First time replacing oil filter and oil.

I've drained the old oil from the oil tank and I now want to remove the existing filter.

For the life of me, it seems as though the filter is in the most awkward position ever; behind and under the engine block. I can't reach it from the bonnet, and I can't reach it comfortably from under the car having removed one of the wheels (right wheel).

To make matters worse, the existing filter is in very tight. So any time I get a grip on the filter (can only physically get one hand on it), I can't loosen it.

I have an oil filter clamp for removing an oil filter using a ratchet socket; but I can't get it working with only one hand.

It would seem that I need to get a screw driver into it from under the car, but, I need to use a very long screw driver which is almost impossible to hammer into the filter whilst I'm under the car.

Any suggestions?

  • Note that whatever clever way you come up with to remove the filter must also work for tightening new filter back in place
    – Kromster
    Apr 4, 2012 at 11:46
  • @Krom - No, oil filters should only ever be done up by hand, and the OP has said he can get a hand on the filter
    – Nick C
    Apr 4, 2012 at 12:35
  • I've always tried to avoid hammering a screwdriver into the oil filter. It makes a big mess. I agree with @NickC, get a strap type filter wrench.
    – Tim
    Apr 4, 2012 at 14:37

4 Answers 4


I would go to your local autoparts supplier and look at the display of filter wrenchs.The types vary from straps,bands and some that look like a socket that slides over the filter.If the filter is that difficult to remove someone makes a tool that will fit it.

  • I finally got it off last night with the 3 armed ratchet socket.
    – wulfgarpro
    Apr 6, 2012 at 2:13

I would suggest getting hold of a strap type filter wrench. These have either a thin metal strap or a chain that you wrap around the filter and tighten. I've had quite a few where I have only been able to turn it a few degrees before having to slacken off the wrench and move it round, but once you've got it moving you can usually undo it the rest of the way by hand.

I'm surprised you can't get to it from under the car though, usually you can for low-mounted ones, you just need to crawl futher under! (I'm sure they're deliberately designed to maximise the chance of you getting a faceful of hot oil as you try and change them...)

Edit: I take it you've jacked the car up and supported it on proper axle stands, and aren't trying to get under it at normal road height or up on a jack?

  • @Nick C - Yep, I'm using stands.
    – wulfgarpro
    Apr 6, 2012 at 2:12

I have a very simple way. Take a piece of round bar, 5mm thick (a 4mm welding rod is good for this) cut it, and sharpen both ends. Then bend into 'U' shape. Then, hammer both ends into the dome of the oil filter. You can use the 'U' part to put something into it and turn it. This works for me every time.


Remove the front right wheel. This will give you good access to the drain plug and filter.

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