Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingEngine Oil and Lubrication Oil Filter Wrench – What Do You Need For An Oil Change?

Oil Filter Wrench – What Do You Need For An Oil Change?

by Jordan Harris
Oil Filter Wrench

Are you trying to change the oil and perform an oil flush, so you want to learn more about the tools and the oil filter wrench you need in order to tackle this type of work? Well, if this is the case, then you are at the right place because, in this article, there will be quite a bit to cover on the matter.

Doing your own maintenance is probably something that every car owner should do on their car. Who will care more for your car than you? Still, there are a ton of people who simply do not want to bother with this type of stuff and decide to do this service at a shop. Which is not a bad idea at all.

You will not get your hands dirty and after the service is done in most cases you will get your car back in tip-top condition. But still, there are a group of people out there, including me personally, that want to do the work on their cars. And an oil change is one of the simplest things that you can do. But still, you need to get the oil filter wrench. This is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what are oil changes and why they are important. Then we will cover the pros and cons of flushing your own oil and the types of oils that are used on cars. Then we will learn how much oil you need and also what type of tools you need for this procedure including the oil filter wrench. Lastly, we will learn how this procedure is done.

What Is An Oil Change

Now before we dive into more complex topics like the pros and cons of doing your own oil changes and the oil filter wrench needed for this work. Let’s first introduce ourselves to the topic and learn more about the basics of oil changes and what is an oil change in general. There are a lot of novice mechanics out there that are not into cars and want to learn more about this type of service.

So, what is an oil change? Well, when it comes to cars, there is something known as regular maintenance (not to mention, understanding how to reset maintenance light on Toyota Tacoma and how to reset maintenance light on Toyota RAV4). And maintenance is a very broad topic that can refer to a lot of different things.

One of these things is the oil change, also known as oil flush. This is the maintenance procedure that has to be carried out in order for the engine oil to be replaced with fresh oil. To learn more, check out our guide on how to put oil in your car.


And this maintenance procedure has a specific interval in terms of mileage. For example, every 10,000 miles, you have to replace the oil, as well as the oil filter.

Once you do this service, you are able to continue driving for another 10,000 miles and then do the oil (and oil filter) change again.

This is why remembering when was the last oil change done on your car is really important if you don’t want to end up with problems. And in the following chapter, we are going to cover precisely that before we dive into the oil filter wrench and the rest of the tools needed for this service.

Why An Oil Change Is Important

Now as we introduced ourselves to the oil change service and learned more about it. Now we can move on and learn more about the importance of this type of service for your engine.

As you probably know, every internal combustion engine has a lot of moving parts inside. The pistons move up and down and the crankshaft rotates at a speed of 800 revolutions per minute minimum.

So, there is a lot of close metal-against-metal contact. And this is why engine oil is really important. The engine oil lubricates these components. Namely, the bearings, piston rings, valves, camshafts, and other important components.

If you don’t have engine oil inside, there will be increased wear on all of these components. And the engine will wear down quite significantly. So, much that will eventually require a full rebuild or even be completely scrapped in some instances.

This is why flushing the oil is a really important thing that you should do every 10,000 miles or so. Since if you don’t do it, the engine oil will turn into sludge. And this thick sludge basically ruins the work of the engine

Also, the goal of the engine oil is not only to lubricate but also to dissipate the heat of the engine. So, the heat dissipation ability is also small and the engine will tend to overheat.

This is why the engine running with fresh oil and also with the proper level and viscosity is rather essential thing in order for you to avoid damage to be done to the engine internals. This is why learn more about the oil filter wrench and flush the oil. And more about that we will cover in a bit.

Pros And Cons Of Flushing Your Oil

Now let’s discuss another topic before we cover more about the oil filter wrench and that is the pros and cons of flushing your oil.

We bet that there are a ton of people that still doubt themselves whether they should do it or not. So, this chapter is for them to help them overcome their fears. Since once you learn the positives and negatives of flushing your oil, you will be able to see if you can do it or not.

So, let’s take a look at the pros and cons before we learn more about the oil filter wrench and the procedure that is taken in order to change this filter and flush the oil.


Now let’s begin with the pros of doing your own maintenance and flushing the oil on your vehicle. What are the pros of this type of job? Let’s elaborate before we cover the tools and the oil filter wrench.

The biggest pro is probably the ability for you to learn about cars. Doing oil changes and other basic maintenance is a good way to start your career as a mechanic. Since these are the simplest things you can do and not worry about messing things up. There is not much to it actually.

