How to change your oilfilter

Changing one on your car

Carmakers specify a new oil filter with every second oil change, but it is better to replace it each time you change the oil. Buy a name-brand filter with the right part number for your engine; check your owner’s manual.

At the same time, get a suitable filter wrench. If the filter on your car is easy to reach, a simple strap wrench with a handle will do; if not, use a strap wrench that accepts a ratchet and extension. A wrench with a fabric strap fits all sizes of filters. If the strap is metal, make sure that it closes tightly around the new filter. If you choose a cap-type wrench that fits over the end of the filter, check the fit.

Removing the filter

After jacking the car and draining the oil, move the catch pan underneath the filter. With a filter wrench, loosen the filter, turning it counterclockwise. Then remove the wrench and unscrew the filter by hand. Dump the oil it contains into the catch pan.

If the filter sticks, drive a large screwdriver through it and use the shank as a lever. If the filter is so firmly stuck that the can portion of the filter tears away, leaving the base in place, try to drive it off with a cold chisel.

Installing the new filter

Wipe dirt from the mounting stud and the engine’s mating surface. Apply a coat of clean engine oil to the new filter’s rubber gasket. Screw the filter onto the mounting stud until you feel the gasket contact the engine.

Put the strap wrench around the filter so that it closes with clockwise force. Then tighten the filter 180 degrees (one-half turn) with the wrench. Install fresh oil. If oil leaks from around the filter, tighten it an extra quarter turn.