How to Remove a Stubborn Oil Filter

Add a strip of coarse sandpaper to stop filter wrench slipping

Get a better grip on stuck oil filters by adding a strip of coarse sandpaper to your oil filter wrench...or buy a special high-grip wrench.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Get a better oil filter grip

We’ve all done it—overtightened an oil filter so much that it’s a bear to remove. If you think you can remove it by jamming a long screwdriver through the can and twisting, think again. The screwdriver will just rip the can open and you’ll be drenched in oil. When you’re done dealing with that mess, the filter will still be stuck and you’ll be even more frustrated.

To remove a stuck filter, use a band-type wrench that you’ve lined with coarse-grit adhesive-back sandpaper (top photo). Or spray adhesive on the back of conventional sandpaper. Better yet, buy a filter wrench with coarse grit welded to the inside of the band (bottom photo). The Lisle Swivel-Gripper No-Slip filter wrenches are available in five sizes and cost about $12. They are available at amazon.com. Slide the filter wrench band all the way down near the base of the filter. Then tighten it and twist.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Utility knife

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

  • Adhesive-backed sandpaper, coarse grit