Last Updated on April 21, 2020 by Tim
Oil filters can be finicky things. Hand-tightened, the filter cap will continue to tighten every time the car is run.
Having an oil filter wrench on-hand can really help with those periodic oil changes.
Much like the filter casings themselves, oil filter wrench sizes vary, although some can be adjusted to fit multiple diameters of the casing.
Even the best oil filter wrench may not work for every vehicle as some manufacturers’ oil filter casings are a bit more unique. These tools come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, each having their own perks and flaws.
The following six wrenches are just a sample of what’s available but are among the most versatile choices for when you need an oil filter removal tool that actually works.
Tip: For the easiest oil change, get yourself some sturdy car ramps, a pair of chocks, a comfortable creeper, and some rags (or better yet, some good car wipes). Unless your ramps don’t allow enough room to work under the car, a hydraulic jack is not necessary.
Our 6 Favorite Oil Filter Wrenches
|Tekton 5866||Claw||2.25 to 4.5 Inches|
|Motivx Tools MX2330||Socket||2.5 to 3.25 Inches|
|Motivx Tools MX2320||Socket||64mm Toyota-specific|
|Channellock 209||Claw||1.75 to 3.5 Inches|
|Craftsman 51121SA706||Socket||2.5 to 4.75 Inches|
|Lisle 63600||Socket||2.5 to 3.125 Inches|
Oil Filter Wrench Reviews
The long, non-slip hands and large, right-angled teeth ensure a sturdy grip every time, while the three-position slip joint fits a wide range of oil filters from 2.25 to 4.5 inches in diameter.
A 16-inch version of these pliers is also available which has a max diameter of 5.5 inches.
With its high compatibility, this is perhaps the best universal oil filter wrench on the market.
Even Harley Davidson owners have reported using this to remove their oil filter without issue.
The grip is strong enough that it can remove cans that feel like they were welded on.
On the downside, the teeth on this wrench are very sharp and can scratch or even puncture your filter cap if too much pressure is applied.
Use a towel or piece of cloth to help prevent potential damage. Also, note the minimum diameter, as other websites often omit this important detail.
This socket-style wrench is perfect for most canister filters. Capable of adjusting to fit diameters ranging from 2.5 to 3.25 inches, this wrench can reach casings on a wide variety of difficult-to-reach vehicle filters, including the Polaris Ranger.
A thick 0.50-inch spring maintains tension, and the teeth of this wrench’s jaws keep a strong grip. The reach of this wrench is directly related to the size of the ratchet handle you attach, so it will always be just the right length.
Learning from the flaws in the popular Lisle brand filter wrench, Motivx’s MX2330 surpasses the expectations of many long-time Lisle users.
Unfortunately, size can be a problem for this wrench. Many filter caps are larger than 3.25 inches, and the general shape can make it difficult to fit on a few vehicles.
Additionally, this wrench cannot be used on chrome plating or cartridge filters that have reusable housing.
Made from high quality 6061 T5 aluminum with an anodized finish, the tool will long outlast its one-year warranty.
By making manufacturer-specific sockets, Motivx has ensured this socket will work every time. If you have a Toyota, Lexus, or Scion with a 2.5L to 5.7L engine, there’s no other oil filter wrench that compares.
Note: For Toyota/Lexus/Scion cars with the 1.8L engine (Prius, Corrolla, etc.), use this version.
The great thing about buying a socket designed for specific brands of car is that it will work every time, even when other wrenches fail. The downside is that this socket has a tight, strong grip that can damage plastic caps if care isn’t used.
Overall, this is an excellent choice for most Toyota users and is also available in other manufacturer-specific versions including:
Its four positions can accommodate diameters of 1.75 to 3.5 inches, making this one of the best choices for smaller filters or in tight spaces.
The combination of high carbon C1080 steel and an electronic coating mean this tool will outlast most of your toolkit.
The ability to fit smaller filter casings makes this a top choice for many. It works well for many cars, especially those by Honda.
As with all claw-style wrenches, use a rag to prevent scratches and avoid making your grip too tight so you won’t dent or puncture the cap.
Able to fit both a 3/8 inch square driver ratchet and 3/4 inch wrench, it can grip filters ranging from 2.5 to 4.75 inches in diameter.
The wrench is designed to tighten as soon as torque is applied for a perfect grip every time, and the durable steel is coated in black oxide to help prevent rust.
One of the key features of this wrench is its ability to fit where other wrenches won’t. The automatic grip means minimal headache trying to get a firm hold on the cap.
Unfortunately, the claws are too short to easily work with some vertically-aligned filters that have curved bottoms.
Be aware that Neiko also makes an almost identical version of this wrench but the quality on that one isn’t quite up to par with the Craftsman.
This adjustable steel socket wrench will fit filter caps ranging from 2.5 to 3 ⅛ inches, making it compatible with most domestic cars, as well as many imports.
Its steel jaws give a firm grip with little or no slippage, even on oily covers.
In terms of a general-purpose filter socket, the 63600 works really well. A few users have complained about slippage, but the vast majority have had no issue.
Note that this wrench, as with all wrenches, won’t fit every single filter cap out there in its size range due to different filter designs.
Just knowing that there is a wide range of wrenches available specifically for oil filters doesn’t say much.
After all, filter caps are hand-tightened, and the average home mechanic may prefer to use generic tools as much as possible.
So why should you invest in an oil filter wrench, and how do you pick from all the different styles available?
Does oil filter need wrench?
As mentioned earlier, simply running your car will slowly cause the filter cap to tighten due to expansion and contraction.
In addition, filters tend to become greasy and grimy, making it difficult to get a solid grip on them. While removing a filter by hand is often doable, a dedicated oil filter wrench just makes things so much easier.
It can never be stressed enough that these wrenches should only be used to loosen an oil filter cap, and never to tighten one.
Tightening should always be done by hand, as using a wrench can cause permanent damage to the casing.
Are there any other types of oil filter removal tool or oil filter wrench available?
The filter wrenches listed here are either claw (plier) or socket wrenches. However, two other common designs exist.
Chain and Metal strap versions more closely resemble a noose than a wrench.
Both versions have a loop of material (either a chain or a smooth metal strap) that fits around the cap, as well as a handle for turning. These designs work fairly well on oil filters, but are highly specialized, making them the one-trick pony of your toolkit.
For this reason, we suggest sticking to the more versatile claw and socket styles.
How do I use an oil filter wrench?
Chain-strap wrenches have a loop of the chain which fits around the filter casing. The teeth of the chain allow a better grip on the cap. Turning the wrench counterclockwise causes friction, allowing the chain to pull the casing along, thus loosening it.
Claw wrenches resemble a normal wrench more closely than other types. These wrenches tend to have one side longer than the other and use teeth to grip the filter.
Turning these counter-clockwise will generally loosen the tightest filter casings, although they are also the most likely to cause damage than other types, thus it is less common to use an oil filter claw wrench with exposed caps, such as on motorcycles.
Metal strap-style wrenches are simple and effective. Slip the strap over your oil filter casing with the back of the handle facing counter-clockwise. Turn the handle counter-clockwise to loosen the filter.
You can turn the handle clockwise if you run out of the room. Once the filter casing is loose, slip the strap back off of the casing and unscrew by hand.
Socket-Style wrenches attach to the bottom of the oil filter casing and generally use a ⅜ inch ratchet handle.
Set the handle to turn counter-clockwise and turn it to loosen the casing so that it can be removed by hand.
Other oil filter wrench may be a bit messier to use especially if they puncture the oil filter case.
Make sure you lay down some cardboard to catch any oil drips. Otherwise, you’ll be spending some time having to remove oil stains from your garage floor.