Oil Filter Won't Come Off

Oil Filter Won’t Come Off – How To Remove A Stubborn Oil Filter?

Are you having trouble with removing your oil filter from the car? The oil filter won’t come off? If this is the situation you are in, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything you need to know to remove this oil filter.

Having a problem like this can be a really frustrating thing to deal with. The oil filter is such an important device that helps filtrate the oil inside of the engine but the design is so not user friendly. And has been like this for decades.

There are a ton of people like you who are having big trouble removing the oil filter from the engine and we understand your struggle. Luckily, there are some tricks that you can pull off to remove the oil filter from your car. But more on that, we are going to cover later in this article. The important thing for you is that you can do this at home using common tools and only a bit of ingenuity. That’s why we are going to help you out.

First, we will start from the basics, we will learn what is an oil filter and why it is so important. Then we will cover the types of oil filters that are out there and we will also discuss the replacement interval. Later on, we will cover the oil filter won’t come off and we will learn why is this the case and how to remove it. So, if you want to learn how to sort this problem out, follow along.

What Is An Oil Filter?

Before we delve into the complexity of the topic of why the oil filter won’t come off, let’s discuss some of the basics and learn what is an oil filter in general terms. This will be extra handy for beginners who are not familiar with this component. If you are feeling that you are well prepared, you can move to the following chapters, if not, keep up with us for a bit longer.

Now, what does this filter really do? Well, an oil filter is a device that is installed on each internal combustion engine that is running oil to lubricate the components.

This device is essential because, without it, there will be nothing there to collect all the debris that is accumulated inside of the engine. Whether it is some gasket material that broke off or metal shavings from the wear and tear of the engine. This component does its job really well and collects this stuff and keeps the engine health in check.

But what does the oil filter looks like? The oil filter usually is a cylindrically shaped component that is usually mounted at the bottom of the engine, and sometimes it is even mounted on top. Depending on the type that we will cover later on.

The important thing for you to note is that this cylindrical-shaped device is often painted and really differentiates from other components in the engine. So, it is really easy to tell if this is a filter, even for beginners. So, telling where the oil filter is located, is a simple job to do. But why the oil filter won’t come off? We will get to that in a bit after we learn why the filter is so important.

Why Is The Oil Filter Is So Important?

Another topic that we would want to elaborate on before we learn why the oil filter won’t come off is the importance of this component. Beginners need to learn the cruciality of this oil filter and in this chapter, we are going to elaborate a bit more on that.

This is an extremely important component. As we already explained above, this component is collecting all the dirt and grime that is collected inside of the oil. During the work of the engine, there is small debris created from different gasket materials, rubber seals, and metal shavings from the regular wear and tear of the engine. Meaning that this component has a lot of work to do and this work has to be done in the right manner.

This device basically prevents the engine from increased wear and tear. If there were no oil filters, the engine components would wear at about 30,000 miles. Instead of the engine to last 150,000+ miles, which is the average engine life with proper maintenance.

So, you understand how crucial are the oil changes as well as the filter changes. They basically make your engine last for longer.

If you don’t replace the filter or the engine oil, the first components that will suffer will be the rod bearings and piston rings. The rod knock will be imminent if you keep the engine in this condition.

So, it is of utmost cruciality for these components to be replaced and serviced on time. But why the oil filter won’t come off? We will get to that in a bit after we learn the different types of oil filters.

Types Of Oil Filters

Now before we dive into why the oil filter won’t come off, let’s address another important topic. And that is the different types of oil filters. Yep, that’s right, there are two important types of oil filters that you need to be aware of if you want to get the right filter for your model.

Oil Filter Won't Come Off

It is important to note that not every oil filter bolts onto every vehicle. So, you will have to find the specific one for your car. But what are the different types of oil filters out there? Well, that’s what we are going to cover next.

Spin On Oil Filter

Before we cover the topic of oil filter won’t come off, let’s cover the first type of oil filters that are out there.

These oil filters are the ones you probably associate the oil filter name with. Namely because of their design. These filters are spin on. Meaning that you just spin them onto the engine block and that’s it.

These filters have the housing on them. The housing is made out of metal and inside there is the cardboard filter. On top of the oil filter, there is a rubber gasket that makes the seal and prevents the oil from leaking out.

