You will find the engine oil cap on top of or close to a valve cover when you open the hood of your car. Usually, it is found on the driver’s side of the engine compartment. 

The engine oil caps do the job of sealing the oil fill opening, and this is where you pour the motor/engine oil. The oil cap also has a seal, and a standard oil cap is usually black or the colour of the internal engine and is most commonly made of plastic. 

The plastic material is especially lubricant-proof like oil. There are also other oil caps made from plastic with a combination of other substances like aluminium, etc.

If you get confused while attempting to find an oil cap, usually there is an oil can symbol on the oil cap. Sometimes oil caps have “engine oil” or a few versions written on them. With this, you will not get confused when adding fresh oil to the engine or checking the dipstick of your engine oil.

The engine oil cap is often not too hard to remove, but sometimes you may encounter difficulty while removing it as it gets stuck.

How Long Should You Wait to Open the Engine Oil Cap?

There should not be any positive pressure when removing the oil cap. It might be almost impossible to remove the oil cap when the engine is running as the inlet vacuum will just tightly suck the cap down. 

Ensure that your car is parked on level ground, as a slope might give improper oil readings. Your engine should be cool, so if you just come back after a drive, wait for around 10 minutes before checking your oil level, or mark it first before driving out.

Here are some simple tips for you that will guide you and help you know how to open your engine oil cap. You can just try them at home, and it won’t cost you much or anything at all. 

Tips on How to Open the Engine Oil Cap

As we have seen, opening an engine oil cap shouldn’t be that tough. After you have located the cap and maintained all the circumstances, you can try to hold the cap and start moving it in an anticlockwise direction. 

If you don’t do it right, you could injure your hands. Make sure you don’t move the cap in the opposite direction, or else you will just fit it more tightly than removing it, and it might get too tight. 

If you cannot open the engine oil cap with your bare hands and it looks like there is something in the grooves of the cap that made it stick, just clean everything up.

You can take a pick and toothbrush and clean off the gunk on the oil cap. If it’s too gunky, you can dab a rag in some oil as it will help the gunk to loosen up.

If you think it is stuck or too tight for you, then you can use tools to open it up. These are the tools you can use to open the engine oil cap.

Use a Wrench or Spanner

The wrench is the most common tool for opening a type engine oil cap to change motor oil. A pipe wrench is generally used for tightening or loosening pipes, nuts, bolts and stuff, but can also be used for engine oil caps. 

Just position the open jaw side of the wrench to the oil cap and adjust it to hold a tight grip on the cap. Once you position it properly, apply pressure to move the oil cap in the anticlockwise direction.

As we read earlier, be careful not to turn it the other way around, or you might end up getting an extra tightly sealed engine oil cap that is harder to remove.

There are other wrench types that you can use like, a ratcheting wrench and a socket wrench to open an engine oil cap. The only difference is that you will need the exact size of the tool that fits your cap to open it, while you can adjust a pipe wrench according to your cap’s size.

Use of Pliers

One of the ways is to use the pliers to open your engine oil cap. Hold the cap between the piler’s jaw/teeth and apply pressure to make a tight grip. 

If you think one hand is not enough to provide enough force, then use both hands. Turn the cap in a counterclockwise direction slowly with strong torque. 

Sometimes the cap may be covered in oil, reducing the grip while holding, so in such cases, you can just wrap the pliers with gloves or cloth to get a better grip. 


The engine oil cap ensures that the oil poured into the engine oil tank does not spill out and contaminate the engine compartment. It is important to keep your oil caps in check and replace them every time you change the oil. 

If you are stuck with engine oil cap problems, this article hopefully provides enough information to deal with them. And also answers your queries about how to open the engine oil cap.

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