The Best Way to Change Oil with an Oil Filter Wrench

There are a number of reasons you should change the oil in your engine for better performance results, ranging from ridding your engine of unwanted debris and dirt to improving the quality of your oil. During a routine oil change, you will need to rely on a handful of tools, such as a wrench or socket, a drain pan, rags, and of course, new oil. It is also wise to work with protective safety gear like gloves and glasses. That being said, using an oil wrench requires more specific attention to detail than other tools used during an oil change, so for your better knowledge, this blog will explore how to use, as well as how not to use, an oil filter wrench.

When changing the oil in an engine’s filter, the oil filter may be stuck stubbornly in place. As such, there are a number of oil filter wrenches one may choose from. Despite varying designs, all oil filters and caps use right-hand threads; this requires wrenches that can grip clockwise for tightening and counterclockwise for loosening. Interestingly, some tools are designed to only grip counterclockwise for loosening, so all oil filter wrench designs are unique in their ability to perform the opposite task. Within this category of wrench design, there are seven major categories of wrenches that may be used for oil filters: end cap, claw, band, strap, and chain wrenches.

The first of these—end cap filter wrenches—are fitted to a single filter size and work specifically for one application. The cap is fitted to the filter and the wrench works specifically to loosen this cap. Meanwhile, universal claw-type wrenches offer two or three claw variations per tool for gripping the oil filter. The more you turn the wrench, the tighter its claws grip the filter. Some claw-type wrench designs rely on spring-loaded wrenches to lessen the manual force required from the operator’s hand. Band wrenches are designed to work with a number of oil filter sizes, working in one direction, either designed with a swivel handle for tight workspaces or requiring a ratchet.

Strap wrenches use a flexible strap for gripping the filter, and they may have a handle. Given their simple design, they may grip the filter in either direction, but it is important to clean both the wrench and the workpiece prior to use to prevent slippage. Meanwhile, chain wrenches grip the filter by the means of a strong chain link for wrapping around the filter, and some work in both directions. Still other options for loosening the cap of your oil filter are pliers or classic wrenches and ratchets. Oil filter pliers spread the force over three or four points to improve grip and limit slip, but need more clearance to use. At the same time, a classic wrench or ratchet may be employed to loosen a spin-on oil filter or canister filter with a hex lug, square lug, or a hole.

All of these options in mind, there are a few applications in which to avoid using your oil filter wrench. First, they should not be used for the installation of your oil filter because this process needs very little torque. Next, it is better to use a torque wrench for installing parts like canister filters that could break from overtightening. In fact, most oil filter torque is light, ranging from 10 to 20 foot-pounds.

With all of this in mind, procuring the correct oil filter wrench for your applications is made simple by Integrated Parts Sourcing. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are a leading online distributor of over 2 billion items from approved vendors around the world. Offering rapid lead times and competitive pricing on all of our top-quality parts, submit a Request for Quote (RFQ) form today to kick off the procurement process for any item(s) that pique your interest. To learn more, contact us at any time via phone or email!


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