Despite being as small as a coffee mug, the oil filter is the life-blood of your car’s engine. It is one of the most underrated components of your vehicle, located right next to the engine block. What does an oil filter do? It is responsible for clearing out any large impurities in the engine oil that have the capability of damaging components.
Dirt, debris, metal shavings, and large particles can be suspended in the oil. When left unfiltered, these contaminants can wear down engine bearings and cause low oil pressure. Over time, this results in major engine damage. To prevent abrasive wear and improve engine service life, it is imperative to replace your oil filter regularly. This is where the best oil filter wrench comes in handy.
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What Is An Oil Filter Wrench?
The abrasive contaminants in engine oil can clog the filter to an extent that it causes dirty oil to circulate around the engine. A clogged filter creates resistance to the flow of oil in the engine. This prevents the lubrication from reaching all vital components of the engine. Subsequently, you need to replace the oil filter. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not necessary to change your oil filter every 3,000 miles.
Check the owner’s manual to figure the correct duration and equipment for oil filter replacement. There’s nothing more annoying than when you’re prepared for replacing your oil filter only to discover it’s jammed too tightly and you don’t have the correct tool to loosen it. An oil-filter wrench tool can help you remove any type of oil filter. The wrench allows you to grip the canisters of the oil filter, allowing for easy removal.
Oil Filter Wrench Choices
Different engines use varied types of oil filters that you might find difficult to remove with one type of oil filter wrench. Read on to learn about your options when it comes to oil filter wrenches.
This oil filter wrench utilizes a firm metal band at each side to a handle with a looped band that is positioned around the filter. You have to turn the handle of the wrench counter-clockwise, which puts tension on the band. This process allows the metal band wrench to easily grip onto a jammed filter for removal. It has a pivoting adjustment hinge and a handle for taking out varied types of oil filters from complicated or tough spots.
One kind of band wrench even has an additional hinge for the handle. This type is most popularly used for older cars, as it allows for better positioning in restricted areas. You can also find a 4-in-1 metal band wrench that features a single swivel handle assembly and 4 exchangeable bands to accommodate filter sizes ranging from 2-3/8 to 4-3/8.
Socket (End Cap)
This common type of oil filter wrench utilizes a metal or plastic socket-shaped cup, positioned around the end of the filter. This engages the knurling necessary for easy filter removal. It features a ratchet likes a regular socket that can get stuck around the filter. This form of wrench requires a whack in order to release a particular item. It is most preferred if you don’t enough clearance around the oil filter for using a pliers, chain, strap, or band wrench type. You can get the socket wrench in many different sizes. In some cases of a recessed oil filter, this is the only wrench that can come in handy. BMW and Volkswagen Group require this type of wrench for removing their filters.
A strap wrench is a preferred choice for SUVs, pickup trucks, and other large vehicles that might be using an oil filter with broad diameters up to 6” (152mm). A 1/2” square drive tool requires you to turn the bar for tightening the strap that grips the filter. This makes it incredibly easy for removing tough and jammed oil filters of large engines that are a hassle to replace. However, just to be sure you’re using the right tool; make sure to consult the owner’s manual.
The chain loop wrench is similar to the strap wrench. However, the only difference between the two is that this type uses a chain rather than a nylon strap. The loop of the chain is positioned to wrap around the filter completely. A hexagonal bar is utilized to spin counter-clockwise by hand movement until the chain is tight all around the filter. This chain wrench is perfect for those oil filters that are extremely greasy. The metal filter housing and the teeth formed by the structure of the chain avoids slippage, making the filter easier to grip. The best part of all: the wrench is available in a wide variety of filter sizes.
Regular oil filter wrench pliers feature extended dual handles for ensuring the easy removal of filters. Most pliers are forged from high-strength steel for extra durability. They also have a plastisol-coated handle for a stronger grip. Pliers feature (non-variable) adjustable jaws and produce power for very difficult filters. You can choose one from different sizes like 3-5/8", which can be used for removing many different filters ranging from 2-15/16 to 3-5/8" (75 to 92mm). Larger filter pliers can be used for detaching oil filters from 4-1/2 to 5-3/4".
Spider (Claw, Jaw)
Spider oil filter wrenches feature an adjustable gear-driven mode. It has two clamping legs, twin jaw plates, and three geared metal prongs with a similar configuration to pliers. This wrench can be used with a 3/8" ratchet driver and can be rotated counter-clockwise for squeezing the filter body tighter for easy removal. Spider wrenches are available in two types: claw and jaw. The difference can be noticed in their method of grabbing the filter. Regardless of which one you choose, spider wrenches are beneficial for filters that are housed within a confined space.
