Stuck oil filter



so my dad is working on his 97 f150 because of an oil leak. after several investigations he found that it was because of a small hole in the oil filter, when he went to remove the filter " using a filter wrench " the can deformed. being the even tempered man that he is he got pissed broke the wrench, said “screw it” and gave up for the day. later that evening i returned home and he told me what had happened and we decided that we would run up to the local auto parts store, buy a new wrench and ask the owner for so advise. The next day we rode up to the parts shop bought a wrench and talked to the owner, he told us that we should try jamming the largest screw driver we had all the way through the filter and twist. After we returned home my father and i both tried using the new wrench a couple more times, promptly gave up and drove the screw driver through the stubburn filter. upon twisting “counter clockwise, were not complelty inept” my father tore through a good section of the can and after blaming the entire thing on me “some how its always my fault, ive accepted this dont worry” he yet again got pissed and decided to go for a walk. heres where you guys come in: FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WHAT DO I DO!?!?!?!?


The “fault” lies with whoever installed the filter. It’s either WAY too tight or the threads are crossed. Since you’ve already torn the filter apart with the screwdriver method, all you can do is continue ripping away pieces of metal until you can grip the base of the filter (TIGHTLY) with something and unscrew it.

When you install the new filter, remember; NO WRENCH! Hand tighten only.


See thats the thing he always does his own oil changes and did tighten it by hand. the guy at the shop sait it could be that something got wedged into the filter some how and locked it in.


This is what happens when a filter is screwed on improperly to begin with.

Remember, you screw it on (after ensuring you got the old o-ring out) hand tight first only.
THEN using the filter wrench, tighten NO MORE than 1/4 turn.

Add oil to full mark on the dipstick,
start the engine, let idle only for one minute or less. Shut off and check for leaks.

Let oil settle, recheck oil level and top up as necessary.

But you knew that already right?

Now, in an attempt to remove this already chewed up filter, use a small diameter punch and with the punch at an angle, lightly tap with a hammer (Counter-clockwise) until the seal loosens.
** Do not use a center punch.

Do not hammer hard as the punch may damage the oil filter seal contact in the block.

You may have to relocate the punch positions until the seal comes loose.

Ensure there is NO foreign matter left in the seal groove and apply a thin coat of grease or clean engine oil before assembly of the new filter.


“something got wedged into the filter”??

That guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.


Sometimes it’s better to just walk away, get a cup of coffee, and settle down.

Even experienced mechanics do this at times.
Stuck filters are not that rare and usually involve either someone overtightening the filter, failing to coat the seal with oil before installing the filter, allowing the filter to stay on too long before changing the oil.

That being said, I would be very surprised if this oil filter had a hole in it, at least originally before a screwdriver was jammed through it.
A band wrench should be used and the key is to make sure the band grasps part of the filter as close as possible to the flange. This gives the outer shell more support and prevents collapse.

Now, about the hole business. If this truck has the 4.6 the leak is more than likely NOT the filter. It’s probably the oil filter flange adapter gasket that is located between the flange and engine block. This has an oddball rubber seal that crushes down and hardens over time, thereby leaking oil.

The gasket is about 13 bucks and is not that hard to change, but I don’t know if dad should be attempting this or not.
Hope that helps.
(Note if you do this yourself. There are several gaskets available and you MUST use an identical gasket. Some models (police, taxi, etc.) have an external oil cooler and the gasket used on those is different than the “normal” one. Make sure you compare the old to the new before installation or engine coolant will pour out since coolant is routed through this adapter.)


I’ve had problems with trying to free oil filters that have been overtightened. One technique that has worked for me is to wrap a wide belt around the filter so that when you pull, the filter will rotate in a counterclockwise direction. I saved an old wide belt of mine for this purpose. In your case, if there is enough left of the filter housing, give this a try.


For future reference, if you use an oil filter wrench with a band on it, always use it at the top of the filter where it wont crush. I like the type of filter wrench that looks like a cap and uses a ratchet. The problem with these is finding one the right size, and when you do, the filter makers change their filters so it won’t work again.

Now, take the screwdriver that you punched through the can (BTW, that usually doesn’t work, as you found out) and place it at a slight angle at the base of the filter, pointing in the “loosen” direction and tap the handle with a hammer. Be careful not to let the screwdriver dig into the filter adapter. Once it starts moving, then it can be turned off with a band type wrench at the base.

One more thing, lubricate the filter base and hand tighten only, do not use a wrench, not even a 1/4 turn. When I put mine on, my hands are usually covered in oil so gripping the filter is difficult, but it still gets tight enough, and I’m old and frail. If I can get them tight enough under those conditions that they need a wrench to get off 6 mo later, then a wrench to tighten them is not necessary for anyone. And none have ever leaked.


I use a blade type cold chisel and a hammer if you can get at the filter to do that. Locate the cold chisel on the filter housing crimp but be careful as was said, the filter mount gasket surface is right there and you don’t want to hack it up. Lightly tap the chisel to get a notch in the crimp and then aim the chisel so as to unscrew the filter when you use the hammer.

I put a coating of oil on both sides of the gasket to ensure a seal every time and to help with removal later. Tighten filter per the instructions on the package.


I agree, always hand tighten, and never over-tighten. I wear gloves when doing oil changes (nitrile) but I take them off to loosen and tighten the filter. In combination with oiling the gasket before I screw the filter on, I rarely need to use the wrench to get the filter off.


Here’s another option-if there’s enough room try using a REALLY big set of channel locks.


My money is still not on the oil filter leaking anyway; it’s on the flange gasket.
A leaky flange gasket will cause oil to drip right off the filter and the oil pressure sender.


I second Imannella’s recommendation for large channel locks. My primary “oil filter wrench” is the Craftsman 16" arc-joint channel locks pliers. Sears lists them for $44.99.