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Talking about when to change your oil and what oil filter to use can spark arguments where both sides defend their positions with religious fervor. Nevertheless, let’s forget about the marketing hype for a minute and recognize K&N for their simple innovation that should be standard on all oil filters: they’ve eliminated the need for special filter wrenches by welding 1″ nuts to the top of their automotive and marine filter canisters and 17mm nuts to their motorcycle and ATV canister filters.

No more strap wrenches, contraptions that look like they came from a claw-game, or pliers with gaping jaws to remove and replace your oil filter. For K&N Wrench-Off oil filters all you need is a standard 1″ or 17mm wrench or ratchet.

Street pricing on these filters runs from $7 to $15.

Oil Filters [K&N]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Oil Filters [What’s This?] [Amazon]

 

21 Responses to Goodbye, Strap Wrench!

  1. DJMoore says:

    Then there’s Saturn’s solution:
    My L200 has a filter housing which not only has a hex nut molded into the cap, but is also accessible by lifting the hood. Now all they have to do is figure out how to get drain plug out from underneath, and oil changes will be absolutely trivial.

  2. jb says:

    Its not really an innovation by K&N… Volkswagen has been doing this for years on their oil filter housings.

  3. There are two other things you can do, one is to use really big channel locks or do what I do, just use your hand. Start going to the gym more and you will be able to do it too. 🙂

  4. I had even heard about Volkswagen doing this — hadn’t heard about Saturn though.

    Saying this was their simple innovation was the wrong choice of words on my part since other companies have done something similar, but making oil filters easier to remove for the rest of us is still a good thing.

  5. Old Donn says:

    A good idea, if you can get to the top/bottom of the filter. Anyone who’s had a Pontiac Sunfire knows what I mean. You can barely see the filter, much less get a wrench up there. And, a lot of the newer cars are going back to the cartridge filter, like GM had for years. Don’t know why, those were a pain.

  6. DJMoore says:

    Just in case there’s anyone here who hasn’t seen one of these (it was new to me), here’s my oil filter housing:
    http://ricketyclick.com/blog/index.php/saturn-l-series-oil-filter/

    Here’s the element that goes into the housing:
    http://www.pureoil.com/smartlink/?partnum=L15436

    The cartridge-type is not a problem for me, given how clean and easy it is to get to in my car, and of course I’m not throwing away a canister every time I replace one.

    I can actually change this in the parking lot of the auto parts store, bare-handed, without crawling under the car or draining the crankcase

  7. ShopMonger says:

    These have been out for many years, but they do strip very easy becaus of the coating on them. when they manufacture them, they put a heavy coating on them, which is great for race cars with high heat, however they can strip easy so be careful that the wrench on on straight…

  8. ShopMonger says:

    “figure out how to get drain plug out from underneath, and oil changes will be absolutely trivial”

    On all my car on the first oil change I put a plug with a allen head on it in for the plug. Makes it really easy for removal with and allen head socket set…

    let’s “knuckle busting” and a lot less swearing

  9. Toolaremia says:

    Personally, I think the K&N’s are ludicrously overpriced. They aren’t that much better than a Purolator. (I think they might even have identical guts.)

    If you like having a nut on your filters, buy the nuts and some super glue and have at it. That’s what the motorcycle guys do.

    I use the Lisle filter wrench for removing my little filters, and a plastic filter socket for installing them. (They go on *very* tight.) I just use a metal filter socket for my big filters. No troubles.

  10. DJMoore says:

    Shopmonger, my apologies: I meant to say, “take out the drain plug without having to crawl underneath”. Don’t know how I let that slip by.

  11. Nick says:

    man you guys make life to difficult. For the cars that I own where the filter is on, I drain the oil, then take a flat head screwdriver, pound it through the oil figler, and use that for leverage. Guaranteed to get any oil filter off, little mess to. Obviously the longer the better leverage, but why even mess with oil filter wrenches or buy over priced k&n.

    Or get a super duty with the oil filter ontop with a 36mm socket 🙂

  12. Casey says:

    Neat idea but how about “JB Weld”ing a nut on the end of your replacement oil filter? That’s what I am going to do from now on.

  13. Old Donn says:

    Aside to DLMoore. I’d like to have a look, but can’t link to your page. Evidently, your application’s on top. My old Chevy small block’s on the bottom. Removing the can’s a mess as well as cleaning it out. I know there are spin-on conversions, but I’m trying to keep it as original as possible, so I’ll live with it, (it’s still a pain). Had a ’71 Pinto back in the day. The drain plug was on the left side of the pan, the filter on the side of the block, all accessible from under the hood. The only car I’ve owned where the oil could be changed from above. The Pinto was a POS otherwise, but that feature made life a little easier.

  14. techieman33 says:

    if you don’t want to have to use a wrench on your drain plug get a fumoto drain valve, no tools needed, and no mess either.

    As far as the screwdriver method, your just begging for trouble. That should only be attempted as a last resort. the canister could just buckle and still not come out then your really screwed. And besides if you can get a screwdriver in there you could probably get a wrench in there too.

  15. Brew says:

    You should be able to un-thread the old filter by hand, no tools needed. If you can’t you either put it on too tight, or it has been on there too long.

    For the plug, I put in one of these, and it works great. Can attach a hose so it goes directly in to the pan.

    http://www.quickoildrainvalve.com/

    I also put a filter relocator on one of my old trucks since the filter was hard to get at and it worked nice too. Put the filter up in the engine bay and the plug even had a cable that would drain the oil from under the hood.

  16. apotheosis says:

    What Brew said. I picked up on the relocator thing years ago from 4×4 magazines, and they’re a solid winner. Definitely worth the money.

  17. beano_t says:

    the champion filter for my aircraft has one of these nuts welded on and it is the coolest thing since sliced bread. Of course the filter is chest high and and oil changes are a breeze.

    http://www.chiefaircraft.com/airsec/Aircraft/OilSystem/OilFilters.html

  18. Old Donn says:

    Aside to Brew. I agree, to an extent. But when the filter’s on for 3000-5000 miles, exposed to the weather as well as the temperature extremes of the engine, they tend to get a little snug, even if they were installed hand tight. Plus, if you follow the book and warm the engine up prior to changing oil, things down there get a liitle too warm to touch, especially if the filters are tucked up against the side of the block, oilpan and flywheel.

  19. steve in W MA says:

    Cute, but unnecessary. Buy a strap wrench. It will last forever and work forever.

    Of course, I know this is basically a marketing article so whatever.

  20. Jimmy Neveno says:

    Yea I agree this is a nice addition but kind of unnecessary. Instead why not use a “no-spill” drain plug. Much easier that having to still unscrew and blah blah blah. Make life easy.

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