Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Oil filter leak — spin on style

Fix a spin-on oil filter leak

An oil filter leak is usually caused by improper installation. Failing to remove the old O-ring gasket before applying the new filter will always cause an oil filter leak on a spin-on oil filter. Under or over-tightening can also cause an oil filter leak.

#1 cause of oil filter leak — leaving the old gasket in place

When you remove an oil spin-on filter, the old gasket can sometimes stick to the oil filter mounting boss. If you don’t remove the old O-ring before installing the new filter, you’ll wind up double gasketing the oil filter, guaranteeing an oil filter leak.

double gasket oil filter
#2 cause of oil filter leak — under-tightening

The gasket must compress in order to seal the filter and prevent leaks. Most filter manufactures include tightening instructions right on the filter box. Those instructions usually call for you to spin the filter on until it contacts the mounting base and then turn the filter a specified number or turns by hand. The turns vary based on the gasket design.

#3 cause of oil filter leak — over-tightening

Some oil filter gaskets are square-cut O-rings, while others are traditional rounded-edge O-rings. It doesn’t take must torque to seat and seal either type. However, it’s much easier to split/crack a rounded O-ring, causing an immediate oil leak. Never use an oil filter wrench to tighten a spin-on oil filter.

OIl filter gasket

©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat



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