The oil filter is essential for keeping the engine oil clear of external dirt and debris. Oil filters become clogged over time and must be changed during an oil change.

Are you trying to change your oil filter but don’t have an oil filter wrench or other specialized tools? Don’t worry; there are still ways to remove the oil filter without using a tool. In this article, we will show you how to remove an oil filter without using a tool, so you can efficiently complete the job even if you’re in a pinch or don’t have the proper equipment.

Can you unscrew an oil filter with your hand?

Cartridge filters can easily be removed by hand, but spin-on filters may require a wrench or other tool. Remove the Cartridge oil filter by twisting it anticlockwise. Make sure to use your dominant hand and all of your force. 

Tips to Remove an Oil Filter by Hand –

  1. Apply a penetrating oil, such as WD-40, to make it easier to rotate the oil filter.
  2. Use sandpaper or rubber gloves for a firmer grip on the oil filter.

If the oil filter were previously hand-tightened, it would be easily removed. However, if you over tighten the oil filter or did not adequately lubricate it the last time, the filter may become stuck.

In that situation, a tool will be necessary for the additional torque required to remove the oil filter.

How to remove oil filter without tool

If you do not have an oil filter wrench, you can remove the oil filter with items easily available in the household.

Method 1 – Using a belt strap

To remove the oil filter, use the belt strap as a tool. Keep a few things in mind when using the belt as an oil filter removal tool:

  1. Choose a belt with less elasticity to withstand high pressure.
  2. For improved grip, choose a belt with a rough interior. Sandpaper can also be placed between the belt and the oil filter to prevent the belt from slipping.
  3. Reversible belts and belts with adjustable buckles should be avoided since they cannot sustain excessive pressure.


  1. Thoroughly clean the oil filter to prevent slippage.
  2. Place the belt strap around the end of the oil filter.
  3. Put the loose end through the buckle without fastening it.
  4. Pull the loose end back over the buckle and tighten it to form a cinch.
  5. Gently pull the loose end of the belt in a counterclockwise manner.
  6. Once loose, remove the oil filter by hand.

Method 2 – Using Screwdriver 

Every home has a screwdriver and a hammer readily available. Using a screwdriver should be your last resort since it may cause the gasket to break. 


  1. Push a screwdriver through the side of the oil filter case with a hammer.
  2. Try to get around halfway without touching the thread.
  3. Check that the screwdriver is correctly inserted.
  4. Use it as a lever to rotate the jammed oil filter in a counterclockwise motion.
  5. Remove the oil filter by hand after it has been loosened.

How do you make a homemade oil filter wrench?

Following a few steps, you can utilize a socket wrench and socket extension as an oil filter wrench. You’ll need a bandana for this.


  1. Fold the bandana in half to make a strap.
  2. Tie the two ends of the bandana together to make a circle.
  3. Cross the bandana’s right end over and underneath the left end to form a loop.
  4. Form a slack by tucking the right end underneath the loop.
  5. Tighten the socket extension by slipping it through the slack area of the knot.
  6. Place the bandana around the oil filter. Continue to twist the socket extension until it is tight.
  7. Attach the extension to the socket wrench and attempt to remove the oil filter.


You can use your hands if you don't have an oil filter wrench.If not, a belt strap or a screwdriver can be used.A standard socket wrench can also be used as an oil filter wrench when combined with a bandana.


To summarize, the oil filter should be replaced regularly. If the oil filter was previously hand-tightened, it could be removed by hand. However, if you used a tool the last time, you’ll need one again for the higher torque. 

If you don’t have an oil filter wrench, you can remove the oil filter with a belt strap or bandana. If you don’t mind damaging the oil filter, your final choice is to use a screwdriver. You can also have a mechanic remove the oil filter using the right tools.  

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