These filters are the most commonly used in a variety of different applications. But since recently, some carmakers started to dispose of them off and started implementing something known as a cartridge filter. And that we are going to cover next before we dive into why the oil filter won’t come off.

Cartridge Oil Filter

The next type of oil filter before we learn why the oil filter won’t come off is the cartridge type of oil filter.

These oil filters started to be implemented by car manufacturers in recent years. Mostly by European carmakers but soon quickly other carmakers followed. And for a reason. It is very cheap.

These oil filters do not have metal housing on them. They only implement the filtration material attached to a plastic cartridge.

They mount in a special housing on the engine and these filters are covered by a big cap which is removable with a socket wrench.

Really ingenious design that is cheap and also more effective than the standard spin-on filters. These filters are much cheaper to produce and also cheaper to purchase. Making them ideal if you are an advocate for more frequent oil changes.

When it comes to downsides, there are not any. The only difference when it comes to these filters is that they are mounted at the top of the engine. Unlike the spin-on that is mounted at the bottom of the engine. This makes them far more reachable and easier to remove and install. Overall, a great design. But what about the oil filter won’t come off? We’ll get to that in a bit after we cover the replacement interval.

Oil Filter Replacement Interval

Now before we learn why the oil filter won’t come off, let’s discuss another important topic. And the topic is the filter replacement interval. And this is one of the most important things that every car owner should be aware of, that’s why we dedicate a separate chapter specifically to this issue. Since a lot of owners do not perform their service correctly. So, what is the right filter replacement interval? Let’s elaborate.

The replacement interval should be whenever you replace your oil. This most often is somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 miles. Or 6,000 miles on older cars.

Whenever you replace your oil, the filter also has to come off because if you don’t replace it, you only did half of the job done.

Many people have the trouble of removing this component and they are stuck with the problem of the oil filter won’t come off. So, they give up and they just leave it as it is. Something which is not recommended to do and this could potentially harm your engine.

The engine likes to have fresh oil and a clean filter. If you leave it like this, it will get clogged after a few thousand miles and you will not have oil filtration at all. Leaving all the dirt and debris to enter into the internals of the engine and potentially damage components like the rod bearings, piston rings.

The wear and tear could be so large that the engine will simply fail prematurely. If the engine was rated to last 150,000 miles, with a service like this it would barely push above 100,000. And this is not good. You should learn why the oil filter won’t come off and solve the problem.

Oil Filter Won’t Come Off Why Does It Happen?

So the oil filter won’t come off, it won’t even budge a bit. Why does this happen? Why were you the one to have this specific problem and the inability to remove the oil filter from your engine?

The important thing is to not get desperate because you are not the only one. There are thousands of people each day that have the same struggle and cannot remove this filter. But why is this the case? What makes this component so difficult to remove and causes a lot of trouble for owners to remove this filter? Let’s elaborate.

The first thing why the oil filter won’t come off is because it was overtightened. Meaning that the man who installed it previously has overtightened it. Many people do this because they believe that the filter will start to leak. Which isn’t the case. These filters should not be overtightened too much because removing them later will be a complete pain.

The second reason why the oil filter won’t come off is that the filter was not oiled before installation. As you know, you should put some oil on the rubber ring to make it seal well, if you don’t put oil, the filter will stick to the engine block and will be extremely difficult to remove later on.

And the third and last reason why oil filter won’t come off is that this component spends a lot of time there. And as time passes the filter basically becomes one with the engine. Removing it could be a real pain. That’s why it is recommended to replace it once a year or every two years. But how you can remove oil filter won’t come off? Let’s see up next.

How To Remove An Oil Filter That Won’t Come Off?

Now let’s see what you can do when oil filter won’t come off? What are the logical steps that you need to take if you want to remove this annoying oil filter and do your oil change? That’s what we are going to elaborate on up next.

Oil Filter Won't Come Off

Our methods are only for spin-on filters. Meaning that if you have a cartridge filter, they will not work. Cartridge filters are removable with the help of a socket wrench and they are much easier to access. Nothing too special. What is the real problem are the spin-on filters that are located at the bottom of the engine and are extremely difficult to get access to.

So, if you want to learn more about how this work of removing a filter that won’t come off is done, follow us while we cover these different methods in the next chapters.

1. Use Special Socket Wrench

The first method for removing an oil filter won’t come off that we are going to cover is the method that requires using a special socket wrench.

