Oil Filter & Transmission Change Failure - Help Appreciated

I have a 2014 Toyota Prius that just hit 134,000 miles. It was time for the routine oil change and I decided to change the transmission fluid as well as I just learned that “lifetime” doesn’t mean “never change”. I have been changing the oil for about the last 50,000 miles. I hand tighten the oil drain plug and oil filter until I can’t anymore then snug them down slightly by hand with a ratchet wrench. I have the custom filter housing fitting for the vehicle. I do not lubricate the threads. I do lubricate the new o-ring on the oil filter housing.

Today I could not get the filter off even using a 150 ft-lb impact (Ryobi P235a). This has only happened once before and it was when I took it to a shop to do the oil change and they over tightened it. I had to use a 3’ breaker and my neighbor’s help to get it off that time. I know that I did not over-torque it when I last put it on. I am concerned the threads galled but how could a 150 ft-lb torque not overcome that? I let the impact run on it for 15-20 seconds two separate times before giving up.

I decided to move on and skip the filter change this time as I had changed it last time. Sometimes I skip the oil filter if I have only added 5-6k miles since the last change. I have watched four or five videos on the transmission fluid change and opinions are mixed but I decided to crack the fill plug first in case it was seized. I failed by hand, failed with a drill (do not use a drill btw if you don’t know the torque required. Jammed my hand in between it and the support bracket on max torque setting) and then I also failed with the impact. I decided to back up and punt today’s work and seek help.

I would love any ideas or advice on what I can do next. I am considering purchasing a 300 ft-lb impact. I feel that is overkill though but I did see one video where a 300 ft-lb impact worked on getting a filter housing off. The only other variable I can think of is that when I did the filter change last time it was about 80 degrees F outside and today it was closer to 55-60 F.

Thanks everyone!

Edit: Some users are saying I am overtightening the filter housing. This isn’t impossible but I’m not sure how I could. The other 8 times I’ve changed the filter I was able to get it off with a ratchet easily. Also this time I was able to get the oil drain plug off with the ratchet and I applied the same torque to the drain plug and filter housing. I am not even sure I could apply 100 ft-lbs of torque through a 6" ratchet. I am a smaller guy like 165 lbs so I can’t apply much torque.

Edit 2: The 2014 Prius has an eCVT with a very simple transmission fluid change procedure. Just a drain and fill with drain and fill plugs. No flushing, filter, or anything fancy. I’d prefer to do it myself as the shop around me charge a high $ for this job.

Sounds to me like you’ve also over-tightened things yourself.

I’d take the car to a shop and let them do the oil change. They have better tools, and likely a lift, which will enable better access to the parts. Plus you can drink their “free” coffee while you wait…

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Just my thoughts.
I think you are over tightening with a ratchet. you need to get a torque wrench and use it to tighten it. it is probably something like 18 ft lbs.
you should not skip changing the oil filter when changing your oil. it is not helping your engine any and probably making it worse when trying to get it off.
as far as the tranny oil change… bring it to the professionals.

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I had a 2013 Prius and believe it had this. I bought filter socket and gave it away with car. I think the housing was held in place by spring tab. And would be hard to remove unless you pushed tab.
Hmm, 2010 Camry filter? Can’t recall.
2013 Prius filter? Hmm.
They were both Toyotas

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This is my exact setup. I just haven’t been using that white tab (likely an error) on install. I had that filter socket and it is what was on the end of the impact.

The steel finger/tab is on circumference of filter housing. It prevents filter from unscrewing. The housing bottoms out and o-ring does sealing. It is low torque install. You know when housing bottoms out

An impact will not work on a plastic cap wrench, too elastic, use a long handled ratchet or breaker bar.
Those plastic oil filter caps are very difficult to loosen if slightly over-tightened, just snug the filter cap when tightening.


Concur, impact tools are the wrong approach for these low-torque sort of stuck-fastener applications. Best bet is to apply a little thread lubricant (PB Blaster, etc) and let it soak for a few hours before attempting the extracting job. If you need more torque, figure out a way to make your ratchet handle longer. Applying a little moly-lube on the threads when re-installing will make removing job easier next time.

The most challenging removal job I’ve encountered in my diy’er tasks is removing a bicycle’s freewheel. I apply a dose of moly-lube when I install the freewheel, but I still have to break out a substantial steel pipe to place over the tool’s handle to make it effectively longer & increase the torque during freewheel removal. I wouldn’t be able to remove it without the pipe extender, just not strong enough.

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The threads should have a little of the motor oil on them, as well as the gasket. The threads are on the oil side of the O-ring so they will get oil on them anyway. Don’t use anything else to lubricate them as it will contaminate the oil in the engine.

