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Overtightened oil filter

Is it possible to over-tighten an oil filter enough to cause some oil to seep past the gasket?

Yes :smiley:


That’s some fast service!

(It’s a quick lube story - luckily no real damage)

Sometimes the old oil gasket gets stuck in place, then 2 gaskets are in place, that can cause leaks also.


Yeah, that was the first thing I checked for after I got the damned thing off. Only one gasket. I figure they didn’t oil the gasket when putting it in a few months ago - I would turn the filter a little bit before my cheap plastic filter wrench slipped, and the filter would spring back to where I started.

I didn’t even know it was weeping since the oil level never changed. But there was a drip on the bottom of the filter when I got under the car, and the oil pan was and whatnot was a bit oily as a result. That was the real annoyance - I had gotten through 200,000 km with a clean, dry engine, and then this nonsense happened.

Until I started changing my own oil, I had several filters that were on so tight that the filter wrench just crushed them and I had to chisel the rest off.


Many years ago Honda had their first oil change recommended at 5k miles. These filters were factory installed and it must have been done with an air gun.

On one car in particular it took 3 of us 45 minutes to get the filter off. A fair amount of sweat and a larger amount of profanity involved. Not exactly good for the paycheck as the job pays .2 hours; or 12 stinking minutes for one guy.

I was thinking that must be it, because I tighten my oil filters pretty tight, and I’ve only seen one leak when it came loose. In fact, after having had oil leak because an oil filter came loose on a motorcycle, I’ve started using K&N oil filters that have a nut on the end. It sure makes torquing down the oil filter to spec, and removing it later, a lot easier.

On my car, I don’t use a tool to tighten the filter; I just hand-tighten it with my kung-fu grip, using those textured Fram filters. They don’t come off easy, but that’s how I like it.

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I hand tighten my oil filters to where there’s a little twisting resistance, then another 1/2-3/4 turn. Can’t say that’s the correct method, but never had one come loose or leak, and never had a problem removing them at the time of the next filter change.

It’s pretty easy to imagine how overtightening an oil filter could cause it to leak. The force would crush the gasket enough to easily cause it to change its orientation and leak.

Unless you have Lou Ferrigno working in your car, I have a hard time imagining anyone getting it that tight by hand though.

The fact that this picture exists tells you everything you need to know on the subject.



Yeah, that tool should only work in one direction (counter clockwise).

It is a joke, there is no air fitting on that impact wrench.

Yeah, that picture is a joke. I guarantee some idiot’s done it, though. The socket-style oil filter wrenches make it possible, and if it’s both possible and stupid, someone is going to do it.


When I used to do it myself, I just followed the cleaning and tightening instructions on the box but now I can’t even find where the filter is.

I’ve seen a few new filters leak a bit because the tech (?) installed the filter with a dry seal. The dry rubber catches on the filter flange and pooches up a bit; leading to a leak. Thankfully caught before a ruined engine.

Thanks for a great idea, guys!
My grip-tool does have grips what are suitable for counterclockwise only… probably will need to find a better tool :slight_smile:

Try a strap wrench.