Oil filters are essential for filtering the engine oil before the oil pump circulates it to every nook and cranny part of the engine. Your engine will not reach its shelf life without a good functioning oil filter. That’s why it is crucial to change the oil filter during an engine oil change.
But the question here is, are oil filters reverse-threaded? Knowing the answer to this question will help you know the right way to turn the oil filter when removing or installing it.
In this article, I’ll explain the right way to turn oil filters when losing them, how to tighten them, and whether they can come off on their own. But first, let’s see an oil filter thread is.
What is a filter thread?
An oil filter thread is a threaded hole on the front of the oil filter where you tighten the oil filter to the car engine. Oil filters are not universal, so they have different thread sizes depending on your engine design and specifications. Though, one oil filter can fit in different car models from different brands.
Because the filter thread can fit in different car models doesn’t mean they are made for that vehicle. Now that you have understood what an oil filter thread is, let’s look at which way to turn oil filter to remove it.
Which way do you unscrew an oil filter?
When losing an oil filter, whether by hand or with a wrench, you need to understand which way to turn the oil filter to prevent tightening it instead of losing it. Imagine applying all force to loosen an oil filter by hand where there’s no available oil filter removal tool, and you end up locking the oil filter the way you can’t lose it.
Also, imagine you have already damaged the oil filter and can’t use it. It’s either you take off the oil filter and replace it or park the vehicle right there until you find a solution.
I have been in this unnerving and frustrating situation a couple of times during my early years as a mechanic. Trust me; you don’t want to experience this. So, which way to turn oil filter?
When removing an oil filter, grab and turn the filter counterclockwise until it comes off completely. Remember to set an oil catch pan underneath the oil filter to catch the oil that will rush out.
It is advisable to wear gloves when removing the oil filter to prevent messing up your hands with the engine oil. Keep in mind, you have to position your hand in such a way that the spilling oil will not rush down to your elbow. When tightening the oil filter, torque it by hand. This will prevent you from overlocking it and make it easy to come off next time.
Let’s look at a more concerning question, do oil filters have reverse threads?
Are Oil Filters Reverse Threaded?
Now back to the major question, are car oil filters reverse-threaded? With all clarity and over a decade of experience as an auto mechanic, I can confidently say that the majority of car oil filters are not reverse-threaded. They are threaded towards the right hand or clockwise and loosen towards the left hand or counterclockwise.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. So there may be a case where a vehicle model oil filter is reverse threaded. And the number of such vehicles is just a tiny fraction of all the vehicles out there.
However, since a tiny fraction of vehicles have a reverse-threaded oil filter, it’s important to cross-check the car’s owner’s manual to know for sure if the oil filter is not reverse-threaded. If you have a Honda car, you may wonder, are Honda oil filters reverse threaded? No, Honda, among most American, European, Japanese, and Korean car oil filters, are not reverse threaded.
I understand why are there confusion, concerns, and misconception on this topic. Most vehicle components have reverse threads, and that’s why some folks are asking if oil filters are reverse threaded. I recommend you treat all oil filters with the standard clockwise thread rule or contact your owner’s manual for clarity.
Do oil filters tighten clockwise?
Yes, with all certainty and clarity, as a certified automotive mechanic and car writer, the majority of oil filters are tightened clockwise.
When installing an oil filter, apply a tiny coat of oil on the seal to enhance its sealing capacity. Install the hand and screw it clockwise until it is properly secured. With bare hands, tighten the oil filter until it can’t move anymore.
How do oil filters come off?
To loosen an oil filter, grab the filter with both hands and turn it counterclockwise or left-hand side. It won’t be easy to come off, so you have to apply force on it. If the oil filter is stuck and won’t come off by hand, get an oil filter wrench, wrap it around the filter, and turn it to the left-hand side. Once the oil filter is loosened using the wrench, drop the wrench and screw off the filter by hand.
In summary, while a tiny fraction of oil filters may be reverse-threaded in some specific designs, the majority of all oil filters are not reverse-threaded. When dealing with oil filters, follow the standard tightening and losing methods. Turn the filter counterclockwise when loosening it and clockwise when tightening it.
However, you should consult your owner’s manual to be sure of where to turn the oil filter on your specific car model.