have tried all the methods here and am prepared to use a drill or Dremel to cut the rim between the flowback holes to separate the threaded section from the gasket section. I figure this will allow me to determine whether the gasket is sealed or it is threaded too tight.

    Is this a dangerous thing to do? I understand there will be sparks from either procedure but feel that it would be safe. The vehicle is a diesel.

    Thanks, D

  75. jimsgarage says:

    D –

    The dangerous part is all the metal shavings that you will create that might get into the engine. Try to get a single edge razor blade under the gasket to break the seal, if you can. otherwise find one of those large oil filter pliers (like in photo above) and get the thing to turn.
    Always make sure you are going in the right direction since you may be at an odd angle when trying to undo this filter.

    Let us know…


  76. JP2000Audi says:

    Wow, I am glad to see that this has happen to so many other people. After years of changing my own oil I took it to a shop, now wanting to changing it myself again it seems that have tightened it too much. I have tried everything except cutting it off. Is this my only solution. The filter is quite mangled and I see no other way to get it off. I have been able to turn it several times with a wrench, but it doesn’t seem to be coming off at all. Any suggestions?

  77. Oil filter breakdown says:

    For the first time in over 30 years of changing my own oil, I experienced an oil filter breakdown. My doctor expects a full recovery, provided I stay in bed, on my tranquilizers, and away from cars.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions posted here. They saved me from having to kill my truck.

    91 Chevy 1500 5.7/4WD- the filter felt like it had been welded on. After trying different oil wrenches, vice grips, channel locks, sandpaper, carpet tape, super glue, razor blades with W-D 40, and, of course- the beloved screwdriver, Beer was also involved. I finaly got it off. Beer was also involved.

  78. Oil filter breakdown says:

    I forgot to mention that after eight hours of being cramped under it, I put the front end up on jack stands. The extra room really helped.

    I also drilled a hole for a 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ bolt with 1″ washers on on each side. This minimized crushing the canister, and gave solid points for gripping.

  79. Robert says:

    *Modified swivel oil filter wrench*…After waiting 3000 miles out the dealership to perform oil change on my wife’s 08′ Dodge Caliber I was unable to take it off by hand, so I decided to buy oil filter swivel wrench@ Autozone. Well it started to crush the filter, here’s how I got creative: Cut several strips of Duct Tape rougly 6″ long each, and wraped 3 strips each on 3 sides of clamp & about 2 strips in between each. This really helped give it a tight, grip, firm all around the AC Adelco filter (clamped it on bottom ridges of filter)…finally came off, but not easily still needed to pull hard on lever but with no messiness as I really didn’t want to cut or drive screwdriver into it. I checked online for ideas when I was getting no where, and did not find this method posted, so hopefully this will find someone to be helpfull.

  80. Jason says:

    The large c-clamp did the trick for me.

  81. Niagra says:

    Thank You ‘Jim’s Garage’!! I had the car jacked up, oil drained, and couldn’t get that dang filter off. The band wrench I had didn’t close tight enough around the filter and closing the gap with a shop towel didn’t work. Space was limited so I really couldn’t (nor did I want to) do the screwdriver trick. I had never heard about the razor blade trick before. Thank You for that little tid bit, it worked like a charm.

  82. Jason#2 says:

    Thanks Jim’s Garage.

    2001 Tacoma, oil filter just would not budge. Wasted 2 hours trying to get it removed from a very tight spot.

    I used the razor method & finally got the filter removed. Tacoma owners should approach from the right front side wheel well instead of approaching from below. This site saved me some neck soreness & dizzyness. Total time for removal was 15 minutes slowly working razor around filter base.

    Thanks again

  83. Very Fustrated says:

    I have a 98 Saturn SC2 and my husband was changing the oil on it, and he got to the oil filter part and it is not budging. He riped it apart to nothing but the very base of the filter. WE HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING possiable the hammer and screw driver the razor blade we have tried everything mentioned on this thread it just will not move or anything! Is there anything else we can possiably try? I have a friend coming into town in a couple days and without my car we are stuck here… Please Help

  84. Kevin says:

    Well I’ve got the filter removed…or at least most of it! The important part is still attached though. After fighting with this thing for at least 2 hours, I had to take a break or I was going to start throwing tools. Tomorrow, I will try the needle nose pliers in the holes idea. Wish me luck…

  85. Kevin says:

    Nothing mentioned here worked. We ended up making a tool from a one inch, 1/2″ drive socket…we welded some studs on to the top of it that fit into the holes in the base of the oil filter, and still couldn’t get enough leverage on it….used a 2 foot long piece of pipe to finally get it loose. Unbelievable. I cannot figure out how somebody could put a filter on so tight without knowing that they did so.

  86. Pingback: Can't get oil filter off? - Forums

  87. wyojeff says:

    I am beyond stuck. I have been at this for around 5 hours, and have 2 trips to the hardware store under my belt. I have tried the metal band wrench (to no avail) the wrench that snaps into the socket wrench, and I have poked a hole through the filter with a screwdriver, and i have also take a razor blade around approximately 80% of the edge (i cant get into the other portion because my hand is too big). I am nearing the point where im just going to cut the bottom portion of the filter off, but I have one problem. Due to the location of my oil filter, and the ease to which I can get to the engine drain plug, i did not put the car up on ramps. If i cut the bottom of the filter off, I most likely will not be able to see the top. I have gotten a large 14″ pipe wrench as well, and that has not worked either.
    Any suggestions?

  88. jimsgarage says:

    Jeff –

    This sounds like a nightmare. What engine and vehicle is this on?
    You might be able to get a hacksaw blade under the bottom of the filter and cut away the gasket that way. Just be careful and work it around slowly. The idea is not to saw through the middle, just remove the black rubber gasket.

    Let us know how this turns out and anything you learn.


  89. tom says:

    i am beyond frustrated with this problem i have a 92 Mitsubishi gt and after trying everything to get me oil filter off i have it down to the base only i have used chisels punches screwdrivers everything i can think of ,I’m afraid i have probably damaged something under the filter metal base cut with chisel in several places but i still cant get it off . i was going to try to buy a special tool tomorrow but not sure if that will even work i hammered on the base with that chisel for an hour and it didn’t budge at all please help

  90. jimsgarage says:

    Probably the hardest thing to do at this point is to NOT let your frustrations get the best of the situation. With what you have described it might be your best alternative to have the car towed to a professional. There is no point in doing it yourself if your only alternative is to damage the filter mount.

  91. tom says:

    well i have good news i got it off without damaging the mount and withoput torches and other dangerous items . the only bad part is with all the hammering chiseling ets i did ewnd up with a gash on my nose from the filter wrench flying off and sa gash in my cheek from the chisel i was using . i drive for UPS and onn my route theres a valvoline instant oil change the manager pretty nice guy i showed him pics of what i was dealing with and even though he said i probably damaged the mount with my chisel he let me borrow a tool that worked perfectly it is a spring loaded tool that grabs ahold of the ring at the top of where filtwer used to be and you put a 3/8 drive ratchet in it and when you pull the ratchet it tightend against the ring and after a few pretty strong pulls it loosened up a tiny bit and i about screamed hooray . i was getting worried i would have to do something drastic and this car is not your avarage car its 1 92 3000gt custom built with single turbo thanksa for all the suggestions from everyone and esspecuially you jim for this great venue for us stuck mechanics lol i wish you could post piocs on here because this tool was vwer helpful and i have pics of it tom

  92. rob says:

    I just wanted to give you guys a huge thumbs-up and hearty “thank you” from the guy who spent 7 hours doing an oil-change today.

    I started at 11am and it’s now 6pm.

    My stories sounds much like the rest of yours… With multiple (3 different) oil-filter wrenches, which didn’t work worth a damn and just ended up crushing the filter, then I tried hammering a screwdriver through the filter in an attemp to twist it off.

    No go.

    I was left with a gaping hole in the filter and nothing seemed to work. I tried a pipe-wrench (which had worked successfully on my motorcycle) and that just crushed the filter even more.

    I tried chains, wraps, and plain old brute force and I was almost in tears. By far the most frustating experience of this mans life.

    I came across this website and got a couple of great ideas! The razorblade idea was absolutely impossible to impliment in my situation, so I decided to take a pair of tin-snips to the oil filter and completely rip it to pieces – that didn’t work so well either.

    In the end, I used a crowbar to literally mangle the oil filter into pieces on the shop floor, and then I used a piece of reebar (sharpened to a fine point) jammed into the oil return holes and a sledgehammer with about 12 swings to sucessfully remove my oil filter.

    It sounds gruesome. And it was. But the car (and I) thank you very much for your advice! It’s running great! There was no damage done to the mounting surface and valves are now quiet and enjoying the fresh oil.

    The old filter must have been screwed on by He-Man and it was leaking oil because the o-ring had bunched up. It’s nice to have a job done right!

    Thanks again.

  93. wyojeff says:

    Thanks for the reply. The change was a nightmare on my 1984 saab, but I have the following advice:
    Make sure you’re turning the right way — I read the manual and turned the filter in the direction specified. Only problem is the manual was assuming I was under the car, and I was not. So, before I got it loosened, I tightened it some.
    I tried the following things – the expandable metal wrench that tightens around as you turn. It did not work at first, then I got one of the oil filter wrenches that go on a 3/8th drive — That didnt work either. (at this point, i would have been alot of money ahead going to jiffylube)
    I finally tried the screw driver trick, and that didnt work. So, once I had mangled the filter with the screw driver, I tried to get a pair of channel lock pliers around it, but I couldnt get enough of a grip on the filter. I decided it was pipe wrench time, and used that, to no avail. I gave up for the day, returned in the morning with some new ideas.
    I tried the razor blade trick, and it seemed to get some stuff out, so I went online and looked for more tricks, and found what ended up being the ace in the hole – WD40.
    I sprayed a bit of it on the seal between the filter and the mount, and worked around with the razor blade. Finally I went back to my original metal expanding wrench, put some sand paper (fine grained, the coarse grained did not seem to work as well) on the side of the filter, extended my leverage with a 2′ pvc pipe, and finally got some movement!
    After a few more of those, It was off and I was feeling good.
    I hope this will help the next person that comes looking for a solution to this problem.

  94. Les says:

    look i try everything to get oil filter off it wouldn’t come off should i take the rest of the
    the filter off and leave the base of the filter
    on and what can i do to get off

  95. rob wilson says:

    Cutting out the seal between filter and engine worked a treat. I cut what I could just by shovong a pen knife around the seal then with a bit of man power forced it off by hand.

    Suggestion appreciated – What a feeling when it comes off!!!

  96. Max says:

    Purolator oil filters have a sandy surface and a nut fitting on the end. They are apparently top-notch filters with the best reviews I could find. I got them on at a darn good price with free shipping since I bought more than $30 worth of stuff. Can’t beat that, and no more stuck filters. I can’t see why filters aren’t all made with the nut fitting worked into their mold design. I guess it makes them less sexy-looking? I’ll use those Purolators or K&N from now on. If I plan ahead and buy those in clusters, it’s not much more expensive than FRAM filters or cheapos.

  97. Max says:

    also Kudos to the poster who tried WD-40. Penetrating lubricant… duh! of course…

  98. Mihai says:

    My first oil change… too bad it had to be with a stuck filter and oil plug. I bought a used motorcycle and every single screw on it is a pain to deal with, probably some corrosion related issue. Some advice others might find helpful. For the oil plug, if it doesn’t come off easily don’t go for the pliers/grips, you risk damaging it and then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. What worked for me, a 6 side socket wrench and a three foot pipe for leverage. Came off very easily, tried WD40 and liquid wrench before with no result.
    For the filter, don’t go straight through or you might damage the hollow screw threads. If it is hard to get to the filter is helps to put the motorcycle on the side.
    Thanks for all suggestions on this website.

  99. Ray says:

    Punched a hole in the filter with a screwdriver. Then used needlenose vise grips to turn the filter.

  100. Alex says:

    I got my 2002 Ford Explorer about 2 months ago and am doing the first oil change on it. Well I drained the oil and found out that the stupid dealership screwed on the filter way to tight. Well I went to Pep-Boys and bought a “spider-type” oil filter wrench. they said it would fit on most of the oil filters. Well one problem. Ford put the oil filter in the most retarded place a cmpany can put it. It is between 2 big metal parts and over a metal pole. So my tools cant even get close to it. Well I put the old oil back in and called the dealership and they said they will get it off so they have to deal with the damn thing.

  101. Toby says:

    Another data point:
    FYI: this oil filter was attached courtesy of the dealership I bought the (used) car from, giving me a service to remember them by. Bastards. (They also tightened the spark plugs so hard I broke nearly every one of them to get them out, necessitating sucking the pieces of porcelain out with a straw. But that’s another story.)

    I managed to get my oil filter loose after about 8-10 hours (over 2 days). I tried gripping really hard with my hands first. I had bought one of those oil filter sockets that use seat belt material in combination with a half inch ratchet. Since I didn’t have a half inch ratchet, I tried the screwdriver method. Screwdriver bent. Tried a small crowbar. Didn’t budge, except made the hole bigger and got oil all over me (face and hair). Sprayed lots of locktite type stuff, that didn’t work. Sprayed some wd-40 as per this thread. Left it.

    The next day, I bought the proper ratchet, determined to try and use what was remaining of the oil filter before giving up and going to town and try and cut the thing off.

    I broke the end off a box-cutters to use in lieu of a razor. I cut at the gasket where I could get access.