How To Determine The Right Wrench Choice
The kind of wrench you choose particularly depends on the filter size, how much room you have surrounding the filter, and how tightly the filter is connected. For example, if the area is cramped, you may find good capability with a socket type or spider type filter wrench. These wrenches are designed to help owners remove those cramped oil filters that just won’t get out. If space is not really an issue, you can easily use a band or pliers wrench for removing the oil filter. Typically, you will be required to try out various types before actually finding one that suits your needs.
The 5 Best Oil Filter Wrenches Reviewed
This oil-filter wrench tool is the perfect choice for removing spin-on type oil filters. They have the cylindrical canisters that make it easy to grip the oiliest of the oil filter lot. Using a “claw” type method of grappling onto the oil filter, this wrench boasts a ratchet driver and three geared metal prongs. In order to make the prongs clench the filter harder, you have to move the driver in an anti-clockwise motion using the gears. The INNOVANT wrench is quite useful in confined spaces, which cannot be reached by strap or chain type.
- Clenches the oil filter tightly, preventing slippage
- The reversible feature makes it a rare product
- It can easily be used to remove different size filters
- Commonly used in a professional dealership setting
- Includes a 1/2 to 3/8's adapter
- Difficult to handle. Could puncture filter, if you haven’t used it before.
This wrench from XtremepowerUS has the capability of fitting oil filters up to the 2-1/2" to 4" diameter. It has 3 jaws that can be used for strongly clenching onto filters, preventing slippage. It has a comfort grip that enables you to access oil filters in all types of engines. It can fit most of the standard oil filters available in the market and can make it easier to loosen filters and tighten new ones. Even the most overly tightened filters can’t beat this filter wrench remover. It bites and hooks onto any filter like a pit-bull!
- Makes oil changes easier
- Removes filters without damage
- Can be used for installing new filters
- Fits filters up to 2-1/2" to 4” diameter
- Each arm has gears
- Difficult to use
These oil filter wrench pliers from TEKTON are 12” in size and have the capability of fitting filters up to 4-1/2-inches in diameter. It utilizes a three-position slip joint design that can easily be adjusted in size for hooking onto varied sized oil filters. The wrench plier even features large teeth that can provide a strong grip on slippery, oil-covered filters. These teeth can be set at different angles to bit in either direction. For extra convenience, the TEKTON oil filter wrench comes equipped with non-slip, soft grips on the long handles. These offer extra leverage and reach in tight places where band-style wrenches can’t.
- Offers nonslip control via comfortable grips
- Long handles can allow for reaching into tight spaces
- Easily adjustable via three-position slip joint design
- Teeth can grip oil filters from different angles
- Can easily fit oilers filters up to 4-1/2 inches in diameter
- Tends to crush filter housings slightly
The 63600-oil filter tool from Lisle is one of the best options in the marketplace. The wrench has the capability of automatically tightening to oil filters of different sizes, making it a universal tool. The only catch is it can be used only for removing filters. Therefore, you cannot install a new oil filter and tighten it into the proper place. To use the tool, you need to pull the two clamp pieces away from each other. This stretches the springs and allows you to place the wrench over the filters easily. When you let, the springs pull the clamps together on the filters.
- A wonder for removing filters in tight spots
- Steel jaws grip filters without slipping
- Fits most common 3-inch domestic car filters
- Easy to use and handle
- Slippage issues
- Better "one size fits all" solutions out there
The Motivx Tools adjustable oil filter wrench comes equipped with the remarkable build quality and high-strength metal for hooking onto any type of filter. It is built to last and features excellent customer service and warranty. The jaws of the wrench are made out of strong nickel-plated 4130 chrome steel, which are attached to a 3/8” solid steel top plate. The wrench doesn’t boast the outdated and flimsy .020” spring found on other wrenches. It uses a .050” capture spring that offers universal fit. However, like all wrenches of this style, you cannot use it on plastic cartridge style housings.
- Features a .050” captured spring
- Perfect for spin-off canister style oil filters
- Jaws built from nickel-plated 4130 chrome steel
- Backed up with a 1-year warranty
- Can’t be used on cartridge style housings
- Only used for removal of oil filters
Are you going through a tough time selecting the best oil filter wrench from the above five? If so, then don’t waste any more time contemplating and go for the INNOVANT Adjustable 3 Jaw Oil Filter Wrench Tool. The product offers the best capability out of most oil filter wrenches and is available for a reasonable price. It can be used for removing and installing oil filter wrenches and boasts good ratings from many reviewers. It is perfect for both: DIY and professional dealership settings.