Oil filter wrenches are exactly as the name implies a tool for removing spin-on oil filters. These wrenches come in many different shapes and sizes, and most of them don’t look like wrenches at all. Oil filters should be put on and tightened by hand, but over time, heat and corrosion may make these filters difficult to remove, requiring a tool to make the job easier.
A common oil filter wrench is an oil filter cap wrench. As the name would suggest, it looks like a cap that fits on the end of the oil filter, with flat edges and a diameter that matches the oil filter it is being used for. The advantage of the oil filter cap wrench is that it fits tightly on the filter, and will grip well for very stubborn oil filters. A huge advantage is that the wrench has a square hole in the end designed for a 3/8” driver or extension to be inserted. This means that you don’t need a large space around the filter to remove it. In some of the compact cars today, this may be the only way to remove stubborn filters. The disadvantage is when the user changes multiple types and sizes of oil filters. Each oil filter cap wrench is designed for a very specific filter, and there are several different styles and sizes of filters on the market. This means that, with this type of wrench, you will need to buy a different wrench for each size filter you are working with. Often times, you can find a mechanics oil filter wrench set that will include all the oil filter cap wrenches for a specific manufacturer.
Adjustable Oil Filter Wrench
An adjustable oil filter wrench is the way to go when you are changing multiple types and sizes of filters, and don’t want to buy a different wrench for each filter. There are several different types of adjustable oil filter wrenches, so how do you know which one to use? Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones and see the advantages and disadvantages of each.
First, there is a chain adjustable wrench. This is a handle with a loop of chain attached. The chain is placed around the filter, and then the handle is turned until the chain pulls tight. The end of the handle will have a hole for inserting a socket wrench into, and then use the wrench to continue twisting, twisting the filter. The rough quality of the chain grips the filter. Typically, the filter will untwist before the chain punctures or crushes the filter. Occasionally, the user is not so lucky, and the filter can be punctured or crushed, resulting in a mess. This type of wrench is good because it is fully universal, in that it will fit on any size filter. The disadvantage is marring, crushing, or puncturing of the filter is possible if the filter is stubborn. Another disadvantage is that this type of wrench has been known to slip if the filter is wet with oil.
The next adjustable oil filter wrench is one that uses a metal band that is attached to a handle. The loop is placed around the filter. The handle is then pulled counterclockwise, simultaneously gripping the filter and turning it for removal. The advantage of this type of wrench is that it is much less likely to crush or puncture the filter. The disadvantage is that it requires enough room around the filter for the handle to be perpendicular to the filter and torqued. A variation on this type is wrench is the strap oil filter wrench that has a long rubberized strap that can be adjusted to accommodate almost any size oil filter. On many of the compact cars today, there simply may not be enough room.
The next type of adjustable oil filter wrench is a “claw” type of wrench. This type of wrench has a ste surface, as well as a spring-loaded pawl that grips various sizes of filters. As a 3/8” driver or extension is placed in the end and twisted counterclockwise the moving pawl grips tighter, pressing the filter against the other, stationary surfaces. This type of wrench is considered by some the be the best oil filter wrench because it combines the ability to remove filters in a tight spot (simply because it is a small oil filter wrench that grips the end of the filter) with the adjustability that allows it to be used on a wide variety of filters
The next type of oil filter wrench is an oil filter pliers. This big pair of pliers is designed with “teeth” to grip the filter when twisted counterclockwise. This type of wrench give you great leverage, but also requires the most space around the filter to be able to remove it.
Toyota Oil Filter Wrench
Toyota uses very specific wrenches, as they use unique filters. When working with a Toyota, you will need to find the size of your filter, and purchase the oil filter cap wrench. I have seen a 64mm oil filter wrench and 72 mm oil filter wrench with the Toyota logo. I know there is one more used on the newer vehicles. There are oil filter wrench sets that include all three sizes used by Toyota, if you would prefer the cap-style wrench.
Harley Davidson Oil Filter Wrench
Harley Davidson, like most manufacturers, use a unique size and type of filter, requiring a specific wrench for removal (unless you have an adjustable oil filter wrench). The advantage of purchasing this motorcycle oil filter wrench is that Harley Davidson has at least used the same filter for all of their bikes, so once you buy one, you are set.
Oil Filter Wrench at Autozone
After reviewing Autozone’s website, and having been in many of their stores, I can tell you with confidence that they sell every type of oil filter wrench I have described above.
Porsche Oil Filter Wrench
Porsche, like many manufacturers, uses unique size oil filters that require a specific Porsche oil filter wrench. A good alternative to purchasing the Porsche oil filter wrench would be the “claw” style small oil filter wrench.
The most popular selling oil filter wrench is the Lisle 63600. It is a universal design created to remove all oil filters from 2 ½” to 3 1/8” in diameter, and sells for just $12.61. This huge range means that it will fit most oil filters. The jaws are made of steel and designed to grip without slipping. It is designed to be used with a 3/8” drive.
The reviews of this product state that it works great, grips the filter almost immediately. They state that this is a quality tool, built to last, and well designed to work with almost any filter, foreign or domestic, even if they are stuck very tightly.
The next filter wrench is a strap-style wrench made by BOA. This is truly a universal fit, as it has an adjustable strap that will tighten around any filter. At only $14.77, and considering it will work with any filter, it is quite a bargain. It will grip any round shape from 1” to 6 ½”. It will never puncture or scratch the surface, so it is ideal for chrome filters used for motorcycles or show vehicles.
The customer reviews rave about how well constructed this oil filter wrench is. They state that the strap is high quality, as well as the handle, and should last a lifetime. One reviewer even state how it works great even in the kitchen for opening stubborn jars! He had to buy a second one, since the first one ended up staying in the kitchen. Many people feel this is the best oil filter wrench available, and is useful for much more than just changing oil filters.
The final filter wrench I will tell you about from Amazon.com is a plier style. It is the OEM model 25320. This model is rated at a 5 out of 5 stars. The jaws open to accommodate filters from 2 ½” to 4 5/8”. At only $10.34, this universal oil filter wrench can be used for nearly all oil filters of all vehicle applications. The handles are cushioned for comfort, and made from a no-slip material to ensure you don’t lose your grip.
Customer who reviewed this oil filter wrench find that it bites into the filter well. They find that the design will multiply the gripping force of your hands, and feel it is a solid design that will last for years.
There are many different styles and designs of oil filter wrenches available, and they can even be used for other purposes than simply removing oil filters. Although the “claw” style is commonly considered the best oil filter wrench type, if you have the space around the oil filter, you may want to consider the strap type, as it is least likely to slip, is the most universal, and you may want to order an extra one for the kitchen, while you are at it!