    I used ethanol based hand cleaner to remove the oil. I used the new filter to measure some non-slip matting, cut to the circumference. I attached it to the old filter with the aid of duct tape. I then used the ratchet and oil filter socket.

    Still no go. Was gripping, but not turning. I went out and bought a bit of pipe to give the ratchet more leverage. Finally it started twisting, and I got it off. Hooray! Hope this helps someone. Good luck, and curses to all mechanics who overtighten things that they don’t need to.

  102. Alex says:

    I finally got mine off after 3 days of trying. What i did was get extensions for the socket wrench and used the spider like wrench and i hit the socket wrench with a hammer and it loosened it enough for me to finally twist it off.

  103. David says:

    Finally got the filter off of a 2000 Ducati 996. Took 3 days and trips to 5 different stores and bike shops. The Original filter was on bike for 10years and was seized on solid. After breaking the first wrench we started looking on the web for some tips and found this site!!! Thanks for all the good advice. We used pretty much all of it. I’ll tell you what my friend and I did to get this stubborn filter off.

    The Filter was only showing about 1/3 out of the bottom of the bike so it was difficult to get anything other than a band type wrench around it. I tried 4 different cup styles and non seemed to fit the filter right even though the Ducati dealer sold us a nice metal one that was suppose to fit. Also the plier type wrench started to deform the filter and we got scared that we were going to punch through it. There was no way we wanted to use the screw-driver method as it probably would have made it even worse.

    The key was after breaking two band wrenches was “Liquid Wrench Penetrating Fluid” Sold in a small spray can for 4 bucks…this was sprayed on and left sit for a few hours and then reapplied. I think that this got in under the seal between the seal and the filter itself as there is enough of a ledge for the fluid to sit on and soak in. Anyways once the filter did come off the gasket seal was left on the bike and had come off the filter.

    What many of you probably know is the main trick is to get that old rubber seal to slide on the surface of the block. Its the traction of the rubber that is holding the filter from rotating. Cutting with a razor wasnt possible for us as we could only see the bottom 1/3 of the filter.

    The other thing that we were going to have to do is buy the best quality band wrench money can buy. After breaking 2 of them I can tell you that they are not all made equal. The 3rd one we tried was another cheapie from Walmart which we used as we couldnt find a quality one. It was only the penetrating fluid that kept this one from snapping…it was a close call.

    Recommendations: Top quality tools and Penetrating fluid. And lots of patients. We were told twice by bike dealers to just punch a screw driver into the filter. I’m sure now that that would have totally screwed us. Good luck to everyone with this frustrating problem and thanks for the great help…

  104. richard says:

    my situation is similar to all those above. started a simple oil change, drained the oil no problem. then the nightmare started. the hint was in the oil cap above….it took heman strength to loosen it…..that was the hint that the oil filter was on way to tight as well. tried oil filter pliers, but the oil filter was slippery and ended up crushing it. since it was crushed, but not punctured, i punctured it with a screwdriver and hammer and drained the oil. then tried to lodge the screwdriver all the way thru horizontally for leverage. then i tried to turn the filter. all that did was the shred the filter. so then i used plier cutters to remove all of the filter except for the base. thried drilling a larger hole in the base to get a screwdriver in and use a hammer. but given angle i was hitting it like a girl…..did not work. gave up at 8 hours and went to bed. i am going to try the razor blade method, wd40, and the plier in holes method. then if successful, i know who changed my oil last and give him a verbal thrashing, and also cant these filter makers make a product that is easy to change? is it that hard in this day and age?

  105. ss says:

    What would cause an oil filter to build up enough pressure to blow off?

  106. jimsgarage says:

    The short answer is nothing normal. The longer answer is a screw-on filter won’t “blow off” as much as it would separate at the weakest part which is likely the seam where the can is crimped on to the screw-on part. Some filter manufactureres list the burst pressure on their box and believe me you would have to have something terribly wrong to blow a modern spin-on filter casing. Even more likely is that a loose filer would blow past the gasket. In some cases I have seen where an old filter is taken off and the old gasket stays stuck to the engine. When the new filter is screwed on the now doubled gasket is going to fail under normal oil pressure.


  107. Steve says:

    I tried everything on my jeep GC… I have aftermarket headers, and because of that its nearly impossible to fit any tools in there to help with this process.. after mangling the filter completely, and failing to get it off with wither a filter cup tool or a strap… I decided to follow someone’s advice on here and use the drill on the gasket.

    Worked like a charm and didn’t mar the mating surface.

    This is my first oil change since putting on the long tube headers, and I suspect they are contributing to the problem – they hug the block and sit pretty close to the filter. I never had this issue before, and always use lithium grease instead of oil on the gasket.. and it was still baked on terribly.. I may have to place some heat shielding in the appropriate areas.

    • jimsgarage says:

      Steve –

      Sounds like you really had a struggle. I think you are right on the money as regards heat shielding. I would also use dialectric grease instead of lithium.

      Good job with the filter.


  108. Matt Shaw says:

    This advice is great! I had a ford van, and I just stuck a screw driver in it and it twisted right off! Now I have an older camry, and it has the oil filter right under the hood. Comes right off every time!

  109. Mike says:

    After starting to cave in my old filter with my filter wrench and about 15 minutes of effort, I hit the ol’ google machine and stumbled across this page. The C-clamp worked great for me! Had it off in about 2 minutes(had to reposition the clamp as I ran out of clearance). The filter was demolished, obviously, but no big mess like using the screw driver(which I have done before). Thanks!

  110. Charlie says:

    Man this save me life. got a oil filter stuck on a 1990 s-10. tried the screwdriver idea and just tore the crap outa it. So we ripped off enough of the filer to get to the holes in the top as several people mentioned, and used a pair of 8″ needle nose pliers and a long handed screw driver run through the handle of the plies to break it loose.

  111. Jim's sister says:

    Somebody ought to send this page to the auto manufacturers!

  112. joel says:

    Hello Everyone.
    I just become a astronaut for the weekend removing a stuck oil filter. I now know how it feel working out in space. all the facts are all ready in front of you. no need to blame yourself. First the Oring of the filter was binded on the seals. what you need to do is break it with a flat screw driver. This Ring on top of the filter had sealed it. this is the cause of tighness. Then use a corner chisel to drive the top part of the filter. use a ballpin hammer. slowly drive with chisel. Reverse direction. I got this at a harbor frieght.keep on take some time until you twist the remaining parts.

  113. Jose says:

    thank you for your help!! Problem on 91′ Nissan Maxima V6……

  114. Kevin says:

    I had my first stuck oil filter recently. Because of its location, band wrenches and pliers were out, and the cap wrench just kept slipping and sliding. Putting rubber grippy matting inside the cap wrench didn’t help. The screwdriver just tore a gash in the casing without budging the filter. Finally I used epoxy putty to fill in the dents, gouges, and holes in the filter, and smeared quick-set epoxy inside the cap wrench before hammering it on as tightly as possible.

    That worked.

    If the cap wrench had been plastic, it might have been stuck on the filter forever, but since it was metal, once the filter was off the engine, it only took a few minutes to break it loose from the filter and pry out the epoxy.

  115. Doug says:

    I removed oil filter with a piece of grip-it shelf liner between filter and wrench. It broke seal rather easy.

  116. paul says:

    For “bottom facing filters” that haven’t distorted/crushed too badly:
    1. Drill 6 holes, large enough for a sheet metal screw to fit through, equally spaced about 3/8″ inward of the edge of a “socket type” filter remover that fits on the end/bottom of the filter.
    2. Place the filter remover on the filter. (Optional to increase grip: place a strip of folded sand paper between the perimeter of the filter remover edges and the filter sides (you may need to tap the filter remover onto the filter); and/or, place epoxy glue on the bottom of the filter before placing the filter remover).
    3. Poke an awl through the drilled holes to start a small hole into the filter. Quickly insert a sheet metal screw into the hole to minimize oil leakage.
    4. Firmly tighten a sheet metal screw in each hole, be carefull not to overtighten or strip the filter metal. Spray WD-40 on the filter gasket…let it penetrate for a few minutes. If used, leave time for the epoxy to set/harden before taking next step.
    5. Use your 3/8″ socket wrench to remove the filter.
    6. Keep your crushed oil filter as a reminder never to tighten one with a filter wrench.

    • Wayne Howard says:

      Thank you so much. Attaching the socket type filter remover to the filter did the job for me. This oil change took about 3 1/2 hours. So happy to be done with it. (Chevy Silverado 4.8 Liter V-8)

  117. stlouisx50 says:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their input. After trying every single oil filter removal tool out there. I resorted to searching the net and finding this page. I tried using a streight edge razor which may have helped slightly but not enough to allow the oil filter tools to do their thing.

    I tried a C Clamp, but all that did was crush the filter more. It was too tight of a space or may of worked.

    The solution? A Crescent Wrench! ( It turned the filter ever so slightly, however turn by turn got the filter moving and finally off!.

  118. stlouisx50 says:

    My mistake it was Channel Locks, NOT a Crescent Wrench that worked.

  119. kground says:

    All good advice, mostly, but for some cars about all you can do is hope that someone before you put on the filter with the built in nut. Chevy Cavalier with the small engine – it took me an hour to _find_ the filter. (of course the owner’s manual is of no use – they have a dozen pages on adjusting the radio, but if they told you where the oil filter is you might cheat the dealer out of a service fee, i guess). Anyway, that sucker is way up behind the engine with barely enough room between it and the firewall for it to clear the screw and come off. Maybe they meant for one to take off some other pieces to get at it. I have all the tools you mentioned and not one of them would even fit onto the filter. The only thing that would work for me is a special custom made punch about 18″ long with a strategically placed slight bend. I personally like to apply the punch to the thick rim where the head is sealed onto the can – its thicker there and you are less likely to punch through. After removing the old filter, I was able to touch the sealing surface (with two fingers only)and wipe it with a rag and check for scratches. Getting the new filter on was a real treat, and I guess it was screwed on tight enough (with a lubricated seal, because it didn’t leak. I have to wonder what the auto makers are thinking — they build up the engine (and transmission in this front drive car) assembly complete and stick it into the car from the bottom, never considering that some poor SOB is going to have to try to maintain it later. I suppose they figure most are just going to buy a new one every few years instead of bothering with pesky chores like changing oil.

  120. James F says:

    I had a stuck oil filter. I broke the oil filter wrench trying to get it off. I stuck a screw driver in and ripped the filter off the housing. I bought a pair of duralast 11″ 90 degree needlenose pliers from autozone (about 10 dollars) stuck it it the filter holes and the filter was off in seconds.

  121. bob says:

    My oil filter was on pretty tight, courtesy of FORD.
    I had a metal oil filter wrench which kept on slipping on the Oil filter itself, could not get any friction so i wrapped the filter up in duck tape and it came off with ease.

  122. overtone says:

    To my dismay, I was in the same situation as everyone else here. My filter was stuck. Tried carpet tape with a metal strap filter wrench, but the handle bent and became unusable. Finally decided to punch a hole through with a screwdriver, and I couldn’t get the thing to budge. Moving the screwdriver only tore a bigger hole into the side. Tried with a rubbber strap wrench, no good – c-clamp, no good – plastic socket, a little too big, and my filter was getting crushed at this point.
    Was thinking I might have to get the car towed and brought to a garage!!! So after reading these stories, I got the courage to tear open the filter and finally was able to remove the hex nut, right off the block. When I tried to spin a new filter onto it, it jammed – my nut had metal shards in there and was scrapped. Dealer said a week before the part would come in, so I went to a “Pick-n’Pull” auto-wrecker and 5 mins. and $1 later, got my part (got two, just in case) and I’m now a happy camper.
    Thanks for posts. Took me a day and a half for something that should’ve taken less than an hour.

  123. mikeS. says:

    Try a pipe wrench ( monkey wrench ) before resorting to the screw driver. I tried the plier type filter wrench, metal strap wrench and screw driver with no luck. the teeth of a pipewrnch provide a nice bite on the filter even if it is covered in oil and it fits into tight spots, and you can put a pipe on the end to act as a “cheater” bar.

    • Stlouisx50 says:

      I tried your Idea which IM sure would have worked well, however it WILL NOT WORK in tight spaces.

      • mikeS. says:

        sorry about the tight spots, I was working on a heavy duty Ford diesel pick up. and you are right because I didn’t think about there being a little more room under that truck than say a Dodge Colt.

  124. MadCatX says:

    I tried just about everything mentioned here to get that filter off. I was about to go after the filter adapter but finally decided to just give up on it until I could afford to send it to a garage.

    My Solution:
    I had the filter portion completely off so all I was left with was the disc portion at the end. I wedged a pin bar into one of the holes on the disc pushing it counter clockwise. I put pressure on it with my car jack until the truck began to lift slightly. I then drenched the disc in Liquid Wrench and gave up on it for a few days. After 3 days or so, I was desperate to get that truck moving again so I gave it one more turn with a filter wrench and much to my surprise it came off easily.

    Thanks everyone for the tips on this comment thread. They were supportive.

  125. Daniel says:

    I have used the old screwdriver method before,and let me say its a pain in the A$$. Today I had another stuck oil filter, 2nd one in my whole life! and i had some industrial strength velcro, from walmart $7, and i took the rough part and wrapped it around the oil filter, let it set there and get a good bond for about five-ten minutes. After that i just used my hands and a pair of pliars, now that it had something to grip, and worked it off. It took a little elbow grease but it worked!

