What is the Best Oil Filter Removal Tool?

I was changing the oil in my Toyota Yaris today and when I tried to remove the oil filter I couldn’t do it.

The Yaris is very low to the ground, so I have to reach underneath to unscrew the filter. It’s usually a bit difficult and I have to go through a few contortions but until today I’ve always been successful twisting it off by hand.

When I wasn’t able to remove the filter using the tools I have - including the rubber strap tool and the end-cap tool which are difficult to maneuver because the space is very limited, I ended up going to the auto store and buying an oil filter removal tool that is a wide grip pair of pliers.

That tool eventually worked but was also awkward and required a lot of manipulation.

Is there such a thing as an oil filter wrench that works well in a small space?

The end cap wrench that I bought for this car always slips around the filter (and yes it is the correct size) so I don’t use it.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

I have one of these from Sears and it works great–even on Honda Civics which are notoriously hard to reach.


If the end cap type is convenient there is wrench that fits over the end and clamps down to tighten as it is turned to loosen the filter. Personally I have the best luck with the large plier type that has a slight angle between the handles and the grips.

That’s the one, mleich.

The one mleich has a link to is the best one I have ever found. That thing will get ANY filter off, no matter how tight it was installed by the last neanderthal who touched it.

Joe, Make Your Life Easier. I Don’t Like Working Under Jacked Up Cars. So When I Change Oil, I . . .

. . . Have 8 lengths of 2 x 10, 4 of them are probably 2 feet in length and 4 of them probably 1 1/2 feet long. I stack and stagger a long and short one ahead of each tire and drive up the “steps”.

You will probably find that if you can aleady change oil and filter without jacking, that you need only four boards, one for each tire. That 1 1/2 inches of lift is fantastic, just the ticket.

I’m pretty good at starting from 3 or 4 or inches behind the planks and hitting them with a little forward roll to climb right up on them.

Most Big Name home builder supply stores will cut the planks for free to save you the time and mess.

When I’m down there doing my thing, I’m not concerned that the car is going to fall off of my flat oil change planks with tires centered firmly in the middles.


I was going to say, a pair of car ramps…Or, better yet, a Grease Pit carved out of the floor in your garage…

I use a pair of rhino ramps, and slide under the car myself (wheels chocked of course). For filter removal I’ve had no problems with filter wrench-cap deals that conforms to the specific size and shape of cap of the oil filter. I have no fewer than 3 of these cap wrenches, since there a several models of oil filter canisters that companies use for my car (I.E. the motorcraft wrench won’t fit the K&N oil filter, the K&N wrench won’t fit the Mobil 1 filter, etc.) But they are only like $4 a piece, so it’s not a big deal.

Having the grip of a Neanderthal has always worked for me but when tendonitis sets in my favorite tool is my huge pair of channel locks.

My vote is for the 16" Channel Locks.

It seems that you over-tighten them to begin with, unless you had the previous oil change done outside. On my Camry I have to jack it up and use stands too. The car is too low and my pan would not fit under it. The filter is also tucked back there, above all the splash guards. I use the cap type. On every car that I have bought (used), on the first change I have to shove a rag between the cap and the filter to give it enough grip. They always tighten the filter too much.
I have thought of buying ramps, but have been lazy about them, also not sure if driving up on them and having the car on an incline is safer than a jack stand.

Even one 2x4 helps a lot. those two inches are vital.

I used to use ramps, but now I prefer a jack (a good 3-ton one with a bit over 19" of lift). I put it on jack stands and chock the back wheels. Most cars these days will not clear the ramps unless you have a couple 2x6s to run up on. Once I get the car up, I use Channel Lock oil filter pliers. The Jack stands have an added bonus on my Honda Odyssey…I can turn the wheels to the right and reach in through the wheel well to grab the oil filter!

I always put the car up on ramps. Seems a lot safer to me than jack stands, and gives you plenty of room to slide under and reach anything. The incline also tips the oil towards the drain plug, so I think more oil comes out. The filter’s pretty easy to get to on both of my Chrysler vehicles, so a strap type wrench works good for me.

You Guys Should Give The Flat Board Method (Described Above) A Go. With This I Also Use A Large Piece Of Poly Tarp (Probably About 4’ x 6’). That’s My Flat “Creeper” That Allows Me Easy, Clean Sliding.

I fold the tarp so that the “ground side” is folded inside. The top side stays clean.

I throw a couple sheets of newspaper in my drain pan, put the drain pan in a 13 gallon kitchen bag, use a tube to extract the air and “vacuum it into conformity” with the pan, twist tie it closed, and when I’m done pouring the oil out of it after the change, I remove the bag, turning it inside out and throw in the old filter. No mess. The newspaper is an absorbant mateial.

We drive two cars 5,000 miles each in less than 2 months, so I’m doing an oil change every few weeks. I have to have a system. This one works for me.

Oh, and anybody without a package of 100 (250 ?) of those disposable paper funnels is missing something. I keep a stack handy.


The Lisle 63250 is spring loaded, slides onto the end of the filter easily by hand and stays in place, bites into the filter and doesn’t slip when removing with a 3/8 ratchet.
I have tried just about everything available, thought this one was too many moving parts, but now it is the only one I use…

Some great ideas! I especially like the 2 X 10 idea that gives me room to move. I will check out each tool suggested.

Thanks again.

Not All Oil Pans Have The Drain Plug On The Back. That’s Why I Like Keeping The Car Fairly Level. I’ve Got One Vehicle With The Drain Centered On The “Side” Of The Pan.

Another thing I do on a couple of my cars that have filters that go into “tubes” (filter is surrounded by metal) is to put a narrow strip of masking tape radiating from the center out to the side on the filter’s wrench-end. Since I can only see the end of the filter, I can see how tight the filter is getting by looking at the position of the tape.


This filter is a bit expensive, but it’s easy to remove since it just uses a 1" nut that’s welded to the filter housing. Grab your wrench and have at it. As long as you can reach the bottom of the filter with the wrench, you shouldn’t have any trouble unscrewing it.

As an airplane owner (Piper Seneca) I could never understand why auto filter manufacturers
dont put a one inch hex-head at the end of oil filters. Champion (the spark plug company)
makes aircraft oil filters. The ones I use (CH48110) have a hex head at the end that enables one to use any socket wrench (and adapters, extensions) to get the job done.