Crushed oil filter trying to remove it... how to get it out


Founding Member
May 1, 2002
Granada Hills, California
Dumb mistake by me last night... tried to do an oil change on my 66/351w last night... I've done probably 25 oil changes on this and other cars and its never happened to me. Not sure whether the oil filter wrench I got was cheap, whether I was doing something wrong, or whether the filter was on too tight... but it wouldn't budge, and eventually started crushing a little. Probably didn't help I was a little tired/cranky and wasn't particularly patient :nonono:

Anyway... the top of the filter is fairly intact. How can I go about getting it out?

:) Thanks
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New Member
Dec 31, 2004
Bay Area, CA
ditto on the screwdriver

I've done this more times than I care to count. I've never owned a filter wrench. :D

Skinny screwdriver is usually OK, flathead so it's easy to puncture the steel, almost anywhere in the middle is OK. Make sure you have enough space to make a decent 1/2 rotation or so before you encounter any interference. Puncture both sides or else it will just slip around in there. The steel on both sides of the filter is what gives you most/all of the "purchase" to rotate the filter from.

A half turn might do it, but be prepared to make a mess and curse a little bit if you have to do it twice. You'll make a mess either way.

Don't puncture it near the threads at the bottom, obviously. Midway to 3/4 of the way to the top is probably good.


Founding Member
Jul 28, 2002
Ennis, Texas
You can pretty much use any screwdriver you want as long as it's not so thin that it will tear through the sheet metal easily. The ones I've used in the past were pretty standard sizes with diameters in the 5/16" range.

As far as where you hit it, I just go for the middle of it and make sure to give myself enough clearance so that I won't hit the threads.

That's basically it, but if you don't feel comfortable doing that there are probably other ways.


New Member
Feb 11, 2010
3rd vote for the srewdriver method. Very effective when done with caution. Get as close to the threded end as possible without stabbing the neck on your block's oil mount.


I prefer to be called "Evil Genius"
Founding Member
Oct 10, 2001
Western Mass
I've used a large screwdriver myself in a pinch. If you get to the point where you wind up tearing the end of the can off, as last resorts, you can use large channel locks and if that does not work, there is always catching the base with a punch in the CCW direction the filter needs to turn.
I would use a small chisel a small chisel and hammer at the very top of the filter and drive it of in the CCW direction to remove it. Every time I've used the screwdriver method I've torn the filter then have to have the car towed to a dealer for them to remove it.


Oct 18, 2005
I know I'm late to this thread...a word of caution...the screwdriver method causes sharp edges in the metal and can cause cuts on the hand once it's loose and you start turning by hand. Don't ask me how I know... :)


New Member
Jan 19, 2010
West Virginia
Sounds like these guys have all learned the hard way. I vote for the screw driver as well but the main thing is not to put the new one on like the old one. Be sure to lube the gasket before you install the new filter and please don't over tighten it or you will be doing this again. I don't use a filter wrench to put one on. I just tighten it by hand. I have own everything from a 1958 Fairlane to a 2003 Mustang GT. I haven't had to use a screw driver but a few times. Good luck.


Apr 1, 2005
I have a really large pipe wrench that works pretty well. Have done the screwdriver thing as well, and it's fine. Just remember to make sure the old gasket is removed, put a little oil on the new gasket, and you should be fine!
Band Wrench

Well if the filter is alread crushed I dont know if the screw driver idea will work although ive used that method before. I would get a cheap band wrench and put it all the way down by the base closest to the block and give that a try. If its slipping put a shop towel around it first so the wrench can bite in. Make sure the gasket is off when you finally do get it off. I would just make sure to lube up that new gasket and give it about a half turn one if snugs up.