  126. DC of SF says:

    I tried the cap-style filter wrench and a razor blade. The wrench didn’t have nearly enough grip and I couldn’t access much of the gasket with the blade.

    I put some penetrating oil on it for a couple hours. I don’t know if that had any effect.

    Here’s what finally worked for me.

    I took some channel locks and grabbed the 68 mm motorcycle filter in the only way I could, across the round end. I crushed the filter in its jaws by a quarter inch on each side. Then I took a pair of vice grips and held the channel locks near the pivot pin with both jaws in its grip. With the channel lock handle going left and the vice grip handle to the right, I torqued just enough to break it loose.

    • Stlouisx50 says:

      Channel locks were the only thing that worked for me too. Glad my tip worked. I know you have to work the filter turn by turn but it does work.

      Everything else slipped around or off the filter.

  127. Lee says:

    I had a stuck filter on my 2002 Kawasaki ZX-6R. I’ve changed the oil dozens of times with no issue, but today the filter just wouldn’t go.
    Normally I put on some super sticky rubber gardening gloves, but that didn’t work.

    Got a plastic filter remover, the type that has the hex pattern on it, but it kept slipping. Tried a normal loop style that tightens as you spin, but it kept slipping too.

    My solution in the end was to wrap the filter in electrical tape a couple times, then wrapped a rubber hose around that, and taped it on. Now the filter was about half an inch wider in diameter.
    Filter came off now, it took some force, but didn’t slip.

  128. Tim H says:


    I have an ’87 jeep cherokee and I cannot get the filter off. I have tried the razor method and the screwdriver method. I cant seem to get all the way around the filter with the razor method because there is not enough room. And the screwdriver method wont budge the filter. And I don’t have enough room to get a good swing and it with a filer. Do you have any secret tips up your sleeve for this?

    • Tehsin says:

      AutoZone and Other Car-part sellers sell one specific size filter opener, it goes right on the filter and you can connect your regular wrench to undo it. I had a similar vehicle and that always worked for me. Freaken Jeep people didnt thought about normal people trying to change oil themselves on those ones.

  129. For the past three days I’ve been unable to remove the oil filter from my car. The space is too cramped to get a razor blade in there, and too cramped to use a pipe wrench or channel locks properly.

    I finally removed it today by stripping it down to the baseplate, then making a wrench out of a piece of flat bar and two bolts (6M or 7M) spaced to fit into the holes in the baseplate. I had to torque it so much that the bolts began to bend, and I couldn’t believe it when the filter actually turned. After a few tweaks to the wrench (added another set of bolts to the other end of the bar, at an angle, to be able to engage the filter even if the holes were at a funny angle) it was off within a few minutes.

  130. Noel says:

    I’m amazed at the number of people who have stuck oil filter issues! I can think of two times in about 40 years of wrenching that I haven’t been able to get a filter off with a basic strap wrench. Just after I got my old Volvo 122S I did the oil and whoever had last done the filter had really torqued it on there. I used a chisel and finally got it to move. The other was after some lunkhead at a dealer had changed the oil on my GTI. Access was awkward and that was not fun. A big long screwdriver used as a chisel did the trick.

    However, on both the GTI and a Ford Exploder, I used to have the pipe that the filter threads onto come off with the filter.

  131. YES!!!! Finally done with a 15min job 5 hours later. My suggestion to everyone is if the filter cap socket slips leaving you unable to turn off your oil filter then the super glue solution works GREAT!!! Just put the glue around the inside of the cap liberally, slide the cap onto the filter and let it dry for an hour or so. Come back and put your socket wrench into the cap and crank it counterclockwise and your in business. Thank you to everyone for their suggestions!!

  132. martin brain says:

    Toyota corolla 4D4 diesel, bought by my son 77k miles service book stamped to 66 k. the oil filter is a big beast about 100mm across and had been in place for a long time, it was rusted – not seen one this old, the service schedule suggest inspecting it!
    Advise – if you come across a filter that has been on for yonks get a fast fit to change the oil / filter for a fixed sum, use it as flushing oil and then buy some fully synthetic – every good engine deserves the best.
    It took the best part of a day (over 2 days) to remove this beast we bought a halfords professional remover £17 and it did not budge just ruined the tool so the body was cut off then the remainer bashed a bit then driven off with a cold chisel, so good to see it move.

  133. PJH says:

    When installing a new filter, put it on by hand as tight as you can, then pull it back (counterclockwise)a hair thus ensuring that your armstrength alone can unscrew at the next oil change. The jackasses at the oil change places invariable put them on too tight either by hand or wrench from a standing position under the vehicle (in the pit or under a lift), allowing them to put it on with tremendous torque. Doing so ensures that you won’t even think about changing your own oil and always bring it back to the shop.

  134. Capt Cozmoh says:

    On May 10, 2008, Dan Czarniak said, “The solution: Big metal C-clamp.”

    After an hour of failed attempts with band, chain and cup tools, I was about to remove the passenger side strut for screwdriver/chisel access. I decided to do a google search and ran across this thread. I used the C-clamp method with a combination wrench for added leverage. On the first attempt the filter broke loose!

    Thanks Dan Czarniak and Jim’s garage!

  135. Jared says:

    THANK YOU!!!!! This site helped me so much! 5 days to change the oil in my Dodge Caravan – RIDICULOUS!!!! I finally ended up tearing the whole filter housing off and using a dremel tool with a cutting disk to cut the base and release the pressure from the gasket. The filter is OFF!!!!!!!!

  136. Danny says:

    After reading all the above I decided that the screwdriver would be the last resort but no matter what I did, using duct tape, sandpaper, monkey wrench etc, the thing would not budge. I then noticed that the housing was held on by 4 bolts and they were all accessible, to different degrees, with a socket spanner and extensions. I took them all out and gave the housing a gentle tap and she was off! Also no damage to the gasket. I then put the oil filter into a bench vice and turned the housing with the monkey wrench and off she came. After struggling for hours, it eventually took me about 40 minutes to disassemble and reassemble everything.

  137. Mark S says:

    Well did the oil wrench broke those still stuck tried screw driver still stuck what do i do …ooo its a 2004 mercery montineir

    • Stlouisx50 says:

      Mark, try using a set of Channel Locks. Mine was the same way on my motorcycle. I had no way to get in there to even use an oil wrench, it just kept slipping and I could only turn it 1/10th of a turn each time. I used the Channel Locks about the same type of turn but was able to get enough (breaker bar) type strength to turn the filter which took about 50 turns to loosen it, but it worked. The longer the wrench as long as you can fit it where it needs to be the better, because you have more torque on the filter and even if you bend or crush the filter you can still turn it.

      Sandpaper, tape, filter wrench, ect did not work because the filter was oil covered and only slipped.

      • Mark S says:

        well the filter looks like the pic up top and no room to get to it so im goin to try a trick i got told by a friend to see if it works

  138. Tehsin says:

    I have a 86.5 Supra and man its Filter is only good enough for left handed people. Right Arm cannot access it and I always have a rough time getting the darn thing off! that single edge blade method sounds interesting and i will give it a shot and post back if Any success.

  139. Tim says:

    My wife’s 2003 Camry oil filter was a beast to take off. I finally got it off by using a steel cap filter wrench and stuffed the inside with a paper towel sheet. This created a snug fit and bam!!!! I was able to get enough pressure on the filter to unscrew it. Just note the steel cap filter wrench stuck to the oil filter which can easily be replaced with another one.

  140. Mario says:

    I had a stuck filter on a new Nissan. My two filter cap wrenches kept slipping. Finally got it off with a band wrench (the rubber type) and some fine sand paper (100 grid). Thanks to all for the suggestions. Luckily, I didn’t have to go to far down the list of options. For those of you not done removing your stuck filter, just be patient, that goes a long way.

  141. Jared Rogers says:

    I have a 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I live in Jackson, Wy. and I finally was tired of paying $60 or over for a freaking oil change. I went and bought the tools and oil hoping to be done in no longer than an hour, ha! Luckily I had the day off. I even found this sight before my attempt at the oil filter. I did not jack my car up because the Jeep has pretty good clearance. I think a floor jack is my next purchase.
    My first attempt I crawled under the Jeep and cleaned the whole oil filter and area around it. Then I tried my best with the razor blade and wrapped the filter with tacky electrical tape (the kind you would put around a hockey stick handle). I tried with a basic metal band oil filter wrench and was getting good grip but the thing would not budge. I think this would have worked if the previous oil change guy didn’t crank the damn filter on. After I realized it would not budge I drilled a hole in bottom of filter and drained it to minimize a mess, worked pretty good too. I then got a screw driver in the side of it but ended up shredding the filter. For the next 3 to 4 hours I proceeded to shred the rest of it with some needle nose pliers. Once I got to the 6 little holes I tried to stick a screw driver in one and bang it loose with a hammer, it went no where. My girlfriend took me to Kmart and I bought another oil filter wrench, like the one pictured up top above the photos. THIS IS THE TOOL!! I still struggled really hard though. Even pried on the edge of the filter with the claw end of the hammer, I think that might have help break the seal. I finally got the thing to turn just a hair and started yelling for joy. It took a little longer to finish getting it off but it was over, total of 7 hours. I will never take my car in for an oil change again.

  142. Tristan says:

    Well I had an oil change performed, and was the first ever, as I have always done it myself. It was a nice k&n installed as I always use this filter. Oil change time so I raised my car on ramps to get under it and notice the oil change guy used a wrench to tighten the filter – obvious because of the chipped paint on the nut with metal exposed. I thought nothing of it being an experienced industrial mechanic and having done oil changes on my cars all my life. Well let me tell you it turned into a nightmare…
    I get the wrench on the nut of the filter but the filter was so tight that the the wrench would just slip off the nut!! OK, I said to myself, and I got a nice 1 inch, 6-point socket on the nut and gently began to apply torque to get it off. Despite the perfect grip on the nut it would not budge. I gave it all I had and the nut stripped on the filter!!!! Wow!
    So just for the fun of it I tried my band wrenches on the base of the filter but the result was just crushing it with no rotation. I knew at this point nothing would really work, but I gave my giant channel lock pliers a shot and nothing…Just ruining the filter even more. I did not even attempt the screw driver method as I knew my problem was worse than the typical. I drilled a half inch hole in the filter to drain the oil and then cut away at the filter using several different hand tools. After that I measured the center to center distance of the port holes on the filter using a compass. I then cut a piece of flatbar about an inch and a half long. I welded 2 5/16 bolts on the flatbar with the same center to center distance as the port holes. I then welded a 1/2-13 bolt on the back of the flatbar, then I screwed an 1/2-13 nut on that bolt and welded the nut on the bolt. This was my removal tool! I stuck the 5/16 inch bolts in the port holes of the filter, then took a 3/4 wrench on the nut on the back of my tool and applied force. Believe it or not the 5/16 grade 8 bolts began to bend but in doing so just as they were about to bend to the point of the tool being useless the it slowly started to move off!! Wooo! Hooo! if that hadn’t work I would have next tried an air hammer on the port holes, and if that didnt work I would have destroyed the rest of the filter somehow. 🙂

    • jimsgarage says:

      Unbelievable!!! You certainly showed a great deal of creativity and persistance. I guess you won’t let someone else do your oil changes.

      It is hard to believe that someone would be that dim to use a wrench to tighten an oil filter. You were VERY lucky to have gotten it off.

      Personally I use dialectric grease to lubricate the ring gasket and then only gently tighten the filter. While there may be 30-40 pounds of oil pressure flowing through the filter a person doesn’t have to tighten the filter that much, as I am sure you know.

      Congratulations on your success!!


  143. Isabella Fitzpatrick says:


    oh, first thing:
    this blog site rocks!!! It may sound twisted but, last night I was SO freaking relieved to realize I not only am i not alone on my conflict of the stuck filter but, I also am not the only one to completely rip the stupid filter into 9 pieces or more. The way my boyfriend was looking at me I was certain that I had just proved why women are not typically supposed to mess with auto mechanics or ASC-related issues.
    So, thank you for the resassurance via everyone’s posts. I am comforted at the fact i’m not the only girl who has taken this task upon themselves but, that i’m not Special Ed just because my frustration + determination = the total destruction of my filter.

    so, that being said… Hi Jim! 🙂

    Alright, i’m trying to remove all that’s left of the oil filter on a KYMCO Xciting500ri. it’s not a bike, it’s not a car. But instead, a 500cc, fuel-injected 4-stroke MAXI scooter.

    I’m working with little to no room, I’m down to the base of the oil filter (as far as what is left of it still attached) the rest is in 9+ pieces in the trash. I’ve tried every tool I have access to in order to try and maneuver the remaining base off and, nothing seems to be able to get the right angle or grip or leverage to push the stupid thing off. I’m certain i’m prying it the correct direction, but it’s just impossible to get any grip or leverage with any screwdriver to apply pressure in order to make it spin anymore.

    I’ve in the process managed to completely ruin 4 shirts, and 2 of my boyfriends pants; 3 philips and 1 flathead; and sadly, i’ve totally scratched the outside housing near the filter, and the oil pan. :/

    I’m at my wit’s end. BUT! however, I cannot and will not take this stupid bike to any mechanic and I must prevail. It’s managed to become a battle of the sexes with my boyfriend and i. Maybe he doesn’t even know he’s in a battle but, I’ll be damned if I don’t successfully get this stupid thing done right because, that’ll just give the BF enough proof that anytime in the future I scold him or inform him about auto mechanic related advice he will laugh at me as if I’m some dumb-witted, “stay in the kitchen” type of girl.