There are a number of wrenches and tools that are out there and give you the ability to remove an oil filter won’t come off.

Remember that the filter has a hex shape at the bottom and these socket wrenches are a tight fit and you will be able to easily remove this filter with simple or no effort.

These special wrenches cost some money. But if you decide to do all the oil flushes on your car at home by yourself, this is a great investment that will pay off eventually.

Investing in these tools is a no-brainer. Your investment will be returned after you make 2 or 3 oil changes to your car. That’s why it is worth trying this first for the oil filter won’t come off problem. Now let’s move to the second method.

2. Sand Paper Method

Another method for the oil filter won’t come off problem is to try using sandpaper as leverage.

This will be quite handy because oil filters are extremely greasy and your hands are probably going to slide if you try to remove the filter with your hand or with a regular microfiber towel.

So, in this case, your best bet would be to get sandpaper. You probably have it in your garage. Then place the sandpaper with the friction material around the filter and try to spin the filter and remove it.

Remember, for removing the filter you need to move your hand counterclockwise. If you move your hand clockwise you will tighten the filter even more. And the problem of the oil filter won’t come off will be even greater than it actually is. So, beware of this.

If the filter isn’t tightened too much, it will easily come off. But if it’s too tight, you might want to try a different method that is more persuasive and that we will discuss next.

3. Screwdriver Method

When you are facing a problem with an oil filter won’t come off, you might be wanting to try the screwdriver method. This method will work 100%. You might damage the filter permanently. But this has to be done if you want to get rid of it.

The only thing for this method you are going to need is a hammer and a long screwdriver. Not too long. But somewhat a medium size.

And also, beware of the surroundings of the filter, you don’t want to damage something that you cannot fix later. And trust me, there are a ton of things around this oil filter like the oil pan and other important bits that could get damaged. So, how this is done in practice?

It is quite simple and straightforward. You just get your screwdriver and the hammer. You poke a hole through the filter and you basically use the metal casing of the filter as leverage while moving the screwdriver counterclockwise to unscrew the filter. That’s it, what is good with this method is that it works 99% of the time. If you are in that 1%, you might want to learn the next method for removing the oil filter won’t come off.

4. Belt Method For Removing Oil Filter That Won’t Come Off

Now let’s discuss our last method for removing the filter won’t come off. This is another good method for the removal of a filter without destroying it. That’s why you might want to try it if you don’t want to be covered with splashes of oil. So, what this method includes?

This method is dead easy to implement. For this, you will only need a belt. Any strong belt would do the trick. It doesn’t matter if it is a car belt or a belt that you use to tighten your trousers. The second thing you will need is vice grips, also known as locking pliers. Vice grips are essential to tighten up the belt. But how this method works in practice?

It is dead easy. You just put the belt around the filter and lock it in place with the vice grips. This will give you a lot of leverage for you to be able to remove the filter. Then just push counter-clockwise and the oil filter should pop off right away.

What is good with this method is that you can use it also for tightening the belt as well. Tightening it like this will be a much safer alternative than tightening it by hand. You just tighten the filter by hand at first and then you can move to placing the belt around the filter and turning it clockwise this time.

The belt should be tightened up to spec and you will be good to go. No more oil filter won’t come off problem on your car and you will be basically good for another 10,000 miles till your next oil service.

Conclusion To Oil Filter Won’t Come Off

In this article we have covered the problem of the oil filter won’t come off. This is a problem that bothers a lot of people around and we learned how to solve it.

First, we started from the basics and we then learned what this component is and the different types of filters. Then we elaborated more on the problem and we also went deeper and learned how this problem could be solved.

We listed a few different methods, one method implements a special socket key for removing oil filters. The other method implements poking a hole through the filter with a screwdriver and the third method is by using a belt. All of these methods work. It really depends on how persistent you are to be able to remove this stubborn component.

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1 Comment

  • Joe Says

    The screwdriver method is a last resort but that doesn’t always work because there isn’t enough clearance to do it or the filter casing just rips. My most desperate solution was punching two holes in the end and inserting the ends of a pair of pliers, then wedging a bar between the handles for leverage.
    Thank goodness for the return of cartridge filters. Yes the has them until the 50’s.
    Working on cars is fun until it isn’t!

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