Oil Filter Wrench Sizes: How to Choose The Correct One?

by Chris Lewis.

Do you know that every car needs an oil filter to keep the engine functional and durable? This item is small, but it keeps your car engine alive and reliable.

If you're new to car engines, you can find this component besides the car engine block. Even though it appears idle, an oil filter protects your engine from impurities in engine oils.

Maybe you didn't know, but engine oils are usually filled with dirt and debris that can damage your car engine bearings. When that happens, there'll be low oil pressure on your engine, which is very bad.

It destroys the car engine and makes your life miserable. You may spend a lot trying to fix the engine or even have to replace it entirely. That's how important an oil filter is to your car.

Now, the question is, how do you make sure that your oil filter works all the time? By changing it from time using an oil filter wrench. Right now, there are different types and sizes of oil filter wrenches in the market.

It gets confusing when you want to pick one for your oil filter. Let's see how we can change all that by showing you to choose the best fit.

Type of oil filter wrenches

Type of oil filter wrenches
Type of oil filter wrenches

Car engines don't come with a one-size-fits-all oil filter. Each car has its own unique filter, depending on the manufacturer as well. That’s why you will never use one type of oil filter wrench for every kind of car.

When it comes to wrenches, here’re the available types in the industry.

1. Metal band oil filter wrench

This type of wrench has a strong metal band attached to both of its ends to the handle. This band is what you place around the oil filter and turn the handle in an anticlockwise direction. The tension from the turning will cause the wrench to grip the oil filter for an effortless extraction.

The design of this wrench makes it a good choice for oil filters in tough or complicated spots. With its handle and pivoting adjustment hinge, it makes oil filter replacements easy.

2. End Cap/ Socket filter wrench

End Cap/ Socket filter wrench
End Cap/ Socket filter wrench

The shape of this oil filter wrench is like that of a socket. It uses a plastic or metal cup to get the job done. All you need to do is to place the cap on the end to your oil filter to engage the knurling.

Then use the wrench to loosen the oil filter. The types of filters compatible with this type of wrench are those found in the engines of BMW cars and Volkswagen Group.

3. Chain Loop oil filter wrench

Just like the name implies, this wrench works with the loop of the chain, which you'll place around an oil filter. Once you've done that, you turn the bar in an anticlockwise direction.

This will make the chain wrap around the oil filter. Afterward, you can use an adjustable spanner or socket wrench to turn the bar the same way you did before to finally remove the filter.

4. Claw Wrench

This is another type of wrench in the market. It has 3 geared metal prongs, twin jaw plates, and 2 clamping legs. It also has a 3/8 inches ratchet driver, which is turned anticlockwise to achieve a hard clench on the filter body. If you have tight filters, this is the wrench to use.

Moreover, if the position of the filter is more complicated than what the chain and strap wrench can remove, use this claw wrench. It works better where others fail.

5. Strap Oil filter wrench

This type of wrench fits large vehicles such as pickup trucks, SUVs, and others. These cars use broad oil filters, and strap wrenches make it easy to remove the filters anytime.

6. Pliers

These pliers are designed with a double handle that allows users to remove oil filters without stress. The pliers are made with strong steel to ensure extra durability.

These tools come in different sizes ranging from 3 inches to 5/8 inches. These pliers are suitable for different oil filter sizes from 2 inches-15/16 or 3-5/8 inches. If the oil filters are large up to 4-1/2 or 5-3/4 inches, you can get larger pliers for them.

How to choose the correct oil filter wrench

How to choose the correct oil filter wrench
How to choose the correct oil filter wrench

There are 3 things to consider when you want to choose the right size of an oil filter wrench.

  • The model of your car
  • The size of the filter
  • The space around it in the car engine
  • How tight the oil filter is in its position

Some cars have a specific model of wrench that works for its oil filter. It is simpler to look for that model, especially if you need a wrench for one particular car. But if you have many cars and you want a wrench for all, you might need to get a universal wrench.

Some of the wrenches in that category include the strap wrench, swivel-grip wrench, or pliers. Also, don't forget to get an adjustable wrench because you can set it to fit every size of the oil filter.

When it comes to size, it’s easy to determine the right size if you’re using a socket or cup wrench. The simplest method is to get the oil filter specification and look for the right size for it. Once you get the information, you can buy the size to match it. But if you can’t find the specifications, do the following:

  • Count the number of flutes on the cap of your oil filter
  • Measure your oil filter from one edge to the other edge
  • Get the oil filter cap wrench that has the same number of flutes but let the inner diameter of the cap be bigger than the oil filter cap.

That's for determining the size of the wrench if you're using a socket wrench type. As for oil filters in cramped spaces, use a socket wrench too or a spider-type of a wrench. But if space is not a problem, get any wrench you have and get the job done.

Simple tips to getting the right sizes

  • Try different types of oil filter wrenches to determine the best fit.
  • Choose a universal oil filter wrench if you have more than one vehicle.
  • Adjustable wrenches are suitable for most types of oil filters.



If you want your vehicle to function all the time, the engine must be in perfect condition. One of the ways to be sure of that is by keeping the engine oil free from impurities.

Since your oil filter does that for you, make sure that you change it from time to time to avoid issues. With the right oil filter wrench, you can do it without a mechanic.

We've shown you the types available and how to get the right size for your oil filter. Make sure you always change your oil filter to keep your vehicle fully operational.

About Chris Lewis.

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