Are you looking for an oil filter wrench to help get that stubborn filter loose? Sometimes I think engineers spend their coffee breaks plotting how they can put the oil filters in the most difficult areas to reach on a vehicle. And even if you can manage to get a grip on the oil filter it is at such an odd angle you can’t get any leverage to budge it. Fortunately there are several different kinds of oil filter wrenches that could aid you in what should be a simple task.
Adjustable oil filter wrenches work very well as long as there is enough space to use them. You need to have enough room to be able to slip this tool over the end of the filter and have a ratchet attached to the back to turn the wrench. We have come across instances in the past where this wrench just wouldn’t fit in the available space we had.
If you can use it, they perform well. Being adjustable means it will fit a variety of oil filters. They do make different sized adjustable wrenches so you might measure any filters you plan on using this tool on so you can ensure you get the correct size. We have two different ones in our tool box to cover a variety of of filter sizes.
While there are different variations of this wrench, they all function in a similar manner. Adjustable jaws, teeth, or fluted sides grip the outside of the oil filter and turn it as you rotate the ratchet. If the oil filter is greasy and dirty you may want to choose one of these that have some teeth to provide better grip than just a smooth surface which can slip some in extreme circumstances.
Rubber Strap Wrench
We have had a pair of rubber strap wrenches in our tool box for decades. While they are certainly not the first tool we grab when dealing with a stuck oil filer they have been the tool that saved the day in the end. Most rubber strap wrenches work by looping a rubber strap around the wrench and back in through the handle. You must wrap the strap around in the right way so that the flat end of the handle pushes against the oil filter as your rotate applying the increase in force to loosen the oil filter. There are some strap wrenches that utilize other components instead of rubber but work in the same manner.
A rubber strap wrench set usually includes two different sizes to cover a variety of oil filters but some are sold individually. Although you may be able to slip the strap over your filter in a tighter space you will still need room to get a grip on the handle and the ability to provide enough leverage to use the tool. A greasy, dirty filter could also impact the gripping ability of the rubber strap as it wraps around the filter.
Oil Filter Pliers
Oil filter pliers are like a giant set of Channellock pliers. Their large opening jaws wrap around the filter and grip into it as you squeeze them closed. Most have fairly aggressive teeth on the jaws to aid in gripping into the body of the filter to hold it as you apply pressure to rotate it off.
Similar to the rubber straps, you will need room to rotate or swing these pliers around in order to remove the oil filter. So if you are limited in that area you may look at the adjustable wrenches where you can come at it from the end of the filter.
The swivel oil filter wrench is very similar to the rubber strap wrench in how it works. Where it differs is what it is made out of and its ability to swivel. Swivel wrenches will have a metal band in place of the rubber strap and the joint can swivel up to 180 degrees to allow it to reach in varying angles and locations. Often the inside of the metal band will have additional rough spots of material to aid in gripping the oil filter during removal. Some swivel wrench
With this metal band comes the limitation of having a fixed size range of which filters this tool can remove where the rubber straps are usually instantly adjustable to many sizes. Some swivel tools will have multiple points of adjustments to increase the size range, but you may find yourself needing 2-3 of these wrenches to cover a wide variety of oil filter sizes.
Which oil filter wrench do you need?
If your only changing oil in one or two vehicles we suggest you take a close look at the oil filters on both vehicles and determine what might work for you in both scenarios. Hopefully you can get by with one tool for both applications. If your changing oil often throughout the year on multiple vehicles and equipment then you may be like us and end up with a variety of these tools in your cabinet or tool box. Where one doesn’t work, another one just might!