    Might I add that I have successfully completed over 1,000 tire changes (even when the bolt was stripped), 200+ oil changes (car), tons of brake pad changes and even helped on an engine swap, not to mention a few valve cover gasket replacements and installation of aftermarket, performance eibach springs on a ’90 integra. So, it’s not as if I’m going straight from nothing to attempting my 1st ever bike-related oil change. I’ve got a lil’ experience. (at least, more than the beau.)

    So, this is however my 1st bike type oil change, and granted I don’t have a manual but, common sense told me it’s the same thing as on a car, remove the oil drain plug, let all the oil out, then try and remove the filter, replace the botl, replace the filter and fill her up. But, obviously i’m stuck on the filter part. So, any and all help would be greatly appreciated. I’m on day 2 of this fiasco, so, my BF will be off work in 6 hours and I HAVE to have it completed by then (if not earlier so i can ride up to his job and “hahahaha” him in front of his work buddies) hehehe.

    k. thx.


    • jimsgarage says:

      Lizzie –

      I certainly admire your fortitude and spunk. Good for you!

      I am not intimately familiar with how the bike looks, but if there is any way you can safely get a single edged razor blade under the filter’s gasket you might be able to release the seal with it. If not you should look for a pliers-like filter wrench like the one in the entry above. It should be able to grip what is left of the filter.

      One reader was able to fashion a pin wrench out of a strip of metal and two bolts that were fitted into the holes of the base of the filter – you sound pretty handy – maybe you could make something similar.

      Best of luck – and show that BF what a hot mechanic you are!


  144. Fob says:

    My filter looks just like the one in the picture above… I would like to tru using the tool pictured but I don’t know what it’s called and where to find it! not sure where it would clamp on to either since all that’s left is the base… Any help please?? I don’t wanna have to tow the vehicle to a shop…

  145. jimsgarage says:

    Any of the auto parts stores should have oil filter wrenches like those shown. O’Reily’s, Pep Boys, Auto Zone, Advanced Auto, NAPA, etc.

  146. Fob says:

    Thanks. I happened to find one at autozone, but I still can’t really get a grip on it. Doesn’t help that the part where the filters attached is flush with what’s left of it…. Might end up sending it to a shop after all…

  147. jerry reich says:

    I’ve been servicing my vehicles for almost 30 years but today I met my match. A lexus rx300 with toyota filter tightly clenched in place ensconced by engine componenets.5 oil wrenches would not grab or exert enough torque to loosen filter. I ended up putting screw driver thru filter to spin off filter. This damaged pipe nipple prevented new filter installation.So off to the dealership I go to buy a new pipe nipple and 12mm hex key to loosen nipple.This is the case for remote oil filters.Difficult installation placemant is for benefit of after the sale service revenue.

  148. Pingback: 2010 in review « Jim’s Garage

  149. Diane says:

    Hi pretty much have the same mess as Tom did, where can i purchase the tool to remove whats left of the stuck filter.

    Many thanks


  150. Junior says:

    I went through all of the normal steps of replacing the oil in my 2000 Jeep Cherokee. Only to find the mechanic overtightened or did not lubricate the seal on the filter after i had him replace the head. already tried the band wrench and crushed the filter. I’m going to skip the screw driver step because I have a feeling it will just be more work and no progress past shredding the filter. So i’m resorting to using a keyhole saw to saw off the canister and get a grip from the inside. I’ll post the results hopefully in the next half hour

  151. James says:

    I have a 2000 Dodge Intrepid. The oil filter sits below everything on the motor. When I hit a bump the oil started spraying out. I am trying to remove the filter but the impact from the road distorted the shape and now it won’t screw out. Any suggestions?

  152. jimsgarage says:

    I suspect that it really bent the canister up and you just need to be as careful as you can to determine where you may need to bend the canister away from things. It could very be that you will have to destroy the canister itself and remove the base alone.

  153. Dave says:

    Because of this one trouble, I have learned to find out if the filter is accessible and will come off before I even remove the drain plug. There’s no feeling like the one you get from pouring new oil into the crankcase with the same dirty old filter welded on, knowing you are just going to drain it all out again once you get the filter free in a couple of days. I recall a couple of cars on which you had to loosen engine mounts or disconnect things to access the filter. Chevy Vega? (I think)

  154. BG Drevicky says:

    First oil change on 2010 Ford Explorer V8. Been changing oil and filters on cars (old and new models) for a long time. Never had a stuck (felt like it was welded on) oil filter like this one. Tried loop wrench, plier wrench, huge channel lock pliers, razor blade (couldn’t get to the gasket at all) and pounding it with a rubber hammer. No luck. Did some research and found a three-leg oil wrench at the Zone for $11.00 (part number 25017). The wrench adjusts to fit a variety of oil filter sizes and the legs tighten down on the filter as its turned in the “remove” direction. Used a universal socket (to get the correct angle) along with socket extension (long enough to get clearance below all the stuff that is installed in the way) and connected the extension to a torque wrench set to 130 foot lbs (set higher if needed) and torqued the heck out of it. Taa Daa! The filter did end up slightly damaged but who cares – its off and no damage to the truck. Lesson learned. . . and I plan to make Ford remove the oil filter or at least loosen it before I leave the dealer the next time I buy a new truck.

  155. Karl says:

    I have tried all kinds of brute force methods with stuck oil filters until I came to this: apply some Liquid Wrench to the rubber gasket. Go inside and have a beer or some coffee or whatever, just make sure it takes about an hour. Go back out, try again and you will be amazed – the filter will literally fly off the housing.

  156. Pingback: Nissan Altima Oil Filter Mounting Flange | Nissan Photos Blog

  157. Juan says:

    Karl, it work great apply some liquid wrench on my Craftsman two year old riding lawn mower oil filter gasket and it worked, after two day of pulling my hair and two broken oil wrenches, this was the first oil change and original oil filter. Yes I was amazed

  158. Willy says:

    This is a vote of approval for what Paul indicated on April 12, 2010 above with a slight variation. Here’s what worked for me after several failed attempts to loosen a stuck filter that had obviously been overtightened due to the crushed casing. Using a filter cap wrench, sort of like this:

    I drilled 6 holes and used 6 self-drilling screws, sort of like these:

    The self-drilling screws may require a little hammering to get things started. But once they are tightened, provide positive grip between the filter and the filter cap wrench. 2 or 3 screws probably would have been sufficient, but I didn’t want to take any chances. Be prepared for some oil dripping. My filter required a 3 foot cheater bar, but at least the wrench had no way to slip. Thank you for sharing all of the advice.

  159. Mike O says:

    After reading all the suggestions on this site and others, one seemed to have the best chance of success for my situation. It was the superglue with and the end cap oil filter wrench method. the only difference was that I used Gorilla Glue, because it expands to fill the void between the cup of the remover and the stuck filter. I let the glue harden for 3 hrs and was able to use my short handled ratchet handle to quickly remove the filter. This is sort of like a do-it-yourself K&N Filter kit. I had previously tried for three hours and three different types of removers with no success. The glue worked perfectly and I was able to remove the filter from the cup right after removing the filter from the vehicle, by using a large screwdriver jammed down between old filter and the remover cup. This was slow but very clean.

  160. Debbie says:

    I forgot to put oil on gasket, had to break off filter, then the base was stuck, so I had to put a screwdriver in the return holes, and then apply generous amounts of heat to the gasket area or backside of gasket area. Then twist it off with the screwdriver, but I only got a quarter inch at a time because the gasket was wadding up under the heat. Took about ten times to finally break loose. I will never let that happen again!

  161. Pingback: 98 Nissan Altima Oil Filter | Nissan Photos Blog

  162. Claymont says:

    My wrench is a 1/2″x 60″ piece of hemp rope. Wrap 3 or 4 turns around filter and pull with one hand and give a slight bit of back tension to other end of rope with other hand. Never had a filter that wouldn’t come off with this method. 3/8″ rope will probably do. Wrap the pulling end around a wrench or ratchet handle to get a little more grip on the rope if it hurts your hand when pulling with just your hand. Keep the wraps as close to engine as you can.

  163. Ruth says:

    Finally success! Our battle today was with a Troybilt riding lawn mower. After other failed attempts, I went out to the local hardware store and found a clamp for this very task (hanging just to the left of the replacement filters). We also had to use sandpaper (rough side to the filter) along with the clamp–only then did my husband have success.

    The only new info I wanted to add was in using dental floss to break the seal–we tried a razor blade but couldn’t reach 2/3 of the rim. Be sure to wear gloves if you try floss. Thank you for the many ideas contributed!

  164. John says:

    Hey, how would you say to go about putting the oil filter on. I’ve purchased two of them now, and neither will screw onto the car. My original screws on perfectly fine. The new one spins only a few times and then sticks. Autozone says these are the right sizes for my vehicle (1997 saturn sc1). When I turn my car on, the oil sprays everywhere. Any ideas?


  165. jimsgarage says:

    John – either you have the incorrect filter for your car or the one you have is defective. Visually compare it to your old one. Especially examine the size and type of threads. You should never have to use a wrench to install a “spin-on” oil filter. If Auto Zone insists that the filter they provide is correct go to a Saturn dealer or another parts supplier.

    My source of information tells me that a Fram PH2835 or a K&N HP1002 should be the correct one for a 1997 Saturn SC1.

  166. Sean says:

    Great advice here – in both the article and comments! I had one helluva time removing the filter on my Fiancee’s new-to-us 98 Passat 1.8T after whatever oil shack the previous owner took it to used a wrench to seat the thing. After removing the coolant reservoir to get a better grip on the filter, and several hours of frustrated heaving and razor-blading, I finally decided to give up and see if the interwebs could offer any more constructive advice than the wooden mallet in the garage.

    Thanks to stumbling upon your post, I decided to give the C-clamp method posted in the comments a try. I went into work the next day in search of the gnarliest jawed C-clamp I could find, and found that one of the mechanical engineers was having the same problem. Since we both came to the conclusion that this might be a recurring (and horribly frustrating) problem, we decided to build an industrial-strength filter removal tool.

    Thanks to Mr. Metal Band Saw, we now have a very stubby 5″ capacity pipe wrench in the shop for “plumbing in confined spaces.” Probably overkill, but a little of that feels pretty good after such a maddening project-stopper as this was.

  167. Sam says:

    I hate Monroe auto place around here. They did 3-things wrong with my Maxima for oil change..
    1) overfill – I had to drain and fill myself.
    2) left the oil plug loose – caused some oil leak
    3) over tighten the Oil Filter – Had to remove the Front Passenger wheel, and Plastic panel behind the wheel to access the Oil filter. I used ‘Strap-Wrench’ to get the good grip to remove Oil Filter.

    Maxima has a strange location for Oil filter, hard to access and difficult to handle when stuck.
    I use ‘Strap-wrench’ by Craftsman to loose the oil filter and it comes off easily if hand tighten. Strap-Wrench is adjustable and easy to wrap around the filter. Although, it did not help this time (St***d Monroe).

  168. Gary says:

    Thank you so much for this thread!! I initially tried the screwdriver method (poked two small holes and let oil drain to minimize mess) I read through about 50 threads before tackling this job…I had already tried loosening by hand…then with a rag…then my own makeshift oil filter wrench…I purchased a Fram Oil Filter Wrench…it’s metal with a few studs in it for traction…It wouldn’t budge…it actually was creasing the oil filter casing. That’s when I came on here to find an answer…what worked for me in my 1996 Eclipse GS (with a 2.0L naturally aspirated 1999 Chrysler Sebring Motor) was the razorblade (which i admit i kind of only did halfway, and with a scalpel blade) and 180grit sandpaper. I normally would have given up seeing as it was only moving minimal amounts, but i read that even small amounts is progress (literally millimeters to start with) and I just kept resetting the sandpaper and the wrench…i slipped a few times but ultimately got the job done…it’s about 2a.m. here and i’ve been working on this since i think about 8p.m. yesterday afternoon…thank you all for your input you saved my sanity. Just goes to prove that anything that can go wrong will…and we just have to keep trying

    • Gary says:

      I also have a question about why these filters are getting stuck…obviously overtightening them is one issue…but could it possibly be that the warm/hot oil causes the seal to expand to the point of the seal being nearly unbreakable (even only when hand tightened 1/4 turn past contact like you suggest) I’m personally a big why or how person…and possibly that could help a lot of people in the future prevent this from happening agian (including mechanics) also what do the different coating you suggest for example your reference to dielectric grease offer to ease the later removal of the oil filter versus in my case synthetic oil. I’d just like to make it clear i’m not questioning your methods…just trying to improve my knowledge 🙂 thanks

      • jimsgarage says:

        Gary –

        I’m not sure just how scientific I can get here, but I do know that the problem is not with the threaded connection. It is all agout the gasket. When it is new and compressed hard against the surface without any lubrication it will stick like it was super glue. Breaking that seal is key. If you just coat it with oil it may break loose for you if it is not over tightened, but by using a synthetic grease such as dialectric grease it won’t be washed away or break down with heat over time and should still provide enough lubrication to allow the gasket material to slide across the metal and allow you to loosen the spin-on oil filter.
        In one of the comments above someone discovered that Liquid Wrench would actually disolve or soften the gasket enough that it would loosen up as well.
        My guess is that if the oil filter companies spent some time on the design and makeup of the gasket they could solve the problem. I use factory oil filters on my Mitsubishi because the gasket is round, like a big “O” ring and come pre greased from the factory. I think the round surface provide a good seal, yet is a small enough surface area that it is not hard to un-screw the old filter.


