You and I know that you don’t need to crank down oil filters like you’re torquing the lug nut on an F1 car. Just snug it up and you’re good to go. But how many times have you had to twist like hell — generally with a not-quite-perfect-fit oil filter wrench — to undo the machinations of an over-zealous kid at the dealer or oil change palace? I’ve even resorted to the classic jam-a-screwdriver-through-it solution, though there’s always a risk of skewering the intake tube running down the center of the filter. This set of jawed pliers sounds like a better solution.
These pliers from IPA, called Gator Jaws, look sorta like a set of blacksmith’s pliers in that they’re long and narrow. That makes sense, though, because hot exhaust manifolds and headers are just as likely to burn the living crap out of you as a coal fire. So like the ‘smith’s pliers, these let you reach in around the danger. Unlike ‘smith’s pliers, though, the Gators’ teeth dig into the sides of stuck filters, giving you the friction you need to loosen and remove them.
One piece of bad news: They’re not exactly cheap. We found them on the ‘net starting around $60 and ranging up to $75 or more. On the other hand — and speaking of hands — I could’ve used these more than once, and I’d happily shell out a couple of bucks to keep from burning myself.