Cracked Oil Filter Housing: Quick Fixes and Tips

Cracked oil filter housings are a common issue that can lead to oil leaks and reduced engine performance.

Identifying and addressing this problem as soon as possible is essential for maintaining the overall health and longevity of your vehicle.

In this article, we will discuss the signs of a cracked oil filter housing, the potential causes, and the steps to fix it.

Oil filter housings play an essential role in your vehicle’s engine – they protect the oil filter, which in turn helps remove contaminants from the engine oil.

Cracked Oil Filter Housing

Over time, the housing can become damaged, and cracks may form, allowing oil to leak out and potentially causing damage to other engine components.

There are various reasons for this occurrence, such as the materials’ wear and tear, incorrect installation, or external damages.

Taking preventive measures and regularly inspecting your engine’s components can help reduce the chances of a cracked oil filter housing.

In the case that a crack is identified, prompt repair or replacement is necessary to prevent further issues.

Consider seeking professional guidance and choosing high-quality parts when addressing this problem to ensure your vehicle’s optimal performance.

Key Takeaways

  • Cracked oil filter housings can lead to oil leaks and engine problems
  • Regular inspections and maintenance can prevent the issue
  • Prompt repair or replacement is crucial if a crack is identified

Identifying a Cracked Oil Filter Housing

Visible Leakage and Oil Loss

A cracked oil filter housing is most noticeable when you see oil leaking or oil loss around the filter. For example, oil may pool on the ground or a garage floor.

This is a dangerous scenario because running a car without oil, even for 10 seconds can cause damage to the engine.

Remember to:

  • Check for oil dripping from the engine
  • Inspect the filter housing for cracks or damage

Oil and Coolant Mixing

In some cases, a cracked housing can cause oil and coolant to mix. This can result in damage to the engine. To identify this issue, look for:

  • Milky or frothy substance on the dipstick or oil cap
  • Unusual engine overheating

Check Engine Light and Oil Pressure

A cracked oil filter housing might trigger the check engine light or cause low oil pressure. Pay attention to:

  • Illuminated check engine light
  • Oil pressure gauge indicating low pressure

By carefully checking these aspects, you can identify a cracked oil filter housing and take the necessary steps to fix it.

Common Causes of Cracked Oil Filter Housing

Material Fatigue and Corrosion

  • Material fatigue occurs when the housing weakens over time due to constant pressure and stress.
  • Corrosion can happen due to exposure to chemicals or moisture, leading to the weakening of the housing.

For example, a plastic housing can become brittle and crack easily, especially under high temperature or pressure.

Incorrect Installation and Over-Tightening

  • Incorrect installation involves improper alignment or misuse of bolts, leading to cracks or leaks.
  • Over-tightening can cause too much stress on a filter housing, eventually leading to cracks.

A common example is when a mechanic overtightens the filter and the plastic assembly cracks, causing oil to leak.

Comparison Table:

Incorrect InstallationPoor alignmentCracked housing
Over-TighteningExcessive forceCracked housing

Damaged Gaskets and O-Rings

  • Damaged gaskets and O-rings can occur when the sealing components are worn, damaged, or incorrectly installed.
  • Leaking can happen when pressure builds, forcing oil or coolant to escape through weak points.

A notable example is an oil filter installed too tightly, causing the gasket to be damaged and leading to leaks.

Steps to Fix a Cracked Oil Filter Housing

Assessing the Damage and Cost

Before you fix a cracked oil filter housing, assess the damage. Examine the housing for cracks and leaks.

If you suspect a leak, look for stained areas on the engine block and the back of the bell housing. The cost to fix the cracked housing will depend on the extent of the damage. For example:

  • Minor cracks may be repaired with sealants
  • Major damage may require housing replacement

DIY Fixing Cracked Oil Filter Housing Problems

You can try to fix the oil filter housing yourself, using the following steps:

  1. Locate the oil filter housing under the hood of your car and check for signs of leakage or damage.
  2. Drain the engine oil and coolant from your car using a drain pan and a wrench.
  3. Remove the air intake hose, the serpentine belt, and the alternator to access the oil filter housing.
  4. Disconnect the electrical connectors and hoses from the oil filter housing and remove the bolts that secure it to the engine block.
  5. Carefully lift the oil filter housing out of the engine bay and inspect it for cracks or wear.
  6. Replace the old oil filter housing with a new one and install it in reverse order of removal.
  7. Refill the engine oil and coolant and check for leaks.

Remember to take your car out for a test drive once you are finished and ensure there are no oil leakages on the road.

Choosing a Mechanic or Dealership

In some cases, it may not be possible to fix the oil filter housing yourself. In such cases, you should either go to a mechanic or your dealership to get the repair done.

Both has its pros and cons.