  169. seth says:

    the oil filter housing was completely demolished after the screwdriver method so i used the handy razor blade as described above and what do you know… that piece of ——— came right off and that was the end of my six hour oil change. This site saved my life!!!

  170. Jill says:

    I am most greatful for this website! I too had to deal with a stuck on oil filter.I did try the various methods mentioned here., aside the screw driver method, I was not getting anywhere!!.So Finally I took a break and went in the house.So after a break, and a Prayer for God’s help, I came up with the idea of heating up the filter at the gasket .So I got out the long lighter that is used to light the grill ,and headed for the jack up car.I heated up the base of the filter being ever so careful and finally it turned!! Praise GOD!! I was sooo happy!! I don’t trust the mechanics around here.Being female I am a target for mechanical repair rip offs.After previously taking my car to a Monroe for an oil change, I checked it after they were done, and the oil was still black after they said they changed it!! They refused to do a redo!! Needless to say I decided to do it myself .So after this experience , I thought I would Pass on what worked for me!!

  171. Hello

    Good reading so far. I managed to get my filter off using the band method. I dented the sides slightly but didn’t think much of it until I went to install the new filter. I quickly noticed a difference. My old filter has a threaded bolt sticking out of the top where as my new filter has a threaded socket (hole). Opps I seemed to have removed a little too much. I think I’ve taken off the filter and the bolt that holds it onto the engine block. Trouble now is how do I separate the two as they are stuck together!!!!!!!

    • jimsgarage says:

      Hopefully you have access to a bench vise. Cut a piece of radiator hose long enough to go the length of the vise jaws. Then split the hose the long way and use it to cover the jaws. You can also use wood strips. Next clamp the threaded hole in the vise and use the band wrench to twist the filter off the threaded pipe. If the hollow bolt is cross threaded or otherwise damaged you can buy a new one at an auto parts store or the dealership.

  172. I wasn’t expecting a reply that quick!!!! Thanks, Jim. I’ll give it a go tomorrow at work. We have a large woodwork section at the college and it’s half term!!!!! So no doubt their bench vise will come in handy. I am worries about damaging the thread but like you already stated I guess I can always purchase another.

    Thank you

  173. san says:

    Hi , their my oil filter look jux like the pix you display only the top base left no side left , so how do I take it off without destroying my threat. Thank you

  174. Rich says:

    You would think car companies would relocate the oil filter location by now, to where you could reach it from the top of the engine.

  175. joe says:

    I have 03 ford explorer the dang oil filter is stuck i broke one oil filter cap thing alrdy an its still on the thing is tht my truck has very little room to put ur hand in there or any tool my imports have all been easyer then this ford i love older cars lots of room

    • jimsgarage says:

      Try spraying Liquid Wrench on the gasket area. Let it sit for an hour. Some folks have found that it disolves the gasket enough that the filter will loosen enough to remove.

  176. have a 02 vw passat wagon. and the filter is stuck on really good. broke 2 strap wrenchs trying to get it off. so tryed the srewdriver trick and it just shered the can off. tryed hitting the holes on the inside that does not seem to be working either.have been trying for 2 days know with no luck any other ideas on getting this thing off. i also tryed the razer blade trick as well as trying to heat it up. any suggistions would be great at this point. thanks dana.

  177. got my oil filter off thanks for all the ideas thanks dana

  178. Richard H says:

    Thanks for the awesome advice mate, I have an R34 GTT and the new mechanic I had taken it to seemed a bit dogie, so i thought I’d do the next oil change myself.. after 4 hours trying unsuccessfully to remove the old oil filter with a strap, I Google’d it, landed here, took the razor to it.. problem solved 🙂

  179. Kelley says:

    After watching my boyfriend fight with the oil filter on his truck for 3 hours and make 3 trips to the store for 3 different filter wrenches and he also tried the screw driver method…I hopped on the computer and read your advice. I went back down to the garage( to sounds of cussing and screaming, and tools being thrown) and told him to try a razor blade as I had read on your sight. 5 minutes later…he poked his head in the door and smiled. It worked! Thanks for saving the rest of my weekend!

  180. You are awesome! Thanks for the heads up. This is information I will be able to use frequently.

  181. Sharkhead7854 says:

    Thanks to all for the tips! Just bought a brand new Mazda2 and hit 3142 miles, tried to change the manufacture filter and man was it stuck. I was worried I was doing it wrong because I’m 19 and this was my first oil change. Hit the filter a few times and dented it, I started freaking out that I broke my car or something. I really don’t know anything about cars. Came and read this article and tried bashing a screwdriver into it but the space was too small to be able to make a good swing with it or hit it with a hammer. Couldn’t reach in with a razor to cut the gasket. I then had a crumpled up filter from all the smashing with the screwdriver. Ended up sticking a cheap samurai katana against it and smacking it until I got a small hole in it. Stuck a prong of a 1/2″ wrench in the hole and got it loose, didn’t even peel off the outer shell. Thanks again all!

  182. ralph says:

    i just bought this 1990 chevy k2500 4wd truck and cant get the oil filter off tried everything now filter is all tore up and smashed

  183. SuperCole says:

    I used the Super Glue method that was offered as advice in this thread. I applied generous amounts of Krazy Glue to a Universal Oil Filter wrench that I picked up at Walmart for about three dollars. I applied the wrench directly to the stuck filter and let the glue dry for five minutes. Afterwards, I pried like hell on it. It worked like a charm! Whoever it is that recommended this technique, I can’t thank you enough!

  184. Paul Bellemare says:

    Wow ! Seeing the hundreds of replies tells me how common this problem is, and there’s really no “always works and is easy” solution….

    Mine FINALLY came off with locking Vise Grip style oil filter pliers onto the remainder of the can, then a 2 foot long BAR on the pliers !

    Why some idiot would put a filter on 4 times tighter than every instruction in the world dictates is beyond my capability to understand…

  185. Pierce says:

    Obviously, none of you have dealt with a 94 Buick Century with a stuck on oil filter. None of the above will work. The “hole” underneath the engine into which the filter is installed does NOT lend it to the screwdriver, common filter wrench methods. Also… the filter is circled by expensive air conditioning tubes and lines, and is about an inch from the starter motor wire connections on the other side. I have a filter cap wrench that attaches to a socket wrench, and all that does is spin. At this point I am considering removing the car’s radiator and battery to get better access to the filter. Basically all you have to deal with is the top of the oil filter… all else is inaccessible.

    Also I am considering getting a small drill in there and drilling sheet metal holes by drill bit into the end of the filter, and into the metal filter cap wrench…and threading the screws into the cap wrench and the filter, hoping it does not simply tear up when I apply the socket driver off a one foot extension so that I can spin it off from under the car. Clearance problems from the top of the engine prevent you from doing anything but basically seeing where it is nestled waaaay down there in a greasy, dark, sharp casting infested depth. Still working on it.

    What is funny is people who talk about removing the base from the engine, or running a carpet knife around the base where the seal is. Believe me… if I could do either of these two things… the filter would already be off… because they both assume all kinds of access and clearance to the filter. Ta taa.

  186. Pierce says:

    OK fans, this is how it’s done. The oil filter is off… and I bought one oil filter wrench from Autozone for 10.99 that did it. Did not even pull hard… it just spun right off like nothing. I am retiring all of my other oil filter wrenches… by comparison the cap type and jaws type and metal strap type are crap. Pure junk. The OEM filter wrench that did it is part number 25017 in the upper right corner of the red and white clear pak it is displayed in. You just put the center of it over the top of the filter and insert your socket driver, the three little legs on the sides tighten up on the filter as you turn the driver. This is not a strap type… this is a three legged claw type. The other wrenches I own did nothing but mangle the oil filter.

  187. Casey says:

    Ive got a 97 Nissan XE Pickup and to change the oil the tire must come off. Once the tire is off to get to the oil filter youve got to have small hands to get in a about a 4inch space.I had to use this hook set as my razorblade to break loose the grip.Most auto parts stores carry the pin type
    hooks.They come in different angles and are around 7inches long.Long enough to reach the back of the filter. Oh and the magic part was the WD-40…old reliable. Use it with the straw to get around the gasket good. Thanks Jim for this info the grip filter remover did the job.

  188. gaven says:

    what do i do i only have the base of the oil filter left and it still wont com off

    • jimsgarage says:

      What you should have left has holes in it that could be used as leverage to twist the base off. If there is any way you can get to the gasket and cut it loose with a razor blade that will also help. Someone discovered that Liquid Wrench, if sprayed on the gasket, would disolve or at least soften it in about an hour. Good luck.

      • gaven says:

        the gasket melted from the header bcuz the header was touching the oil fillter and now the gasket is harded on there

  189. Ryan says:

    I had a tough time getting the filter off my brothers 99 VW Golf. So I bought a thing that you put your rachet in and it just bent and messed up the filter, then I tried the razor on the gasket and I think it helped and I used the cheapo tool with 60 grit sandpaper and it worked like a charm. Thanks, I hate jiffy lube, it’s like they used an impact on the filter lol. Thanks again

  190. Daniel says:

    Thank you so much for the tip. I was about defeated in getting the filter off of my MCM 185 inboard. Running a razor blade around the top did the trick! Thanks again!!!!

  191. Ken Gilbertson says:

    I just had this happen on a cat engine, C-15. Tried the rubber band filter wrench with a pipe snipe on the handle, was scared the hardened plastic jaws of the wrench were going to break so I quit before it did. Then I tried the cloth fibre wrench which takes a 1/2″ drive, Used a flex bar and a 10″ extension to get it up close to the filter head. Nada. Tried jamming it in behind the exhaust line, to hold all the torque on it while I got a piece of pipe and started whacking the end with a 2 lb. ball pein hammer to make a dent on the side in order to give it some shock treatments and try to break it loose. Nope. Now I come to what eventually worked. I got a length of 1/4″ chain, and made 4-5 wraps around the filter. I first tried using a bar through the chain, prying against the filter, but there wasn’t really room to get a good pry on it. So I got a chain boomer, anchored it to
    the rear spring hangar, and hooked it to an end of the chain coming off the filter. Using a short snipe pipe on the boomer, I finally got it to move! Fellows, once you get it moving, even if it’s only a couple mm.. you are on the winning end! I turned it 3/4 of a turn in this fashion, before I finally was able to move it with the rubber band filter wrench and spin it all the way off. The gasket was dry as a bone! I couldn’t believe this as I always lube them with a film of oil, but maybe I forgot this time. The other thing I did was over tighten it with a filter wrench. I one time had a filter come loose on the road, and seized an engine and I think that’s why I put it on so tight, but from now on, I will be super cautious on not over-tightening and on lubeing that gasket. Looking at all the posts this is a huge problem, and I hope that adding one more solution here might help someone. I know it gave me renewed hope to keep trying, as I read through what others had gone through.

  192. GASKICKER says:

    after crushing the oil filter on my 350 which is in my boat and trying a few different straps with no luck and trying the clamp method I found a metal strap wrench that connected to a 3/8 drive and it came right out

  193. james c. says:

    I can’t thank you enough for the ideas in this thread! Stuck filter on my boat, 3 different tools.
    I ended up using the filter vice grip pliers from harbor freight $6-$7. plus I used your razor trick to break the seal and a breaker bar on the pliers. the inspiration of everyone on this thread saved me from having a stroke LOL!
    Cheers and Thanks!
    JC from MI

  194. Hil says:

    I’ve been changing oil for almost 30 years and today the sandpaper trick saved my stuck oil filter. Thank you so much!

  195. ToneLoco says:

    Never had a problem changing the filter on my ’04 Grand Cherokee (WJ) until today. And, as luck would have it, I was at my sister’s house which doesn’t have anything but the most basic of tools. I knew all I needed was a better grip on the smooth outer casing of the WIX filter I was replacing, and after trying a number of rubber jar openers to no avail I found a roll of weave-like, double-sided, rug-gripper tape. I cut off a strip, wrapped it around the filter, and with a little elbow grease was able to break its hold on the engine!

    Now, that might not work in all cases, but just another tip to throw out there.

    • Aaron says:

      The tool box liner rubber weave fabric worked like a charm on the stuck filter on my ’85 Monte Carlo SS. I just cut a square of it, wrapped it around the filter, stuck my band wrench over it and that gave it the grip it needed.

  196. DodgeOwner says:


    Man, I tried the razor, the screw driver hole, an end cap filter wrench, and the metal strap type filter wrench. This sucker was stuck on GOOD. What makes it so bad is its on a Dodge Stratus where the oil filter hangs facing downward right next to the oil pan. PLENTY of clearance PLENTY of space to work with. I was even able to use a breaker bar as leverage pulling from next to the car. It was STUCK/SEALED GOOD! I didnt have a ride so I tried the only method in the forms with the items I had available. I took the oil cap filter and put a generous amount of Locktite brand superglue (regular watery clear type) and stuck it on the oil filter hamering it on tight using a ratchet to make sure it was all the way on. I waited about 30 minutes for the glue to set then I went out with my ratchet and breaker bar and it started spinning EASILY.

    It seems its really just a matter of getting the wrench to get a good grip on the bottom of the filter. This is likely the best way of doing it as it is the “natural” way the filter is supposed to spin and be removed.

    Trust me guys give the superglue and end cap oil filter a try before you drill anymore holes (I had drilled two already but luckily didnt destroy the filter).

