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Stubborn oil filter?

In cars with standard oil filters that are exposed and have their own housing, a stubborn oil filter isn’t all that hard to get off. I always suggest simply stabbing a long screwdriver through the body of the filter, and poke around for one of the holes in the top of the filter to grab onto. Take a light rubber mallet and gently hammer while holding the driver so it pushes the filter counter-clockwise until it brakes loose enough to turn by hand.  Sure, this will make a mess, but it gets the job done. Of course, that won’t help tighten the filter, but for getting off, it’s pro.

My problem here is a bit more complicated, as damage is not an option. Many European and even some modern American cars sport top load filters that have plastic caps to house them. The cap is removed, filter removed and replaced, and cap reused. I was having a hell of a time getting the oil filter cap off the ML500 and the C230 the other day.  I ended up mangling the C230’s a tad in the process, and held off on doing the ML500 today.

So, I was just about to throw out my old paint scraper, err water squeegee. Yea, NEVER use these, unless you want a bunch of tiny scrapes in your clear coat.


Back to what I figured to do with this. Well, I needed to change the oil on the ML500 and C230. Both have drop-in cartridge oil filters.


The metal “B” oil filter wrench I purchased from Autozone was poop! Once placed on the cap, it was noticeably loose, and didn’t appear to be touching the flats just right. When attempting to loosen the cap, all the wrench did was spin and slightly round my cap. I managed to get the cap off with my old wrench that tightens as you turn. This only worked lefty, so I had to figure a way to tighten after the oil change. Hand tight didn’t cut it, and trying the wrench again failed. 25Nm isn’t much, but I couldn’t get anywhere close with this piece of junk. “Why not use a belt type wrench?” Well, I did, and it just spun around the plastic cap, cutting a ring into it. Adjustable wrenches leave damaging tool marks. What to do? Idea! “Off with his head!” This thing WAS a waste of money, but gas since found new use.


A quick razor blade cut and we now have some grip and padding for a tool I thought I’d never use again. Not only did it work, but it fits right in this belt wrench as if it was meant to be there. The height of the strip was perfect for the belt depth, and the lip even hing over perfectly keeping it in place. Well, I can’t take all the credit for this. A friend on Facebook suggested using an old piece of hose, which I didn’t have. This actually works out better and has more grip, being silicone. Good stuff right there! Thanks for reading.

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