Is Hand Tightening An Oil Filter Enough? (Explained!)

A lot of people ask if hand tightening an oil filter is enough. This question triggers a lot of different responses. Some people would say that it is enough to hand tighten an oil filter, and others would say it is not enough to hand tighten it. 

So is hand tightening an oil filter enough? Hand tightening might do the job but it might not do the job sufficiently. Hand tightening is different for every person because how much they can tighten the oil filter is subjective and so to be on the safe side, it would be better to hand tighten it and then use some tools to tighten it even more. 

Hand tightening from one person to another is different and it might not be enough. A person can tighten an oil filter as hard as he can but it is still not guaranteed that the oil filter can really be tightened enough. And that is why it is important also to use a tool so that you can make sure that the oil filter is really tightened enough. 

With that, this article will talk about hand tightening. Stay and keep reading to know much more. Let us start. 

Is Hand Tightening An Oil Filter Enough

Is It Ok To Hand Tighten An Oil Filter?

The rule for changing out an oil filter is to hand tighten it, and then you need to use an oil wrench so that you can tighten it even more. In that way, you can make sure that it is tight enough. The threading on the O-ring can also be broken if you tighten the oil filter a little bit too much. 

A hand tighten is a loosely defined amount of torque, and it is dependent on the judgment of the person and is not always precise and accurate. The hand tightens differently from the hand tighten of another person. With that point, if hand tighten is used for the oil filter, it will not be consistent and with the same tight level. 

Almost all of the service manuals and manufacturers of oil filters will be specific to a certain degree. This means that the tightening is adequate. An oil filter that is overtightened can be hard to remove if you have to someday. 

How Do You Tighten An Oil Filter With Your Hand?

The correct tightness for your oil filter will make sure that the oil filter will not fall off. You should also make sure that it is not damaged as you are driving. It will also help that you make the next oil change an easier task. 

It would help if you did the preparation. Before you put the oil filter, you have to rub the new motor oil around the rubber gasket and along the bottom of the filter. The oil will help in the lubrication of the seal, and it will also make sure that the gasket will not become damaged if it is screwed. 

You then have to determine the tightness. If you install an oil filter, you should screw it slowly using your hand. You have to ensure that the oil filter will turn in transparently, and you have to avoid any damages to the filer. 

This will make the filter secure without being too tight. The oil filters will not need to be too tight. If you unscrew the filter with your hand, it will require a small resistance coming from the tightened position, and then your filter will have the correct tightness. 

How Tight Should The Oil Filter Be?

You can do damage if you over tighten the oil filter. And if you over tighten the drain plug, you will strip the threads. And if it is hard to do, you can cause some damage to your rubber gasket that is on top of the oil filter if you over tighten it. 

So if you remove the oil filter someday, it will be difficult for it to remove. So you should tighten the oil plug as much as you will tighten a spark plug. While hand tightening is good, it is not always the answer because the tightness might not be enough. 

It can be too loose, and it can also be too tightened. So you can then tighten it but make sure the tightness is correct and enough. 

When tightening is different from one person to another. That is why it is not always the best choice to hand tighten. 

What Happens If Your Oil Filter Is Too Loose?

If your oil filter is too loose, you can leak it into your hands. The oil pump is currently and consistently pushing oil out of your engine. And so, through the oil filter, a large amount of oil can be lost through a broken gasket seal or if you have a filter that was not correctly sealed. 

The severity of the leak will depend on the looseness of the oil filter. So a broken oil filter gasket or a pinched oil filter gasket can create a leak if you have tightened your oil filter too tight. 


In summary, a lot of people are asking if hand tightening an oil filter is enough. The answers are divided into two sides. 

So hand tightening is good, but you have to ensure that it is tightened enough and not overtightened. An oil filter that is too tight can cause damages. You do not want that.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more