When selecting a service provider to fix a cracked oil filter housing, consider the following factors:

  • Mechanic Pros:
    • Usually more affordable
    • May offer personalized services
  • Mechanic Cons:
    • Less likely to specialize in your specific vehicle
    • May not offer a warranty on repairs
  • Dealership Pros:
    • Specialized in your vehicle make and model
    • Usually offer a warranty for the repairs
  • Dealership Cons:
    • Tend to be more expensive
    • Less personalized services

Replacing the Housing and Seals

When replacing the oil filter housing and seals:

  1. Drain the oil from the engine
  2. Carefully remove the damaged housing while inspecting for debris or old gasket material

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines during installation. Properly maintaining your vehicle will help prevent future issues.

Perform regular oil changes and choose a reliable mechanic or dealership for your maintenance needs.

Preventing Future Cracked Oil Filter Housings

One crucial point is to avoid overtightening the oil filter cap during replacement, as this can cause stress on the housing and lead to cracks. If possible, use a torque wrench to ensure the proper amount of force is applied.

Another aspect is to regularly inspect the oil cooler and thermostat housing to ensure they are in proper working condition.

A malfunctioning oil cooler or thermostat housing could cause irregular oil pressure, which may also lead to a cracked oil filter housing.

Upgrading to a more durable material can also be beneficial. For example, some vehicles come equipped with a plastic oil filter housing, which is prone to cracking over time.

Consider upgrading to a metal oil filter housing, as they are typically more robust and resistant to cracking.

Additionally, make sure to properly maintain the gasket and seal of the oil filter housing.

Regularly lubricate the gasket and seal it with fresh engine oil to prevent it from becoming brittle or damaged. Here are some key features to consider when selecting an oil filter housing:

  • Material: Metal housings are typically more durable than plastic ones
  • Quality of gasket and seal: Look for high-quality materials that won’t deteriorate quickly
  • Compatibility with your vehicle: Ensure the housing is designed specifically for your vehicle’s make and model

In conclusion, taking proper care of your oil filter housing and making informed decisions regarding replacement parts can help prevent future cracks.

Oil Filter Housing Options and Recommendations

In some vehicles like BMW and Jeep, cracked oil filter housings can be due to age, wear and tear, or over-torquing during installation.

For vehicles with a 6.0 engine, switching to aluminum housings can provide a more durable alternative.


  • OEM replacement: Original manufacturer parts, ensures compatibility
  • Aftermarket alternatives: May provide cost-effective or improved durability


  • Ensure proper installation: Avoid over-torqueing to prevent risk of cracking
  • Regularly inspect the housing: Check for leaks and cracks during routine maintenance
  • Use quality parts: Opt for OEM or trusted aftermarket products for reliability

Comparison: BMW vs Jeep

Common Causes of CracksAge/wear, over-torquingAge/wear, over-torquing
Housing MaterialPlastic, aluminum (upgrade)Plastic, aluminum (upgrade)
Recommended SolutionReplace with OEM or trusted aftermarket parts, ensure proper installationReplace with OEM or trusted aftermarket parts, ensure proper installation

Aluminum housings are gaining popularity as they tend to be more robust and less prone to cracking over time.

If you own a vehicle with a 6.0 engine, an aluminum oil filter housing would be a wise investment. Just remember to consult your vehicle’s manufacturer guidelines for compatibility and proper installation procedures.


In conclusion, a cracked oil filter housing can pose significant challenges to your vehicle’s overall performance and engine health.

Identifying the signs of a cracked housing, such as oil leakage and coolant mixing, is crucial to preventing further damage. Regular inspections, careful maintenance, and avoiding over-tightening during installation are key to preventing this issue.

DIY repairs are an option, but seeking professional assistance from mechanics or dealerships may be necessary for more complex cases.

Upgrading to durable materials, such as aluminum housings, and maintaining gaskets and seals are proactive measures to mitigate the risk of future cracks.

By prioritizing proper maintenance, quality parts, and following manufacturer guidelines, you can ensure your vehicle’s longevity and optimal performance while safeguarding against cracked oil filter housings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I fix a cracked oil filter housing?

We have outlined the steps to fix a cracked oil filter housing in the article above. But in many case, it might be better to simply refer to a mechanic or a professional dealership for such problems.

What is the average cost to replace a broken oil filter housing?

  • The cost depends on the make and model of your vehicle.
  • Usually, expect to pay around $200 to $400 for parts and labor.

What symptoms should I look for with an oil filter housing leak?

  • Observe oil pooling under your car.
  • You may also notice a loss of engine performance.

Is it safe to drive with a damaged oil filter housing?

  • No, driving with a damaged oil filter housing can lead to engine damage.
  • Consult a mechanic to address the issue as soon as possible.

What are some common causes for oil filter housing cracks?

  • Over-tightening the oil filter cap can lead to plastic cracks.
  • Excessive heat or pressure during engine operation may also cause cracks.

How do I replace an oil filter housing gasket?

  • Step 1: Disconnect the battery and drain the engine oil.
  • Step 2: Remove the old oil filter and gasket.
  • Step 3: Clean all sealing surfaces.
  • Step 4: Install a new gasket and oil filter housing.
  • Step 5: Fill the engine with fresh oil and reconnect the battery.

Note: Always consult a professional mechanic for any replacement procedures.

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Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

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