Stuck Oil Filter - GRRRR

Well, after buying my new Jag brand filter, and related supplies, I finally took the plunge and, reaching down to unfasten the old (Mann) filter, could not get it to budge at all, no matter how hard I twisted. :angry:

So, I went to YouTube to see the different approaches to try in that situation. I probably watched several dozen such videos, providing at least a couple of dozen of different tools, methods, tips, approaches, jury-rigged gizmos, etc. to get the job done. :open_mouth: The one thing I walked away with from all those videos with is one burning question: assuming the PO put the last filter on correctly (fresh oil on gasket + HAND tightening only, 1/2 turn or so after P.O.C.) then how the hell do these filters get stuck on so tightly later on during their life? :rage: Seems a no-brainer - if hand-tightened on, it should come off by hand as well. :thinking: Yet here are all these vehicles, of different makes, models, sizes, mileage, age, etc. and in some cases the filter has to be outright destroyed to get it removed. :slightly_frowning_face:

Thoughts on this question, anyone?

I think its the heating and cooling that make it stick and hard to remove. I have a jeep grand Cherokee and the oil filler cap is plastic i put it on by hand but need a pair of channel locks and a lot of force to get it off .

As long as i have been changing my oil for 40 years, i tighten as much as possible by hand, and always need oil filter wrench to loosen. Pretty normal.

I have sometimes resorted to getting a big screwdriver and pounding it clean through the filter in order to get it loose.

Haven’t had to do that in a good long while, though. Is it because I’ve learned not to overtighten? Or is it because I own Japanese appliances these days, everything comes apart like it should?

Par for the course. I have the usual assortment of filter wrenches, but the best is a fabric strap wrench which wraps around the filter and , using a 1/2 inch ratchet, tightens up around the filter. Never fails, and fits every size, too.

When my wife had the '96 4.0 ragtop, ran into the same problem - none of the filter wrenches I had would get the filter loose even with the help of PB Blaster soaking and choice words. So, I did what Kirbert did - grabbed my biggest and longest screwdriver and drove it clear through the can near the base (be sure to have something to catch the oil) and it came loose with a good pull on the screwdriver handle - I took pleasure in the damage caused to the oil filter - its not reusable.

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TEKTON 5866 12-Inch Oil Filter Pliers

Serves me well

I think Atty was asking why he can’t remove oil filter by hand.

IMO, IF you could remove the oil filter by hand, then it was never installed tight enough.

I don’t know if it’s the rubber seal expanding with heat or what, but it’s SUPPOSED to be tight enough not to come off by hand.

My solution is kinda rough. Most respond to one of my filter wrenches. If not, I just drive a sharp punch through the sides and use it as a lever to pull it around. About half turn and it is free…

A plumber’s chain wrench is effective. Moreso than a soft strap.


60s - 80s was def a Ford vs Chevy allegiance here in the US. I was a Chevy guy. FORD stood for found on road dead. Chryslers were for losers. If you were AMC, weirdo!!!

GM in the U.K. was Vauxhall: Viva, Chevette, Cavalier, Senator & Insignia - none of which were even close to being good cars imho.

70s, 80s & 90s U.K. Fords (Escort, Capri Sierra etc etc) are now ridiculously expensive for mainstream cars - I just don’t get the asking prices.

Chevy/GM IMO had a better V8 and transmission. 350cuIn was bulletproof amazing engine. I had one in my Camaro. 454 was a powerplant. The TH350 and TH400 were also superior transmissions i think.

Problem is, the UK got the small inferior American cars. The bigger ones were where the quality was at. Escorts and Vegas were a joke here. Thats what you bought if you couldn’t afford a Camaro or Mustang, along with many other muscle cars.

Chevrolet was notorious for its inability to build a small car that was worth a #%^. A couple of things became obvious: 1) They put their good engineers on the bigger cars and trucks, and assigned the losers to the small cars; and 2) They clearly felt that small cars were not to be taken seriously, even offering them in silly pastel colors rather than anything approaching an attractive paint job. No thanks, I’ll buy my small cars from companies that are serious about building small cars.

GM eventually gave up and created an entirely new brand, Saturn, for building small cars. At least they took the job more seriously – until the recession of 2008 put them out of business.

Did you know, the AMC Gremlin came out in 1970 for $1800? In today’s dollar, that’s about $12,000. That must have been America’s Yugo!

Yep… and when that tips through the entire can, then ya get out the monster channel locks to grab the remaining top!

Good times, people!


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This is qualified by “I am serious” because it has worked on some of the craziest “stuck” issues for me:

Did you try soaking with WD-40?

If it looks “too dumb” apologies but I have been mildly amused over the years at its usefulness.

…and we have a root cause! (well done Greg).

If you think about the amount of load and compression on that narrow filter gasket - tightening by Johnny “Three Fingers” would do the trick without any leaks. Anyone ever seen leaking oil filter???

If your oil however - was chanfed by Johnny the “Clawfinger” (or Greg) - you will struggle.
Have you ever wondered why you’re placing engine oil on the seal prior to assemble?

Here comes precious secret: next time when you feel your filter is stuck - simply grab it and try to twist of, with moderate force and don’t quit, just hold it and slightly wobble. Usually starts to move after minute.
There is plenty of space in AJ6 to work - after taking air filter housing / MAF sensor out…

If doesn’t work - go straight to extreme measures - guitar string or piano wire :wink:

Ain’t just leaks, you don’t want that filter vibrating loose. Then you’ll sure get a leak. Jag says 3/4 turn after seating. I can barely do that with two hands.

Had a horrible case once. Unscrewed old filter, screwed on new filter, started it up, oil everywhere. Turned out the rubber seal on the old filter had been simply glued to the base, not crimped or anything. When it was removed, the seal stayed put! Then the new filter was screwed in on top of it, causing everything to get fupped. Couldn’t see any of this, this was one of those filter installations you do by feel. Anyhow, after the thing dumped oil everywhere, I took the new filter back out and looked at it to try to figure out where it was leaking. Didn’t see anything wrong, so I compared it to the old filter to see if it was the wrong filter. Then, and only then, did I notice the seal was missing from the old filter.

I don’t think I’ve seen a glued-on seal since. They all seem to be crimped on, even on the cheapest filters.

As to the original question, no, I’ve never seen a filter that had been properly installed leak. I’ve never seen one unscrew either.

I’ve had my share of issues with oil drain plugs, though. I won’t even try using those silly plastic washers with the tang hanging off any more. Not terribly thrilled with aluminum sealing washers, either.

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I did that too… exactly once. Once I cleaned up the mess, I never again screwed on a filter, w/o checking.