The national cost for an oil filter housing replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $279 and $830 with an average of $401.

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What is an oil filter housing and how does it work?

The oil that lubricates and cools your engine is forced through an oil filter to trap contaminants that can be harmful to engine components, causing premature wear and tear that could lead to costly repairs. When you have the oil changed inside your engine, it is customary to also have the oil filter replaced.

Many vehicles feature a spin-off canister-style oil filter. This type of filter is self-contained, something like a metal can with a filter inside that screws onto a flange on your engine. But many newer vehicles come with a cartridge-style filter instead. With this type of oil filter, a removable filter element is located inside a permanently-mounted cylindrical filter housing attached to the engine. The housing can be disassembled so that the filter element can be replaced.

This arrangement is similar to that of many residential water filters, where a plastic housing is opened up in order to swap out the filter element inside. But, in many cases, the procedures necessary to replace an engine’s oil filter housing are far more complex.


How is a an Oil Filter Housing Replacement done?

The process of replacing an oil filter housing differs greatly from one vehicle to another. That is because the mounting location is different from one engine to the next. The number of other engine components that might need to be removed for access varies as well. And the process can be quite complex. While not all filter housings require the same steps, a typical removal and installation might include the following:

  • Lift and support your vehicle in the air for access
  • Remove the lower engine shields and upper engine cover(s)
  • Remove the air intake ducts
  • Unplug the wires to the fuel injectors and remove the fuel rail (the fuel system might need to be depressurized first)
  • Unbolt and remove the intake manifold
  • Detach and remove the oil cooler assembly (this component might be part of the oil filter housing)
  • Remove the thermostat cover (in some cases) or other components
  • Unbolt the oil filter housing and extract it from its mounting location
  • Install a new housing and gasket
  • Replace all components removed for access
  • Install a new oil filter element and gaskets
  • Top off the oil (or refill as necessary)
  • Top off the engine coolant
  • Reset any diagnostic trouble codes as necessary

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National average cost of a an Oil Filter Housing Replacement
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Avg. cost


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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new oil filter housing?

First of all, if your engine uses a canister-style oil filter, there is no housing to replace. If any of the following signs are evident in that case, they will point to a different problem. But if your engine relies on a cartridge-style oil filter, then these symptoms might indicate that the housing needs to be replaced.

Depending on the manufacturer, these filter housings can be made of varying amounts of aluminum and plastic. It is common for an engine to have a body made mostly of aluminum with a plastic container to hold the filter element. But some oil filter housings are composed primarily of plastic. In any case, the housing is mounted directly to the engine, often buried deep inside the engine compartment.

Other than physical damage to the housing from an impact or due to overtightening, the usual trouble with the component often stems from warpage. As your engine goes through heat cycles every time it runs, the plastic parts of the housing can warp and fail to seal against leakage. Therefore, signs of a bad oil filter housing include:

An oil leak inside the engine compartment or on the ground beneath your vehicle

Low oil level when checked on the dipstick

Low oil pressure (often signaled by a low oil pressure light on the dashboard)

Check engine light Of course, these symptoms can also point to other problems. And none of them specifically indicates a bad oil filter housing, unless it can be determined that an oil leak is coming from the housing.

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Other questions customers ask

What causes an oil filter housing to crack?
An oil filter housing can become warped or damaged as a result of the normal cycling of heat in an engine. But if the housing develops a crack, it is more likely due to some type of impact or (more likely) overtightening at the time of a previous oil filter element change.
How long does it take to replace an oil filter housing?
It might take a couple of hours for an experienced technician to change the oil filter housing on an engine. But that is because experience helps when removing all of the other components that are in the way of access to the housing. On some vehicles, it is necessary to not only remove engine covers and shields, but significant parts of the engine, like the fuel injectors and fuel rail, the intake manifold, and more.
How do I know if my oil filter housing is leaking?
If your engine’s oil filter housing is easily viewed inside the engine compartment, you might be able to tell that it is leaking by simply looking at it. Unfortunately, the housing is not always easy to see. Other components might need to be removed to properly diagnose the problem, especially since the housing is only one of many places from which engine oil can leak.

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