    This is only the second time I have EVER installed an oil filter other than the K&N with the socket at the bottom and look what my luck got me! But anyway I actually did lube up the gasket before I put it on…so…..go figure. It happens!

  197. tys says:

    ditto to SuperGlue!
    roughened the oil filter case surface a little and cleaned it till bone dry, added a generous amount of (resin + hardener – cold weld) in the oil filter socket, stick in on the oil filter and giving it a slight turn anti-clockwise, left to cure for about 30 minutes… and off it goes 🙂

  198. Ann says:

    The past 2 days my daughter and myself have been trying to remove the oil filter, oil pan and oil pump. We got the 22 bolts off our 351 windsor engine ok, but now we cannot get the oil filter off and it has only been on a few weeks. We tried 3 different oil filter wrenches the screwdriver method, even wrapping the filter with a leather belt and nothing is working. Going to try the razor blade method and c clamp in the morning if it is not raining. Do you have any other suggestions. What do I need to do to loosen the oil pan after I get the oil filter off. With all the bolts out it did not even bulge any.
    Mom needs some suggestions.

    • jimsgarage says:

      Is the engine still in the car or out of it? What is the year, make and model of the vehicle please. If it is in the vehicle there are often other things in the way of the pan or else there is RTV sealant on the oil pan gasket. As far as the oil filter goes, getting that gasket free is most important. Some folks have found that spraying it with Liquid Wrench and leaving it for 20 minutes will soften the gasket and allow the filter to turn.

      • Ann says:

        It is a 93 Ford E250 with 351 Windsor engine automatic. The engine is in the van. I worked on it today and got the bottom half of the filter off but the top still did not budge. I will get some Liquid Wrench in the morning and try that. Hopefully it helps. Thank you whenever I get the filter off I will pull the oil pan down and change the oil pump hope that goes a little better. Any helpful hints that I should look for would be very helpful. Thank you

  199. jimsgarage says:

    Remove exhaust pipe-to-manifold bolts, exhaust pipe-to-muffler clamp, and muffler support bolt.
    Disconnect heated oxygen sensor (HO2S) and remove exhaust pipe and front catalytic converters.
    Remove four engine mount retaining nuts.
    Remove starter wiring clip.
    Raise engine four inches and block.
    Remove oil pan retaining screws and lower pan onto crossmember.
    Remove oil pump retaining bolts and lower pump into oil pan.
    Remove oil pan and oil pump intermediate shaft.
    Lift oil pump out of pan.

    • jimsgarage says:

      Clean oil pan and cylinder block gasket surfaces. Inspect for damage to sealing surfaces and distortion of pan from over-tightening bolts. Repair and straighten as required.
      Apply silicone rubber D6AZ-19562-BA (ESE-MRG195-A) in two places at front cover, two places on flange, and two places on gasket at rear main bearing cap-to-block seam as shown and put gasket into place on block.
      Set oil pump in place in oil pan.
      Put oil pump intermediate shaft into place and position oil pan on front crossmember.
      Make sure intermediate shaft is properly seated and install oil pump and retaining bolts. Tighten oil pump bolts to 30 – 43 Nm (22 – 32 ft lb) .
      Position oil pan and reinforcements in place. Install and alternately tighten all bolts (except for the four nearest the crankshaft) to 9 – 14 Nm (84 – 120 in lb) . Tighten four remaining bolts to 16 – 24 Nm (12 – 18 ft lb) . Refer to the following illustration.
      Install starter wiring clip.
      Raise engine, remove blocks, and lower engine onto mounts.
      Install engine mount retaining nuts and tighten.
      With help of assistant, install exhaust pipe and catalytic converters. Tighten exhaust pipe-to-manifold nuts to 33 – 49 Nm (24 – 36 ft lb) .
      Connect heated oxygen sensor.
      Lower vehicle.

  200. Andrew Willis says:

    I’ve tried all different types of methods, screw drivers, wrenches, etc. Some work, some don’t it really depends on the method. One of the favorites is the oil filter tool from Bogert. If you can get to the oil can from the back it works great! $20 and all American made I figure you can’t beat that. Check it out

  201. LDcannon says:

    I glued a cup type filter wrench to the filter, which is where it normally attaches. Waited about two hours. I tried first with using a large ratchet in the filter wrench, but it seems like the glue was not holding the filter wrench tight to the filter. The cup filter wrench was slipping slightly, but not as much as it was before the glue was applied. So I used an impact wrench to the cup filter; this did the trick. The filter loosen and came off in one piece. I didn’t try any other method mentioned here, because there is no room to get any tools to my filter other than a cup type wrench. The glue that I used was “Loctite Epoxy Instant Mix”. This is what I had handy, but I’m quite sure many other types of epoxy glue mix would work as well. Of course, before applying the glue, I tried to clean as much oil and dirt from the filter as possible using a de-greaser followed by an alcohol rinse. My next step if the first failed was to drill pilot holes thru the bottom of the glued on filter wrench and bolt in three or four self tapping screws and see if that would prevent the wrench from slipping.

  202. Scott out West says:

    Soooooo glad I found this site as I just encountered the same situation for the first time in my life!
    Could not get anything to work so I ended up buying a 4inch C-clamp. It nearly destroyed the oil filter but I was able to get the stupid thing off. What would have been really cool was if the new filter they sold me was the proper size but then I guess that might be asking too much! So one bloodied knuckle and an extra trip to the parts store and all is well! Thanks again.

    • Ann says:

      Thank you everyone for all the helpful information. I ended up using an old pulley wheel and drilled 2 holes and tried different bolts until I finally had 2 that were strong enough to move it. I could not get to the store as both my vehicles were down. Now I have both vehicles running again. On VW had to change the fuel pump, then the water pump, new plugs, new wires, and finally a new starter and now my VW is running again. Thanks for this site.

  203. Thanh says:

    I use a flex coupling with hose clamps at home depot, <$5, slide the ruber coupling ova the filter and tighten the clamps, use the large pipe wrench and ka-pow

    • Thanh says:

      This method was used after the scewdriver method that didnt work for me. I tried the plier type filter wrench to no avail then the screwdriver though the filter, rip the filter a bit and finally follow the hose clamp idea, and maybe added my own twist when I saw the flx cplgs @ home depot

      • Thanh says:

        Just wanna say thanks to this link I was able to figured it out, and it was my motorcycle, honda shadow sabre, doing the oil change myself since she was a baby, now she is 24k miles old, first time with such a stuborn filter, will take the suggestions and just hand tighten the filter here on. It’s habit though that I still use the wrench for a third of an inch more of a turn but that’s it.

    • Ann says:

      After getting the bottom and insides of the filter off I made a thing out of a pulley but the bolts kept bending. Finally a neighbor was walking by that works on cars and he got it off with a chisel and a hammer. Now after 3 weeks my 1993 van is running great again. Will now know where not to have my oil changed.

  204. Tyler says:

    Could not get filter off for anything. Finally I beat it in with a hammer to widen the base, then I used the metal oil filter wrench that was supposed to work on that particular filter to grab hold and let it rip!

  205. Hi, all is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is
    sharing data, that’s in fact good, keep up writing.

  206. william says:

    man i got a 87 gmc the oil filter is in pieces i cant get the oil wrentch on it i tryed to grab it with vice grips but the matal is to flimsy.ive jus got done hammering a flat head in 1 of the holes in the top of it….its not lost stuck and miss my truck 😦

  207. so i tried to change my oil by myself. and my filter is stuck and now pretty destroyed. I had to ask my dad for help and he pretty much destroyed it. Any ideas.

    • jimsgarage says:

      First off you have my sympathy. Not knowing what model car, engine, etc., I would just recommend that you persist and use the many experiences that people have written on how they solved their similar problem. One person found they could melt the gasket by spraying liberaly with Liquid Wrench and letting it sit for a while as the gasket softened, then twisted the filter free.
      Let us know how this works out for you.

      • i have a ford taurus 1994. i do know they are to the point of taking off my tire and then attacking the oil filter. it has a lot of holes in from earlier. about how long do you think that will take?

      • jimsgarage says:

        Ann –
        How long? That’s the toughest question to answer. Kind of like trying to predict how long it will take to find your lost watch. All I can say is that it will happen as fast as it can. Just be careful so that the mount for the oil filter doesn’t get compromised. Best of luck!


      • thank you. they some how managed to wrestle it free while i was at work today!

  208. Matt says:

    Did my oil change this weekend and was pissed! Couldn’t get the filter off of my 2006 Civic. It’s really awkwardly placed to use any filter specific tool. Also very frustrating when a potentially 15 minute process actually takes hours and you wonder why you didn’t pay someone else to do this in the first place. So I started drilling a hole on the side to drive a screwdriver in, with oil draining out in the process. Was gonna drill on the other side when my neighbour came out and helped, used a lock wrench and excessive force and finally managed to get the darn thing off.
    Thank god for friendly neighbours!

  209. Joe says:

    I’ve changed my own oil & filer for many years, but I never had an oil filter stick like the one I encountered today. I had crushed the top end to the point that the oil wrench metal strap no longer fit the diameter of the filter. I’m glad I searched the web and read these posts, and happy to report that a combination of straight razor between the gasket and engine block, and wedging some layers of coarse sandpaper in the oil wrench opening worked like a champ!

  210. owen bloomfield says:

    what direction do you undo the oilfilter on a vz commodore? do you follow the arrow?

  211. Old problem, good posts, same issue today in 2013. My 2006 Corolla FRAM oil filter would not come off. I tried my normal can wrench, no movement. I used my Craftsman oil removal claw (3 metal fingers that grip the can), and it ripped the bottom part of the can up with no movement. I have the plier wrench, but there is no clearance for this car. I tried the screw driver-thru the can trick, but these newer oil cans just crumple, and so did this one. I used metal sheers to cut 1/2 the can away (which was easy due to the screwdriver’s failure), and tried again with the claw, but still no movement. I cut away the rest of the can, leaving only the gasket top with the holes. I tried another posts idea of using a hammer and punch to try tapping it free, but that did not work. I then pulled out my 30 year old Dremel tool with mini cut-off wheel figuring I’d cut the metal between those filter holes, then try a Vise grip on the threads (if needed). The metal is not as strong as you think at this point. After cutting about 1/2 the spaces between those holes, the filter became loose and spun right off. I used a thin regular head screwdriver to check if I’d cut one section clean through , and was stunned to see the filter spin free. If you don’t have a dremmel, I’d use a drill, with oversize bit, and drill out the metal between a couple of the gaps. There is a good 1/2 inch gap above the holes, so once you drill in and feel it push in, stop and go to the next set. After 4 or 5 holes, you’re probably there, so try spinning it. As you can see by all the oil filter tools I have, I have spent many a dark night under the cars and early mornings at the auto parts store. My daughter’s new 2010 Corolla has a PLASTIC permanent can, with just the filter insert and o-ring to be replaced. I fear that thing.

    • jimsgarage says:

      Looking back at your struggle – what you accomplished was to finally release the pressure on the filter’s gasket. This is the key to every stuck oil filter that we have encountered. Its never that the filter is stuck on the threads, its that the gasket has been compressed and produces a great deal of tension or the gasket has “glued” itself between the filter and the engine. That is why, if there is space, we recommend taking a razor blade to the gasket.

      When you put on the filter be sure to at least put some oil on the gasket and even better – use dialectric grease (the kind you put on spark plug boots). The dialectric grease last much better under the heat of the engine.

      Lastly, resist the temptation to screw down a new filter as tight as you can. Most directions say 1/4 turn after the gasket touches the engine. If it doesn’t leak with the motor running, it is tight enough.

    • Sergei Zelenskei says:

      I think I have the same problem you did.
      I have a 1998 Honda CR-V which was designed to screw the oil filter off the top. It is placed so that there is only enough space to reach in and twist it off from top. From bottom you can see the filter but cannot get to the edges where it meets the engine. I as well as 4 other people tried to get it off yesterday by force, then with a band wrench, oil filter pliers, screwdriver through filter (not enough space to move the screwdriver around), then with an oil filter socket. None of these ways worked. All after an entire day’s work the darn thing is still on the car. Other than cutting out the filter with just the base left over and drilling holes between the oil filter holes I cannot think of anything else that I can do. Doing this I am afraid that I would not be able to reach far enough inside the little space there is to drill the holes to get the filter loose.
      Please help.

      • jimsgarage says:

        I would STRONGLY advise against drilling. Somepeople have found that spraying Liquid Wrench on to the gasket – waiting – disolves the gasket and allows the filter to turn. If you do rip off all the case of the filter and remove the guts then you will find a metal disc with holes already in it. Some people have devised a tool with pins that fit into the holes and use it to twist the remnants of the filter free.

        Just keep in mind -it is the gasket that is keeping the filter from turning. It has died out and glued itself to the block and the stuck oil filter has almost nothing to do with the threads.

        Best of luck.

  212. Charles James says:

    Well I’m glad in a way that I’m not the only one with this frustrating problem. My ride is a 1995 Mitsubishi Magna (Diamante in the N/American market) with the 6G72 V6 motor. What I thought would be a quick job to change the oil and filter is an ongoing struggle. I have purchased extra filter removal tools but they have all succumbed to the resistance being put up by the filter. I have punched a hole in the filter and have tried moving the filter but so far no luck. I have removed the left front wheel as well as the plastic shield down there so I am now looking directly at the filer and the access from side on is much better than from below. I have tried using a razor blade but can not cut all the way around. This is so far day 2 of my battle with the filter but I am very determined to win this struggle. Once I win the struggle, I will take the advice to simply hand tighten the new filter with plenty of oil on the rubber gasket. My son is getting a first hand view of this struggle and hopefully when he gets his own set of wheels will not strike this problem.

