Here’s an ASE test prep question for you:
Technician A says a spin-on oil filter needs to be tightened with a wrench until it is tight. Technician B says a spin-on oil filter needs to be tightened by hand until the gasket comes in contact with the block and turned a specified amount. Who is correct?
Technician A or B?
The answer is Technician B.
The majority of light vehicle oil filters do not need a wrench for installation, and tightening a filter too much can cause a leak. Why? The gasket can become fully compressed, and the groove that holds the gasket can be crushed; this can cause a major leak once the engine is started and the filter is under oil pressure.
For the majority of canister oil filters, the installation method is to hand tighten the filter until the gasket makes contact with the engine. Once the contact is made, turn the filter the specified amount, this can be anywhere from a quarter turn to a full turn. By using this method, the gasket is compressed the correct amount. Many filters will have these instructions and even marks printed on the side of the filter to show how far the filter should be tightened. The next time you change an oil filter, make sure you use this method. Over tightening an oil filter will not ensure it will not leak. It only increases the chance of a leak. This video is sponsored by FRAM.