Harbor Freight Tools for Easy Vehicle Oil Changes

/ / Car Accessories
pouring engine oil

Getting an oil change can be quite expensive if you opt for things like synthetic engine oils and high-quality oil filters. On top of that, the whole process of scheduling an appointment to get it done and venturing out to the shop to do it can be a bit tedious in comparison to the simple task of doing it yourself. Changing your own oil is, in most cases, a quick and easy process. Doing it yourself can save you thousands throughout the life of your vehicle and allows you to be sure you’re getting the oil and components you want and that everything is going back together properly.

That said, doing any sort of essential automotive maintenance is always made easier by having the right tools on hand. Most of the tools needed for an oil change are pretty straightforward, but there are a couple of tools that can help make things go a lot smoother.

Pittsburgh rubber strap wrench set

Strap Wrench Set

Draining your car’s oil is typically the easiest part of an oil change. Filling it back up is often a worry-free experience, too. It’s what happens in between that can sometimes turn a quick and easy job into a nightmare. That is; removing your car’s oil filter. So, you’ll notice a recurring theme throughout these recommendations. Up first, though, is this two-piece Pittsburgh strap wrench set.

Using a strap wrench to remove an oil filter is a simple process. The strap goes around the filter and the notched teeth on the handle prevents the strap from slipping as you turn it. When you’re struggling to get a good grip by hand on an oil filter, a strap wrench is often the perfect solution. In addition, having a strap wrench or two around can come in handy through a ton of other daily uses from basic plumbing to those pesky to open pickle jars.

Overall, the customer rating on this set of strap wrenches is 3.9 out of five stars with 90% recommending it. Some complaints state that the rubber straps are too slippery to get a good grip. However, in my personal experience, sometimes an oil filter is just too stuck for a strap wrench to do the trick.

Pittsburgh Automotive waste oil storage container

harbor Freight oil storage container

One of the most annoying parts of an oil change is dealing with the waste oil left over. Trying to pour it into any jugs or containers you have handy can be a messy nightmare. However, this Pittsburgh Automotive waste oil storage container is an easy solution.

With a capacity of up to 18.5 quarts, this storage container can hold waste oil from a handful of oil changes with a typical passenger vehicle. That’s good because people don’t always have the time to run the oil to a recycling center immediately after an oil change. With its two wing plugs with rubber o-ring seals, you can take solace in knowing that it won’t leak oil wherever it’s stored.

It has an overall rating of 4.1 out of five stars with limited complaints being about the drain hole size being too small and oil splashing everywhere. It is important to note that the best way to use one of these containers is for storage only. Meaning, one should drain the oil from the car into a standard oil pan and then pour it into this container. You can also put a paper towel or oil mat where the oil will drain from your car to dissipate slashing.

Maddox heavy duty oil filter wrench set

Oil Filter Wrench Set

If the strap wrench doesn’t quite do it for you, there is a more effective, albeit more expensive, option. While this particular tool is a little niche and mostly applies to folks who are doing oil changes on multiple vehicles, it is a phenomenal option to have in your back pocket just in case you feel like splurging a little to make life easier.

The Maddox heavy duty oil filter wrench set features 17 different wrench attachments to get a grip on virtually any size and shape oil filter out there. At $69.99, it is a bit of a hefty investment. If you’re planning on routinely doing your own oil changes (and don’t plan on having the same car forever) it’s a very sound investment.

This set makes removing an oil filter a simple task of attaching one of these wrenches to a 3/8-inch ratchet or breaker bar and removing it like you would a standard bolt. The set’s 4.8 out of five-star rating speaks for itself, but the total lack of one-star ratings speaks even louder. The only downside to this set is that some cars may not have room for you to get the wrench itself on the oil filter. So, before purchasing, ensure you’ve got the room to get a tool up to your car’s oil filter.

Holt Industries master oil funnel filling kit

Universal Oil Funnel Set

A basic funnel is cheap and easy to use. So, it makes perfect sense to skip an expensive option for re-filling your car with oil. However, for those with hard-to-reach oil fill tubes or those who are simply interested in a little ease of use, the Holt Industries master oil funnel filling kit is a dream come true.

The kit features 12 color-coded adapters that fit virtually all makes and models. It securely attaches the funnel to the oil fill tube in the same manner that you install the standard oil cap. The 1.25-quart funnel has clearly-marked measurements so, as you pour, you can precisely watch how much oil you’re putting into your vehicle before it swiftly disappears into your engine without any need to hold onto the funnel with one hand or cause a big mess. It also has a 45-degree elbow adapter for those hard-to-reach oil-fill tubes.

The oil funnel kit has a 4.7 out of five-star rating among customer reviews. At $39.99, it’s a bit pricey. Like the wrench set above, though, if you’re planning on routinely changing your car’s oil, it can make things go a lot smoother.

Holt Industries self-adjusting oil filter pliers

Slef Adjusting Oil Filter Pliers

Pay one last visit to that pesky oil filter. If you don’t have the room for the oil filter wrenches and the strap wrench doesn’t quite do it, these Holt Industries self-adjusting oil filter pliers should do the trick.

These pliers automatically adjust to your oil filter’s size, so long as it’s within the tool’s range that spans 2-1/4-inches to 4-3/4-inches and latches on with the serrated teeth in its jaws to give you a firm and secure grip. This makes one-handed operation a breeze, which goes a long way when you’re lying on the ground under your car. They are also quite thin and have six-inch handles, so they’re a great candidate for getting ahold of even the most inconveniently placed oil filters.

They have an overall customer rating of 4.6 out of five and rightfully so, they work great. However, in my personal experience, I have run into a couple of instances where the teeth puncture the oil filter itself and it caused a bit of a mess. Overall, though, when it comes to the “I wasn’t asking” point of needing your pesky oil filter removed, these pliers certainly do the trick.

Why were these tools chosen?

person measuring oil level in car

These tools for changing oil were selected because they are among the most highly-rated Harbor Freight tools for the job. Each has ample online ratings and is trusted by home mechanics to both fulfill the intended purpose and last for a long time. Harbor Freight is known for its variety of tools for pretty much any job — so you know you’re getting a quality option when one of theirs gains traction among hobbyists or professional mechanics.

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