  213. charlie says:

    I had a 1994 GMC pick up truck as well as a 1995 Chev Blazier with the 4.3 V-6 eng. I changed my oil on them for over 5 years and every time I oiled the gasket and put it on hand tight as stated but every time I went to take the old one off it too two wrenches on it and alot of force to get it off. On 4 seperate occations I ended up breaking the bracket were it bolts to the frame. I have never had any problem like this with any of my other cars that were not GM products.

  214. bill says:

    I’ve had this happen many times, and a band wrench has always worked for me.

  215. jeff says:

    hello guys, i had the same problem , did try the screw driver thing, then tried the single edge blade but cant get around the darn filter ( or whatever is left of it ) because of the space, so guess what i did, i got my old guitar, removed the smallest string, looped it around in between where the gasket and the housing is and slowly and painstakingly ‘sawed’ through it. After a couple of hours, i got it off! Go try it, might work for you too.

  216. John Thomas says:

    Jim, thank you so much for your site and for providing the forum for these idea exchanges. Thanks also to all the contributors.

    I have just survived a seized oil filter, I have been though the entire huge discussion here, and I have a couple of ideas – refinements actually – to contribute by way of saying thanks.

    [1] I am certain from my experience that the problem is in many cases as simple as trying to remove, from a cold engine, an oil filter that was installed when the engine was hot. This may explain why so many of your readers complain about difficulty removing a filter that was installed by a quick oil change retailer: the filter will spin on farther, easier, on a hot, oiled engine block, as the gasket will quickly heat up and soften, and the oil used to lubricate the gasket is thinner and “slipperier” when it’s hot. Several months and an a few thousand miles later, if you try to remove that filter from COLD engine, the gasket (and what remains of the lubricating oil film) will be a lot less pliable, the filter will seem to be “seized”. This is exactly what happened to me: I always change my oil and filter when the engine is hot after a good run, to ensure any “goo” in the bottom of the oil pan is mixed up into the oil and leaves with it. The one time I tried to do the change with a cold engine, the filter was tight beyond all my wrenches and many other “tricks” suggested here. Unfortunately I had already drained the old oil before I discovered the filter was seized. But on my vehicle, like most, the oil filter is located above the static oil level in the oil pan, so I simply re-filled my crankcase with the new oil as normal, started and completely warmed up the engine, (and then shut it off), and then the oil filter spun off with just the normal amount of “elbow grease”, just like magic, and there was no need to drain the new oil from the oil pan, no more oil than normal spilled out with the filter. If you are doing an oil change on a cold engine, it’s a good idea to try to slightly loosen the filter BEFORE draining the oil pan, so that if you have this problem you can start and warm up the engine on the old oil BEFORE you drain it. Oh, and try not to have one of those “geez, what was I thinking?” moments and fire up your engine (to warm it up) with an empty crankcase lol!!

    [2] One earlier contributor spoke of running dental floss in under the oil filter gasket to loosen its seal without scratching the machined mating surface on the block. My wife suggested an improvement on that technique – nylon monofilament fishing line instead of dental floss. Much stronger, impervious to the oil, and stronger than the filter gasket rubber but not hard enough to damage the metal mating surface. Another alternative would be the light-duty (smaller diameter) line from a grass trimmer. Cut off a piece 2-3 feet long depending on your configuration, then find a couple of clothes pins or screwdriver handles or scraps wood that will fit comfortably inside your fisted hands, tie each end of the line around the middle of one of these handles, then work the line back and forth around the gasket using alternating reciprocating motions with your hands.

    [3] To enhance the grip of a cap-style oil filter wrench, especially if your filter is one of those kind (like many of the Frams) with the textured grip coating on the end where the cap wrench fits, wrap several layers of green painter’s masking tape around the inside edge of the filter wrench, then hammer it onto the end of the filter with gentle taps from a hammer, all around the circumference. The painter’s tape is strong yet soft and compliant and will deform itself on a microscopic level to the texture of the coating on the filter for a much stronger grip.

    Good luck, everyone!

    • Andrew says:

      I’ve tried all different types of methods, screw drivers, wrenches, etc. Some work, some don’t it really depends on the method. One of the favorites is the oil filter tool from Bogert. If you can get to the oil can from the back it works great! Not very expensive and all American made I figure you can’t beat that. Check it out

  217. william bailey says:

    After 10 hours of different methods i found this site, tryied all lot, finaly,took a socket welded two 1/4 grade 8 bolts to the end 3/4 stickin out oposing sides like a sppaner 2 foot 1/2 drive breaker bar 225 man on end and wow it came off, 1987 ford v8 pickup . never again ,

  218. Ryan says:

    Tried all of these tricks today on my Kohler-powered lawnmower. The gorillas at Kohler must have put the filter on with an air hammer. Broke a screwdriver and 2 oil filter wrenches. Tried the razor blade trick, nothing. I finally used a blow torch to heat what was left of the base of the filter, and hammered away using a screw driver and a sledge hammer. After 4 hours, I finally got the filter off, without damaging the threads. When I looked at the seal on the old filter, it was completely dry. I am surprised the seal didn’t fail.

  219. laurin says:

    What is the name of the tool shown in the image of this post and where can I get it???? I’ve asked everyone I know and no one has a clue!

    • jimsgarage says:

      I’ve seen this tool or ones like it at most car parts (Auto Zone, Advanced Auto, O’Reily’s NAPA, etc.) Also at Harbor Freight tool stores. You can go to and probably find it there as well.

  220. matthew says:

    none of this shit worked or helped. there isn’t even enough room to do anything of these things. this man does not no what he is talking about. an by the way I did the whole oil on gasket thing and its still stuck on there, and yes I barely tightened it.

    • jason says:

      You tried the channel locks? You will not have very much room to get them in there to rotate the filter, but it will have enough room to turn it 1/10th of an inch each turn in my case, to turn it to get free enough to spin it by hand. Try tapping it with a hammer and turning it.

  221. Asking questions are genuinely good thing if you are not understanding something fully, however this paragraph provides nice understanding yet.

  222. health plan says:

    I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This paragraph
    posted at this web page is really fastidious.

  223. Jason says:

    Tighten a hose clip (Jubilee worm drive type) firmly around the base of the filter,and tap on the protruding screw housing on the clip with a hammer,this has worked for me .

  224. Nate says:

    Just reading this now and having a debacle in front of me on a 2010 Jeep Wrangler whose oil filter was screwed on WAY too tight last time (my fault.)

    The band wrench doesn’t fit, the aluminum cap wrench stripped the filter, the screw driver method was a no go, but the small filter pliers ended up working just fine with a bit of elbow grease and anger.

    The replacement filter is not screwed on ridiculously tight this time, either.

    Thanks for the tool mentions here, Jim. You saved my day!

    • jimsgarage says:

      Nate – I’m glad that your struggles had a happy ending. I have found that putting dialectric grease on the oil filter gasket does a better job of keeping the gasket from adhering to the engine than just regular engine oil. This is the same grease that is used to keep spark plug boots from sticking to your spark plugs.

  225. Mike says:

    Leech, not leach. Silicone, not silicoln. “Screwdriver” is one word, not two. Great article otherwise. (Hey, you’re good at cars, I’m good at the English language.) Never thought of the “sandpaper between the band wrench and the filter” idea. Another possibility, if there is enough room to get a good grip on the filter with one or both hands, is to put on a pair of rubber kitchen gloves or latex gloves – I keep a box of these in the garage for greasy jobs – and try it that way, before resorting to tools. Sometimes the extra grip from the gloves is enough to let you really torque down on the filter with your hand(s) and remove it without having to go and buy yet another tool, or resorting to the Vlad the Impaler method.

  226. Joey says:

    I had one of those Fram 10,000 mile “Xtended” filters on and I’ll never do that again. It was stuck. Although I had a shop put it on so maybe they tightened it too much. Anyway, I first tried my own trick where I drilled a couple of holes in my strap/band wrench and put pointy screws in them. Because the wrench was slipping. I ended up screwing one into the filter and it did hold but the filter wasn’t budging and it just ripped open the metal. so I then had some dripping going on. For me what got it to loosen up was a combination of WD-40 sprayed near the gasket, razor blade to about 3/4’s of the gasket and tapping a piece of wood to the filter with a hammer. Then my screwed on strap wrench really worked and was so relieved when I saw it moving little by little, after 3 hours.

  227. Great advice and proven methods, For me personally the best advice however was to stay calm, i threw my BFH < "Big friggin hammer" several times last night into the wood line, "Fun finding with a flashlight." I had tried everything for a few hours so I sprayed what was left of the filter with PB blaster and went to bed. Got up this morning with a new attitude and called my local shop. All of the advice they could give me was almost exactly what I read here. Anyway, Crawled back under the truck with a pile of tools calmly expecting the worse and what do you know, 15 mins later with a chisel and my BFH we have a new filter on.

    Thanks for all of the great posts!

  228. gurjendersihe2012 says:

    Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting.I will be waiting for your next post.
    workplace safety training townsville

  229. Joe says:

    Wow!!! The screwdriver through the filter worked great with me. Thanks!!!!

  230. mrz80 says:

    Big problem with my 2006 Accord is that there just is NO ROOM to swing any sort of a tool at any angle that’ll put any torque on the stupid filter in the first place. Only thing that does it is just grabbing the filter and straining every muscle in the arm and shoulder ’til it finally breaks free. Sometimes takes an hour of grunting and straining before it finally starts to turn. And yes, that usually results in some level of shoulder injury :).

  231. Hi guys , have read thru all these posts with great empathy and the odd laugh here and there :0)
    I’ve only ever had one problen removing an oil filter and that was one I had put on myself……so no one else to blame….lol
    Rather than using some of the messier methods I used a couple of large hose clamps ( The Norma type ) and some 16mm heatshrink tube , for traction.
    I opened up the clamps , slid on a piece of heatshrink tube and melted it on . Doing this twice would be better still as it’s quite thin. Don’t cover the whole length of the strap or the clamp won’t tighten . …….. reassemble clamp
    Place the clamps on the filter , where you can , with the clamp screw head at an angle you can access most easily.
    Tighten up the clamp(s) and take an old 3″ 3/8 extension bar or in my case, a 8mm socket , place it over the clamp screw and tap firmly with a hammer.
    The higher up the filter you can get the clamp the better and it helps to really clean all grease of the filter first.
    As someone else mentioned , mechanics often change the filter with the car above head height so thet can apply max torque even if only hand tightening . Different story when you’re flat on your back and having to reach.
    Anyway , just my 2 cents worth , it worked for me on a Ford Transit van ( not sold in the US I believe )
    Good luck to you all and Happy New year from Brisbane

  232. Reno Rick says:

    Thankful to have found your website. A combination of razor blade, WD-40 and sandpaper on the filter wrench had it off in minutes. You all rock !!

  233. Mitch says:

    sandpaper … beautiful.

  234. keith says:

    Use thin clothes line rope tie it in a circle round new filter doesnt have to be tight then take rope off filter and put your left hand through the hole . Then rap the rope round and round your hand a bunch of times over lapping . Now put it over filter in car . Dont worrie if its a little loose . Hold rope in place on filter and put end of rope in a direction for a friend to pull .hold rope in place on filter until friend takes up slace in rope and it tightens on filter .get him to use a rag on hands for pulling or rope will dig into them. Now while he pulls rope use both of your hands to turn filter at same time . If rope is over lapped several times it wont slip

  235. roGER says:

    Extremely helpful advice here – outstanding! It seems some mechanics (pro as well as amateur) just don’t understand that the filter only has to be hand tight – I guess it goes against every instinct in their bodies to leave anything just hand tight.

  236. robbie says:

    Thanks a lot. Struggled 2 hours last night, read this and got it off right away this morn with the sand paper!!!!

  237. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll certainly return.

  238. W.Duncan says:

    I have an accord 2005. Twice dealer probably put the filter on too tight. I struggled with the latest stuck filter. The Accord does not give much space for leverage. I finally cracked the filter using my wife’s kitchen gloves (like Playtex, etc. It took good effort, but the glove gave me good friction and I was able to remove the filter with a good heave-ho.I think most dealers over-tighten, maybe to convince one to go back for an oil change? Anyway the glove gave me a good grip.

  239. monika says:

    So I tried the metal loop type wrench, no joy… no room. 4 cyl engine bay!
    Tried various grip options
    couldn’t get a razor blade in

    went and got the only other tool available locally, the three prong auto adjusting type. Luckily I had a 3/8″ ratchet handle, as they don’t seem to do a 1/2″ drive variety.

    tried that with duct tape. No joy

    tried that with bicycle inner tube, then slip mat material. No joy

    used a long good quality cable tie(zip tie?) to tighten in place, then put ratchet in and simultaneously tightened cable tie while applying moderate pressure. Slowly but surely, it came loose. When it came out was just starting to dent on one side.

    not as easy as I make it sound, but worked.

  240. Hot says:

    Fought with that futher mucker for 12 hours. Tried everything I had in my arsenal except for the air hammer/chisel I forgot I owned. Got that sucker out and had that stuck-ass filter, all crumpled and mangled up, off in less than 10 mins.