So, doing your oil changes will teach you some of the requirements that you need to have in order for you to be successful at doing maintenance jobs on your car. This will give you that mechanic’s mindset.

Oil Filter Wrench

The second pro of doing this type of maintenance is attention to detail. And this is also another important aspect because who will take care more of your car than you?

At big service centers cars come in and go out, the more cars they can handle, the more money the service center will make. So, they do not pay too much attention if you have grease spots left after the job and bother to clean the oil residues with brake cleaner.

And on the other hand, you at your garage will be able to tackle this job with greater attention to detail. Now let’s move on to the next topic before we cover more on the oil filter wrench.


Now let’s cover some of the cons before we dive into the oil filter wrench. What are the downsides of performing this type of service on your car?

Well, when it comes to the cons, it is important to note that there are some downsides. The biggest con is probably the cost. Why so?

Well, the drawback is that you need to get tools in order to get things done. You will need an oil filter wrench, a wrench for the drain bolt, a bucket for the oil, as well as ramps to lift the car in the air and get access. And this as an investment can cost you $200 to $300.

On the other hand, if you go to a shop, you will pay $50 to $120 for the oil change. So, you get the idea of why some people prefer to get their oil filter job done at a shop rather than at home.

The second con of doing this type of work at your house is the messiness of the job. You will need to get your hands dirty if you want to do a service like this on your vehicle. So, if you are not one of these people that want to get their hands dirty, then you are probably will be good with taking your car to a shop and getting the service done over there.

And the last con is probably the space you need to do this type of service. If you don’t have a flat driveway or a garage, doing this type of work will be rather difficult. Especially for the people that live in big apartment buildings. But I want to change my oil, where to get an oil filter wrench? More on that in a bit.

Types Of Engine Oil

Now before we discuss the oil filter wrench and learn more about what type of wrench you really need to remove the filter. Let’s first take a look at the types of engine oil that are used. Knowing the type of oil that is there, you will be able to tell which kind of oil you need for your application. So, let’s elaborate.

Conventional Engine Oil – The first type of oil that we are going to cover is conventional engine oil. So, what is conventional engine oil?

Conventional engine oil is a type of oil that is produced from crude oil. This is basically a byproduct from the refinement process where the oil goes through and this is basically leftovers. So, in order for the oil producers not to burn this oil, they decided to create lubricants.

Conventional engine oil is often used by old cars. Cars produced up to the early 90s used this type of oil. Now it is widely replaced by better types of engine oils.

Synthetic-Blend Engine Oil – The second type of oil that we are going to cover is semi-synthetic engine oil. Also known as a synthetic blend. This type of oil is a conventional engine oil with improved characteristics. There are some synthetic compounds that make the oil last longer than conventional engine oil.

Fully-Synthetic Engine Oil – And the last type of engine oil is the fully-synthetic engine oil. And this type of oil is fully created in a laboratory. By synthesizing different petroleum-based products like crude oil or natural gas. This type of oil lasts the longest of any other type. Usually from 10,000 miles and over. But what about an oil filter wrench? More on this in a moment.

Oil Change Interval

Another topic that we would like to cover is the oil change interval. So, are you wondering how many miles can you go over an oil change? What is the right interval when it comes to changing the engine oil?

Well, the oil change interval really depends much on the type of oil that you are using on your car. If you run an older car, you probably are using conventional engine oil.

Conventional engine oil lasts the least amount of miles. This type of oil is recommended to flush every 4,000 to 6,000 miles because it burns up rather quickly.

A better alternative to this engine is the synthetic blend. The synthetic blend as we noted is a combination of conventional engine oil with some synthetic properties. And this oil lasts between 6,000 and 8,000 miles.

And the last type which is the fully-synthetic engine oil lasts for at least 10,000 miles. Synthetic is the type of oil that is used on almost all modern engines. This type of oil is the oil you need if you own a car that is produced in the last 20 years or so. But how much oil do you need? Let’s learn more about that before we cover the oil filter wrench.

How Much Oil Do You Need

Now let’s take a look at how much oil you need before we learn more about the oil filter wrench. How much oil is the right amount?

Well, this really depends on one engine to another. Not all engines are the same and you need to learn the exact oil capacity for your engine.

You can find the specs in the owner’s manual. Or you can head up online and browse the name of your engine and the phrase “oil capacity”. For example, BMW B58 oil capacity.

