When performing vehicle maintenance at home, one of the most frustrating things to encounter is an oil filter that will not unscrew from its base. Given the oil filter's often cramped position on the engine,this task is made doubly aggravating by preventing the ability to add torque tothe oil filter. With a few simple tools and some preparation, this task is made much simpler.
The universal oil filter wrench is the most convenient method of breaking loose old oil filters. Its design is simple and efficient: a three- orfour-pronged adjustable claw that is fitted over the oil filter, with ahexagonal nut in the center to facilitate turning with a wrench or socket. Thiswrench is very useful in cramped spaces, as it can be paired with several kindsof socket extensions to allow torque to be applied from outside the crampedarea. Another version of this type of wrench consists of a metal sleeve thatfits around the outside of the oil filter.
Never attempt to pry a stuck oil filter loose. Using a screwdriver orother inappropriate tool will permanently damage the interior screw threads ofthe engine. Yanking or applying force from any angle will cause these threadsto warp and prevent future oil filters from fitting properly, leading to oilleaks and necessitating extensive repair.
Never attempt to remove an oil filter barehanded. Most oil filters comewith a special layer of grip tape along the top, similar in texture to roughsandpaper, which can cause injury to the hands. Always use leather work glovesif attempting to remove the oil filter by hand.
Never attempt to change the oil or filter while the engine is hot. Oilchanges should only be performed when the engine is cool. This will prevent anyinjury caused by hot engine oil, and will make the task much easier. Bothrubber and metal expand when heated, so allowing the engine to cool downbeforehand will relieve some of the pressure on the gasket between the oilfilter and the engine.