Best Alternative Oil Filter Pliers

Oil filter pliers or wrench is usually the best tool for removing a stuck oil filter. But when you do not have the tool on hand, you can try other methods such as using your belt, bike chain, screwdriver, strap wrench, or oil filter cup. Alternatively, you can use water pump pliers. But not all of them can do the job. My favorite is the channellock pliers with serrated flat or V-jaws. They are relatively inexpensive and well-made. And above all, Made in USA.

Best Channellock For Oil Filter Removal

In terms of size, the optimal choice for most oil filters is the 12-inch Channellock 440. It has a wider opening than 2-1/4 inches, making it suitable for the majority of oil filters in small cars.

The channel lock 440 pliers are huge. They have long handles that provide the leverage you need to break loose a stuck oil filter without busting your knuckles. The handles have vinyl grips that keep the pliers from sliding out of your hand.

The jaws are grooved to provide a tight grip on anything you put in between. They go around the oil filter and grip it like a magnet. They are also easy to adjust to different capacities to grab various sizes of small oil filters.

oil filter remover tool
Oil filter removal tool

Regrettably, these American-made water pump pliers with iconic blue handles do not open wide enough to fit very large oil filters such as those on large diesel engines. As a result, you inevitably need a specialized oil filter removal tool when working with such engine types.


Overall, the 12-inch Channel Lock 440 adjustable pliers are a valuable tool to have for regular use. Not only are they useful for home plumbing, but they also come in handy for removing an oil filter that won’t come off by hand during regular oil changes. Additionally, these pliers are versatile and reasonably priced.

So, rather than buying oil filter pliers for changing out the small oil filters, I suggest investing in a pair of ChannelLock 440. These pliers have a wider range of uses beyond the garage, making them a versatile tool to have on hand. You can use them to repair plumbing at home in addition to changing your car’s oil filters.

So, if you thought the Channellock 440 water pump pliers are too huge, think again. These pliers are the best alternative tool for taking off small oil filters when you don’t have oil filter pliers or wrench.

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Julio a.k.a Pliersman is the owner and creator of the Pliersman Website. A blog that informs and educates you about different types of pliers and their uses. Julio is a handy person and has used a variety of pliers including general-purpose and specialty pliers to accomplish tasks. He holds an electrical engineering degree and has previously worked as an O&M manager for minigrids where his love story with pliers and other tools began.