Tools for Auto Repair: Oil Filter Wrench (slip type)

Car Repair Tools: Oil Filter Wrench
This slip type oil filter wrench is easy to use. courtesy Craftsman

If you are doing an oil change, or any auto repair, you need the proper tools. An oil filter wrench is a must. I know what you're thinking. You've done dozens of oil changes without the luxury of an oil filter wrench, why do you need one now? Most of the time, you've been able to unscrew your oil filter by hand, using no tools at all. Maybe you're super strong, or maybe you've just had great luck.

But your luck could very easily run out. For example, what if you've been doing some other repairs before you start your oil change and your hands are covered with something slippery. The smallest amount of goo on your hands can mean a stuck filter. Also, different filter seals heat cycle differently, which means that at some point down the line you could be dealing with a filter that's stuck due to a rubber seal that has turned into a glue stick. And that means stuck. So what are you going to do without an oil filter wrench?  

Full Disclosure: There's a great trick for removing a stuck oil filter if you don't have an oil filter wrench. It's crude, and very exciting. And it's also messy, which isn't great when you're dealing with engine oil, but it's fun, right? Simply take a long screwdriver and pierce the metal side of the oil filter all the way through. Leave the screwdriver in there and use it as a handle to turn the filter and unscrew it.

Yes, you'll have oil all over the place, but you won't have to stop the progress of your oil change for a run to the auto parts store to pick up the oil filter wrench you'll already own if you read this recommendation. Doing an oil change without an oil filter wrench isn't recommended, but it happens.

An oil filter wrench is an essential part of any auto repair tool box.

The oil filter wrench is basically a firm metal strap with a pivoting adjustment hinge and a handle. It's very easy to use, just slip it over the oil filter and pull the handle to loosen it. Once you have it loose, you can use your hand to unscrew it all the way.

*Many oil filter wrenches will only grip the filter to turn in one direction. If yours doesn't seem to be working, flip it over so the handle pulls in the opposite direction.