Changing Oil Filter Without Draining Oil – 6 Easy Steps

It gets super tiring to see your oil is draining while you’re changing your oil filter. Well, every car owner faces a similar problem. This doesn’t only cost you money but effort as well. 

So, is changing oil filter without draining oil possible?

Yes, it is possible. To do it, remove your old oil filter first. Then get a new oil filter and stick press it into the housing. Put new oil on the base of the rubber O ring afterward. Seal it with a torque wrench later on. Make sure to set up the proper torque. Lastly, tighten it perfectly. 

Still, confused? Don’t worry, we have provided the perfect step-by-step guideline to do the task. 

So, let’s not waste time and jump right in- 

Can You Change Your Oil Filter Without Draining?

Changing oil every time you change your oil filter can be a very hectic job. Every time you might feel like a good amount of oil is being wasted. 

And you’re right! This will waste both your time and money. 

But you can surely change your car’s oil filter without wasting any good oil. Let us explain how- 

The oil is actually untouched when you change your filter. Oil only comes out after you remove your anti-drainback gasket. This is the oil that is stuck inside the filter beyond the anti-drainback gasket. 

But what happens if you change oil filter but not oil? 

Don’t need to worry, it’s absolutely harmless. You might lose half a quart of oil when you change your oil filter. This basically depends on what type of car you have.

So, let’s see how you can change your oil filter without draining.

How to Remove Oil Filter without Spilling Oil?

Every car owner knows about the need to change the oil filter before it gets clogged. However, there is one simple rule. 

That is, you should change your oil filter every 2nd time you change your oil. But there are times when you only have to change the car’s oil filter. If you also change your oil that time, you would be basically wasting it. 

Now, let’s see the steps how to change oil filter but not oil-

Necessary Equipment-

Before you follow through with the process, there are some things you will need-

  • New oil filter
  • Oil filter wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Drain pan 
  • Rubber gloves 

Got them? Then let’s get started 

Step 1 of 6: Don’t Warm Up Engine

An engine warmup is only required if you change your oil. However, you’re only changing the oil filter, it’s better not to warm up the engine. This way is also safer because there is no risk of burning yourself.

Step 2 of 6: Ready the Car For Filter Access

For this step, first, you need to locate the oil filter. Keep in mind that the oil filter will not be in the same place in all cars. Some oil filters are easier to find while others aren’t. 

One useful tip is to check out your new oil filter. It is an excellent way to locate the position of your oil filter. 

Also, remember, it is a must to have a good working space. Once you’ve done that, place your drain pan in a good spot. 

Now that you’re all set, let’s move on to the next step-  

Step 3 of 6: Remove Your Oil Filter

Set your drain pan underneath the oil filter. Then take an oil wrench and a ratchet. Slowly loosen up the oil filter. 

The oil filter is not supposed to be too tight. So, you wouldn’t need to use too much force to loosen it. 

Once the filter is loose enough, use your hand and unscrew it fully. Now, place your oil filter in the drain pan quickly. Because you wouldn’t want it to be rolling around on the floor and spill oil everywhere. 

Step 4 of 6: Inspect the Paper Element of the Filter

This is an optional step. But, it is important if you are willing to find the condition of your engine. 

If you have a paper element oil filter, simply take a knife and cut through the paper element. Check if there are any chunks of debris in the paper. 

If there isn’t any, your car engine is in good condition. Your engine can have small particles. But huge chunks of debris can be harmful. 

Step 5 of 6: Place the New Car Oil Filter

This task differs depending on your oil filter kind or type. But don’t worry! 

We have explained this procedure for the two most common types of oil filters. Let’s see what we got- 

Purolator Filter

First, stick and press your Purolator filter into the housing. A Purolator filter comes with a new rubber O ring. 

Now, replace your old rubber O ring with the new one. Make sure to put new oil on the ring before you place it on. This will make a better seal. 

Once you’re done, grab your torque wrench. Make sure to set up the proper torque, then tighten it up. 

Canister filter

For a canister filter, first, coat the O ring on the base with new oil. Now, tighten it onto the mounting boss. Stop when the O ring touches the mating surface. 

Next, you’ll need your torque wrench. Because you have to tighten your oil filter cup. If your manufacturer has a recommended torque, follow it. 

If not, just tighten the filter one turn clockwise. This will set the O ring perfectly. 

Step 6 of 6: Add the Lost Oil

You’re almost done. But there is still some work left. You’re done putting on your new oil filter. Now, make sure you add the oil which was lost. 

Usually, you’ll need somewhere between half to one quart of oil. Once you’re finished, make sure to close that oil filler cap tightly. 

That’s it! You’re all done. We hope from now on you won’t waste good oil!


Question: How often do I need to change my oil filter?

Answer: After every other time oil is changed. So, the oil filter needs to be changed too. You have to change it every 3-6 months.

Question: Is it okay to use the same oil filter twice?

Answer: Yes, it’s totally safe. However, a standard oil filter may not provide the needed service life. This will force you to change it in the middle of the oil drain period, which is problematic.

Question: Is it necessary to prefill an oil filter?

Answer: No, it is not necessary to prefill an oil filter. If you have a huge, heavy-duty truck, pre-filling the filter makes the job go faster. But it’s not necessary if you have a smaller automobile.

Final Word

Now you know changing oil filter without draining oil is possible. We have explained the step-by-step process of how you can do it. 

This will be a fairly simple task if you have the slightest knowledge about cars. But you can always go to a mechanic for help. 

Good luck!

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