  241. ramdom says:

    5 trips to parts store and 8 hours trying to remove that plug from the ass i gave up and took it to mister oil change and in 5 min i was out of there with my new oil filter in 😀 oh and btw all for FREE no charge at all.

    I did everything in that 8 hour get mad at my family, cry, head between knee thinking im fd’up, all wrenches from parts store, my hand, super glue method…..

    I did drain the oil so i was not gonna put that back in so i put new oil, tighten the bolt and took it to them and they reused my new oil and filter.

    If you made holes in your filter then i am sure what to say. Btw my oil filter was damaged but no holes in em.

  242. rob rich says:

    Great thread here. I just removed a stuck oil filter from my 1956 Ford Thunderbird. The engine is an old Y-Block, and the filter was on so tight that I collapsed the filter as I tried to remove it with a filter wrench. I tried most of the techniques above including putting double-sided tape on the filter and trying with a filter wrench attached to a cheater bar (no luck). The prime culprit seemed to be the slick surface of the filter. Nothing seemed to adhere to it.

    The technique that seemed to work perfectly for me was a combination of heating the block and torquing on that filter with the biggest pair of Channel Lock pliers I have ever seen.

    I got the the (immitation) Channel Lock pliers and the heat gun at Harbor Freight – about 35.00 all together. I applied the heat gun to the block just below and to the right of the filter housing. I pointed the heat at the block primarily, but the filter took some heat too. I had my wife standing by with a fire extinguisher just in case.

    I used an infrared heat gun (about 20.00 at the auto store) to measure the temp of the block. Once I got it to about 200 degrees, I tried the tape method – no luck. After that, I grabbed the channel locks and clamped down on the filter. Because they are long, the leverage really helped. The jaws provided really good purchase on the filter, crushing it more as I turned. There was no slippage, so the combination of heat, zero-slip, and leverage forced the filter to turn.

    I never thought I would get this off – I even called a repair shop to see if I could bring her in on a tow truck.

    Hope this helps someone stuck in a similar situation!

  243. joseph bailey says:

    i have a 2001 ford focus lx 2.0 split port dohc and the oil filter is hard to get to not mentioning the fact that the oil filter is on the back side of the car above the oil pan. so I bought a oil filter wrench which I swore more than a sailor. then I went back and got the oil filter cap wrench and still cant get off. so I might try the tape method to see if that frees it. the other problem I have is that the motor mounts are going and the dog bone looking one the bolts are rusted to heck and its hard to get off any ideas from people please

  244. jf says:

    gear wrench 3288d 3 jaw universal best 20 bucks i have spent on a tool ever dont waste your time with caps and strap wrenches or screwdriver get a small breaker bar took me exactly 5 min to loosen it up and remove it amazing tool

  245. lawrencejeff says:

    Stuck with the same problem – tore off the entire filter until only the top was still on. Screwdriver and normal hammer still wouldn’t budge by hitting on the small holes at an angle. Grabbed a cold chisel and a 2lb mini sledge and two smacks later it came loose and spun right off. The good thing about this approach is the chisel end was to large to really go into the small filter holes so it didn’t scratch the mating surface.

  246. t.neil says:

    First time in decades I’ve run into a stuck filter today. My 65 Jeep has a Fram filter I put on without a wrench several months ago. I put a little effort with a filter wrench and it crushed.

    After finally getting most of it off with a screwdriver, the base is as defiant as ever. I can get a tiny fraction of a turn either way but that’s it 3 hours later and well into dark.

    Some good ideas here and I will try some of them. I was sort of on the same track using something in the holes to work off but needle-nose never occurred to me. I was using some small bolts that happened to fit. No dice there.

    The razor blade is a new one to me. I’m game.

    Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

  247. HOLLMAN CORTES says:


    • jimsgarage says:

      It should not take vice-grips to remove it. You should be able to grasp it firmly, but gently with your hand and rotate it as you pull it out. There should be two small “o” rings on it that need to be changed.

  248. Jim says:

    Many, many, many thanks Jims Garage. Tried most of the solutions posted here, but trying to break the seal between the filter and the block finally seemed the tipping point, used a claw hammer to speak to the thing. Then a hammer and chisel, and hammer and chisel, and….

  249. Pingback: True Cost of Diesel Oil Change | Diesel Oil Change Central

  250. Dwayne Buretz says:

    I have a 496 big block and changed the oil today. The filter ripped off at the base. I finally found this page and used a razor blade like you said and it worked like a charm. Many thanks!!

  251. Frank says:

    First oil change on my truck and whoever put that filter on had it absolutely cranked!
    Tried everything until it tore of at the base. Ended up using needle nose vise-grips clamped in the little holes left in base of the filter. Then slotted a small pry bar inbetween the jaws of the vise-grips and applied a steady pressure. Finally got it.

  252. irvin says:

    When using the screwdriver method do not hammer the screwdrive all the way in just make a little hole with the tip of the screwdriver nd let the oil spill out of that hole into the container. Then once its all out hammer the screwdriver until it comes out the other side of the filter this way making it easier to turn the whole filter without bending the aluminum.

  253. Stelth says:

    I intended to spend an hour changing the oil and filter on my ’05 F-150 yesterday. Four hours later, three different filter wrenches, lots of cursing and a trip to two different stores I was finally done. What finally did the trick? A brand new pair of 16″ Channel Locks. Next time I’m getting one of those K&N filters with the attached bolt. After reading most of the posts here I feel a lot better about my stuck filter experience.

  254. Polikap says:

    pretty easy to remove it with pliers from here

    It is to easy and comfortable.

  255. Richard says:

    Had mine tore down to just the base, heating, chiseling, etc. no movement. But the trick was these words from Jim “Remember that the filter is not stuck on the threads. It is stuck on the compressed gasket between the filter and the block. If you can break that bond the filter will spin free easily. So take a single edge razor blade and work it between the gasket and the block and slide it all the way around the gasket.” I could only get the razor into a small area, couldn’t work it all the way around but that was enough for it to finally move after 3 hours of previous efforts. As it turned I put the razor into the newly reachable areas and then it finally got loose enough to put the strap wrench on the base. Thank you Jim.

  256. ed Kruszon says:

    You sir have saved my ass, screw driver for the win

  257. Magesh says:

    My 2015 Mazda 3 oil filter cartridge didn’t budge……maybe, because of an over enthusiatic mechanic or heat or long-overdue oil change (~11,000 m) or combination of all the above. I’m leaning towards the latter. So, I came here and read the experiences of several commentators.

    Anyway, long story short, the blade trick worked for me. Before sliding the blade, I generously applied my wife’s nail polish remover along the crease hoping that the acetone would dissolve away any grime and loosen up the rubber on the cartridge. Then, I dipped the razor in acetone and tried to gently force it in, around the crease. This way, some of the grime came out and also, left droplets of acetone inside the interface to chemically attack the rubber. I left it for about half-an-hour.

    By removing both the guards, I was able to get enough space for a locking oil filter wrench to grab on to the cartridge. Tightened the grip using a plier and gave a mighty heave, it finally gave in and turned. Thanks a lot guys!

  258. Paul says:

    Thanks. It’s good to see that im not the only one who have had this problem. It’s my first time with this problem. I’ll try the blade and screwdriver method. This thing just pissin me off so much right now. It’s on so tight i have tried all my tricks nothing worked just have two holes in the filter now.

  259. carol watson says:

    What is that tool called. I am in that mess now and I am at a loss at what to use to get my broken oil filter off.

  260. ROBERT P says:

    Ok i have a 07 crown Vic and the oil filter is in a tight spot I’ve tried everything that’s what I get for letting Woodman’s do it( a local store in my area…) we resorted to the screwdriver method and still nothing i think they forgot to put an oil seal on so I have no clue what to do

    • jimsgarage says:

      Robert, I have an ’08 Crown Vic and it should not be that hard to access the oil filter. You should be able to get a single edged razor blade in under the filter’s gasket and that will release the hold it has. Another method others have used (I have not) is to soak the gasket with a product like Goof Off and give it a few minutes to soften the gasket. Then it should come right off.

      Good luck!

  261. Chris says:

    So, while I was bangin’, cussin’, poking holes in the filter, and making a general mess of things, the wife found your site. She mentioned the sandpaper between the oil filter and band wrench. Eureka! I calmed down, put some sandpaper, two layers, inside layer with the rough side in, outside layer with the rough side out, on the filter and out it came.
    Just so we are clear, I did not put the oil filter on! 😉 Just bought the vehicle.
    Thanks for a great post.


  262. Terry says:

    The C-clamp worked for me, great idea, Thanks

  263. Annelaura says:

    Thank you so much!!!!!
    After trying EVERYTHING for almost 2 entire days, we found this post and gave the razor blade trick a go. And it worked – with a small kitchen knife, a hammer and some grease (the razorblades were to fragile) follow by the screwdriver-pull.
    You saved our summer holiday!

  264. Jim says:

    Wow, this article started in 2005, more than 11 years from when I am writing this. But it is still very relevant. Like most on here, I have always changed my own oil and in over 40 years, never had a problem. Then I offered to change the oil on my daughters 1998 Chevy Monte Carlo. First sign of trouble was how tight the drain plug was. When I tried removing the filter, it started to crush instead of spin. I have 5 oil filter wrenches of varying designs and none of them would work. So I did the screw driver trick because, even though it was a last resort, I “knew” it would work. When it didn’t I had no idea what to try. So I peeled the metal away to get to the return holes so I could try and use a chisel on them. The durn thing still wouldn’t budge an inch. Completely out of ideas, I hit the Internet and google led me here. I read ever post and made a list of new things to try. I went and got some Liquid Wrench and a single edge razor. I applied the Liquid Wrench and started to work with the razor as much as I could access around the rubber seal. I then tried to tap it with a hammer and chisel and almost cried when I saw it move. A few more taps and it was off and another 10 minutes and the job was completely finished. I don’t know which trick worked or if it was both but thanks to all who took the time to post their experiences and thanks to Jim for this web site.

  265. Stevo says:

    Here’s a trick that may help with oil filters that are deeply recessed, or any fitting in an awkward, hard to access place.
    If I need to spray WD 40 etc. in such places, I strip off about 1 inch of insulation from a small electric cable, and use it to join two of the spout tubes together, it really helps to get into hard to get to areas.

  266. Onno says:

    I just had the same issue on my bike. But even with the tools it didn’t come off. On the verge of insanity and at the point of using a screwdriver, I spayed some WD40 at the bottom. After a few minutes it came of like nothing. Hope it can help others too.

  267. LANDIS ODOMS says:

    I used this website to change the oil on one of my cars. The oil filter was indeed stuck. It was due to reading all these posts I was able to remove it. It was stuck on the car. I did all the things listed here. I tried them all. I used all kinds of tools mentioned here. It took cutting the gasket with a razor and a large pair of needle nose pliers. The oil filter did get ripped from the bottom from trying the screwdriver method. I had to tear it off with vice grip pliers I had to buy them. I used needle nose pliers and they worked when you place them in the the holes in the bottom of the oil filter. It started moving. I remember if you see movement, it is progress. I kept turning left( counter clockwise) and it loosened up. Once it started moving, it came off. I was relieved! I then changed the oil. I made sure I put a little oil on the top of the filter and I screwed it on by hand.

    Thank you guys!

  268. T-Money says:

    This thread is GOLDEN!!!@
    After playing with one of the tightest oil filters I’ve ever come across I read this thread.

    The next morning I came prepared Sandpaper, Tape, Goo Gone, Penetrating oil, Filter Wrench, hammer, wood, acetone, and I drank an extra cup of milk.

    My advice is it’s not just one thing that will remove the filter it’s a combination.
    Use the Goo gone and penetrating oil on top of the filter or any way for it to get onto the seal and break it down. With a rubber mallet or wood and a hammer tap the filter.

    Continue this at least 5 times tapping the filter each time you add some goo gone and penetrating oil to vibrate it deeper into the seal.

    After 15minutes wrap the filter with sand paper the coarser the better I used 80 Grit. Then tape over the sand paper. Make it as tight as possible. I cleaned the filter with acetone to ensure it would stick.

    Now put the filter wrench on I used a three prong filter wrench that got tighter the more you turned. I found it worked better than any other wrench ( I did buy around 4-5 new ones because nothing was working lol)

    And then tug with all the power God and this earth gave you. HUGE TIP: Envision the filter will move. You have to Visualize it moving before it actually does. Sounds crazy but after hours trying to get a filter off take all the advice, you can.

    The reason this works is if you don’t think it’s gonna work it won’t. If you truly in your heart think that the filter will come off and you will be the one to do it. THEN YOU WILL FIND A WAY!

    Anyways, in the end, i won and I hope you win as well for there is nothing better than watching the filter turn. It’s better than sex.

  269. Ron Christian says:

    The Goo Off idea worked like a charm on a filter that was not coming off after buying three different types of removal tools. I didn’t like the idea of using the screwdriver. I could just see it tearing the filter apart, leaving me an even bigger mess and an even bigger problem. About ten minutes of liberally applied Goo Off, and the filter pliers finally budged it. THANK YOU! They could sell that stuff for twice the price and just call it oil filter remover juice.

  270. Kalle says:

    So nothing you said worked for me. Even my screwdriver broke in half..

  271. Jae Sun says:

    Throughout all my years as a mechanic I have yet to run into any stuck filters.. at most it would be the rubber gasket getting stuck and not coming off with the filter. Honestly it’s probably all the crappy aftermarket filters that people put on when they do their own oil changes, because they think it’s a better filter than OEM ones.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s