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Common problems with oil filters (and how to make them last)

Common problems with oil filters (and how to make them last)

Generally oil filters are completely trouble free as they're a simple affair. The most common issue you're likely to face is when it comes to changing the filter, and it won't budge! 

They should be tightened hand tight in the case of screw-on filters, but sometimes they're fitted with a little too much vigour. If this happens you may require the use of a special tool to remove the filter. 

You could also experience the filter leaking. In most cases tightening the filter a little stops the leak, but if the rubber gasket has become damaged, then a replacement filter is the best solution.

One other potential trouble spot involves cannister-type filters, or rather their housing. If overtightened the plastic housing can split, requiring a replacement.

What tools do you need to change an oil filter?

With screw-on filters you generally only need your hand to remove them – a pair of rubber, or silicone, gloves can help with grip, especially if the filter is oily. If it's still not coming loose then an oil filter wrench may come in useful. 

These feature either a metal strap, (which look like a bike chain, or a large jubilee clip) or a rubber strap. The strap is placed around the filter housing and the wrench has a handle which increases leverage. 

As the strap 'bites' into the filter is should come loose. You can also get what looks like a very large socket that you slide onto the bottom of the filter which also work as long as the housing isn't dented/deformed.

If it's a cannister filter then the housing is conventionally opened with a large socket. Take note of what size yours is before attempting an oil filter change, as it may be larger than the ones in a basic socket set.

Common problems with oil filters (and how to make them last)

How long should an oil filter last?

The oil filter should be renewed at each oil change without fail. Oil changes should be carried out as per the manufacturers instructions, and this can be as low as every 7,500 miles, or as high as 15,000 miles in some instances.

How much does an oil filter cost to fix?

Very little! The main cost will be the cost of the oil which will be between £20-50. The actual filter itself is likely to give you change from £10, so it's not an expensive job. If you need an oil filter wrench, they cost around £10 too.