The bottom drain bolt has a very light torque, something like 9 ft-lbs. This is so it can be removed later without pulling the whole cover off. I usually put the bolt on before installing the filter, but that is because my daughter has a Camry and the drain bolt has an O-ring as well. It is easier to line up that O-ring when the bottom of the oil filter cover is pointing up. Following their directions can lead to a pinched O-ring and a leak. That does not apply to you though.

Then I install the element and the new large O-ring, oil the threads and large O-ring and screw it into place. I go hand tight and then use the cap wrench to torque to 18 ft-lbs. It can still be difficult to unscrew at the next oil change, but not as drastic as you describe. I would NOT use an impact.

If you decide to change the CVT fluid, make sure you are using the correct CVT fluid and not some ATF. Also be sure you have the correct drain and fill ports. Some vehicles have a drain for the differential that is very close to the CVT drain port. If you drain the differential by accident, some of them can be a nightmare to refill. Most CVT’s require a diagnostic tool that can monitor the transmission fluid temperature in order to set the fill level correctly.

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Autozone has/had a proline of tools. They had a cast steel oil cartridge wrench. $20. The toyo dealer one is chromed and is $65

I’ve never seen a properly installed oil filter that the gasket/O-ring(s) were lubed with fresh oil ever stick…

BTW, I have seen many cartridge filters come apart and have to pick them out little by little when not changed regularly…

Yeah this is the video that inspired me to upsize my impact driver to a higher torque.

I have purchased some breaker bars and will attempt this. Thank you. I never considered the plastic bending and the impact resetting never twisting it enough to move it.

Make sure the tool you use isn’t a cheap stamped out sheet metal one.

I got this one from Matco



This is the one I have been using -

If you watch the video closely while he is installing the filter, he has damaged both the filter cap and the cap wrench. When the tabs on the filter cap break, the filter sometimes cracks through to the inside causing a leak. I have seen a few filter caps crack, we then need to walk to the parts department for a new cap, how far will you need to walk?

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On my earlier post, I talked about the drain bolt on the bottom of the filter. This is for the 2.5 and larger engines. The filter cap the OP is using is no longer available and has been replaced by a newer version that does not engage the tabs on the side. The newer one is also compatible with all Toyota cartridge filters and even some spin on filters.

I had the same issue with the oil filter of the Prius we got. The car was used, 100K miles, it is a 2011. Oil changes were done at the dealer and I knew the seller. After tackling the filter change, I concluded that the dealer probably skipped changing the filter for a few times. The area had a lot of grime and the filter was stuck. I was using the same tool/cap. I broke one 3/8 inch ratchet. Then decided to take it to the dealer but later that day came to my senses. Who were we kidding. The dealer either would not change the filter or will over torque it again. So I bought the larger socket and went to work. I put the car on ramps, so not a whole lot of room. But with the socket and breaker bar and gradual impact by hand, were able to loosen it. The filter is still somewhat difficult to take off but not bad. I think the housing just has more give due to prior man handling by the techs.
On the transmission, not sure what to say. Mine wasn’t bad. The only problem is that when you remove the drain plug, the oil spills on the axle and cross membrane. I guess they never planned for the ATF change.

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You have to be careful about following advice given by these people making “how to” videos. They are often quite useful if you have never done the job before as you can see how things go together, where they are located, what tools you may need etc.

But many of these people are hacks and this guy is no exception. Why anyone would choose to use a socket over the square drive hole is beyond me, especially if all you have is a 12 point socket. You can see he rounded off the corners of the 6 point protrusion using that approach. No way you can round out a square hole using a 3/8" drive tool.

Second hack is using a “power wrench” as he calls it to loosen a plastic part, especially a hammering tool like an impact wrench. Using a 3/8" breaker bar, or ratchet with tubing extension if necessary, is the better approach. You can apply the force gradually and have a feel for what is happening. It’s a steady force you can control so the cap isn’t going to bounce all over the place and lose engagement or round off the interface to the tool or damage the part being removed.

The final clue this guy is a hack is when he put the part he just bunged up, with all the failed attempts using incorrect tools, back on the car.

Often, there are numerous videos showing similar jobs. My advice is to watch all of them and use your judgement about their competence in doing the job. Just starting out, it may not be quite as obvious but if you see things getting damaged in the process or guys being careless when they handle the parts or tools, that may be a good indicator.

I’ve done all my own work for decades but I’m no professional and I haven’t done everything so I always watch these videos before I do a job. Can’t hurt. I have a power steering pump job to do. The guy in one video I watched was removing the pulley with a 3 jawed puller instead of the correct tool. Last straw was he was doing it on the ground with the new parts scattered about. The edge of the pulley was rolling over the new O rings in their bag as he struggled to press the pulley back onto the new pump. But I was able to see the basic configuration and noted a few things worthwhile… YMMV.