Once you do this search, don’t rush things and check a few sources and forums. If most of the answers overlap, then you found the oil capacity for your engine. Now let’s move on to the tools needed for the oil filter job, including the oil filter wrench.

Tools Needed For An Oil Change

Now, as e cleared the main topics out of our way, we can dive into the tools that you need for an oil filter change.

The first thing you will need is a jack to lift the car up in the air. Having a jack is rather essential because if you don’t have a jack this job is close to impossible.

Then once you got the car lifted, you will have to secure it with jack stands. Jack stands are made out of solid metal and they will keep the car nice and secure. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on jack stands, you can also get some plastic ramps.

You can basically drive over these plastic ramps and the front end of the car will be lifted up in the air and secured when you put up the handbrake.

You will also need a plastic oil collecting container to collect the oil. Now let’s move on to the tools that you will need for this job.

Oil Filter Wrench

The first tool that you will need is an oil filter wrench. With this type of tool, you will be able to get to the oil filter and remove it accordingly.

There are a few variations of this design. There are universal oil filter wrenches that fit any type of filter. You can also get a swivel wrench.

Or if you want to go overboard, you can get a full socket set. With this socket set, you will basically be able to work as a professional mechanic. And also, it is dirt cheap, only $29,99.

As for the drain bolt, you will need to get a socket wrench. If you have a European car, you will need to get a wrench that is in metric units. If you have an American car, you will need to have a wrench that is in imperial.

The drain bolt size differs from manufacturer to manufacturer, so we cannot recommend precisely one tool. But if you own a European car like VW, Audi, BMW, or Benz, this tool will be good enough.

Remove Oil Filter Without Wrench

Removing the oil filter without an oil filter wrench is also possible. For this purpose, you will need a belt.

It doesn’t matter if it is a belt for your pants or an old serpentine belt. Any strong belt can do the trick just fine.

You just need to get the belt around the filter and tighten it with vice grips. Then just turn the belt and the filter should come off easily. Remember that this works on filter old-school spin-on filters. For new cartridge filters, you need a special oil filter wrench.

And another way to remove one of these old-school filters is to poke a hole with a screwdriver through the filter. Then you will have the leverage to turn the screwdriver and remove the filter without any oil filter wrench.

Overall, it is not a very expensive process. But in the following chapter, we are going to elaborate more on the cost.

Cost To Change Oil

So, what is the cost to change the oil at home? Is doing an oil change expensive? Well, in order to get all the tools needed, you will highly likely spend $150 or even more in some cases.

Engine oil on the other hand along with the filter will cost you $50 or less. You should mainly see purchasing these tools like the oil filter wrench as an investment because they will be there for you forever. So, with the tools, you can do countless oil changes. And if you are a DIY guy, then you will really appreciate having all the tools you need in order to work on your car.


In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to oil changes. First, we learned what oil changes are and why they are so important.

Then, we covered the types of engine oil used in cars as well as the tools that you will need in order to tackle this type of work on your car. Including the oil filter wrench. Lastly, we discussed all the costs to get all these tools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Where Is Oil Filter

The engine oil filter is usually located at the bottom of the engine. Most American automakers use spin-on oil filters. You will notice them easily, they are cylindrically shaped devices that are basically screwed into the engine. While on the other hand, European carmakers prefer using cartridge oil filters that are installed into an oil filter housing and are located on top of the engine.

Do Oil Filters Expire

Yes, oil filters expire, they have a limited lifespan. And their lifespan is determined based on the engine oil that you are using. Whenever you change the oil, you also have to change the oil filter as well. Since it is dirty and has a lot of old oil inside.

How To Remove Oil Filter

Removing the oil filter is possible if you have a special tool for oil filter removal. If not, you can use a belt and then with the help of the belt get leverage to remove the filter from the car.

How To Remove Oil Filter Without Tool

There are two options for this. You either use a belt and place the belt around the filter to get leverage. Or you just poke a big hole with a screwdriver in the filter and then get leverage to remove it. These methods only work with spin-on filters.

How To Loosen Oil Filter

You can try the belt method where you place a belt around the filter and loosen it up. Or you can just put a big hole in it with a screwdriver and then with the screwdriver turn the filter until it starts to loosen up.

How To Use Strap Oil Filter Wrench

It is rather easy, you just place the strap oil filter wrench around the filter and tighten the strap. Once the strap is nice and tight, just apply force and the filter should come off.

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