The fuel filter is an important part of the fuel supply system of your vehicle. It ensures that impurities, dirt, particles, dust, objects, and rust cannot enter the combustion engine by screening out all these contaminants.
These particles are extremely harmful to the internal combustion engine and if they are not shielded and get into the engine, they can even cause the engine to seize up. As a regular maintenance and tuning measure, the user should change and replace the fuel filters regularly. Replacing the fuel filter is simple and can usually be done with the help of the following easy-to-follow instructions.
As a rule, replacement is necessary for most designs. For some designs, however, you can clean and reuse the filter. Faulty and old fuel filters can not only damage the engine system but can also cause blockages in the fuel line, which can interrupt the fuel supply.
This can put pressure on the combustion engine as the engine tries to draw enough fuel and it can also cause damage to the fuel pump.
Signs of a Bad or Clogged Fuel Filter
As we have discussed earlier, the fuel filter can develop problems earlier than we might think, so it is important to know all the signs associated with a failed fuel filter. Here we will discuss the most common symptoms of a failing fuel filter.
1. Difficulty Starting the Car
The fuel filter is designed to prevent sediments and other pollutants from entering the combustion chamber. To achieve this, the fuel filter stores all pollutants in its own chamber, but over time this chamber can also become clogged, resulting in the improper supply of fuel to the cylinders and thus difficulties when igniting.
2. Misfiring Engine & Decrease in Performance
If fuel only intermittently gets into the engine, it can lead to misfiring and other hiccups. This can lead to a loss of power when accelerating the car. You will feel that the throttle does not work at all and that the engine is about to shut down. If this happens all the time, even when the tank is full, you should get a new fuel filter from your local mechanic.
3. Check Engine Light Illuminates
Modern vehicles have sensors that are placed on every square inch of the car and send signals to the car’s computer that tell it if something is wrong with the car. The computer then illuminates the “Check Engine” light on the dashboard and asks you to have the car checked. If the fuel filter is faulty, the pressure of the fuel entering the system drops, which alerts the fuel pressure sensor, and the “Check Engine” light comes on. You can find the cause of the problem using a code scanner or by checking with the mechanic.
What is a Fuel Filter?
Most combustion engines use a fuel filter, which is in the form of cartridges and contains filter paper. In all modern vehicles that use advanced systems, the fuel filter is an essential component with a vital function. There are several sources of pollution in unfiltered fuel. For example, rust can get into the fuel from inside the tank if there has been moisture in the fuel tank. The fuel itself may also contain impurities before it is filled into the fuel tank, or dirt and other particles may enter the fuel tank at the time of filling. Most modern vehicles today use high-precision components that can be severely damaged by such contaminants.
These contaminants lead to very rapid wear, failure, or seizure of the combustion engine. They can also cause rapid wear inside the engine and damage the internal parts. They can also reduce fuel efficiency and damage other parts such as the fuel pump and fuel line. As a result, both fuel efficiency and engine performance may be affected.
Certain fuel filters are also capable of removing the water content from the fuel. These are normally installed in diesel engines and are able to effectively suck off the water and drain it from the valve opening at the bottom. More sophisticated fuel filters may also contain sensors that can detect the water and transmit the recorded information to the control unit. The control unit is then able to give the driver a warning signal, as the water content can cause serious damage to the engine, wear and tear, and overheating of the engine system. The sensors are also able to tell the driver when to drain the water and when the engine is overheating.
Cleaning a Fuel Filter
The fuel filter gets dirty quite quickly, which signals you to replace the old one with the new one, but if you have little time or are in an emergency situation, it is possible to clean the old fuel filter and use it again. If you are considering buying a new fuel filter for your car, you can check prices here on Amazon: Fuel filters
Removing the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter is very easy to remove, but first, you have to find it. It is located on the pressure line between the fuel pump and the fuel rail, often under the bonnet, but also in many other places, e.g. under the car, or in the area around the fuel tank.
Cleaning the Fuel Filter
Pour water or alcohol from the outlet of the filter to get the dirt out backward. After this procedure, make sure it is 100% free of water or alcohol before installation because if you get water in your fuel system, your fuel system may be damaged.
Reinstalling the Fuel Filter
To reinstall the fuel filter, simply reconnect the two tubes where they belong and start your car so that the fuel can begin to reach the filter. Remember, however, that the filter must be completely dry with no water or soap residue inside.
Testing the Fuel Filter
There is no way to repair the fuel filter, but even if there was one, it is not wise to repair it because you can get another one very cheaply. First, you have to check if the filter you cleaned is working or not. Just start the car and wait. If the car starts without much trouble, you have been successful. If not, you should consider seeing a mechanic.
Where is the fuel filter located?
The location of the fuel filter can vary depending on the type of vehicle. If you have a fuel injection engine system in your vehicle, the fuel filter is most likely located somewhere along the high-pressure fuel line. It is located near the fuel tank under the car.
How to replace the fuel filter?
Here you will find easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions on how to replace the fuel filter yourself.
- Locate the fuse box of your vehicle.
- Refer to the service manual to effectively find the location.
- Remove the fuse for the fuel pump from the location.
- Make sure that the vehicle is not in gear.
- Turn on the engine of your vehicle.
- Make sure that the engine runs for at least one minute, then turn it off.
- Replace the fuel pump fuse from where you removed it.
- Disconnect the cables from the battery terminal.
- Locate the fuel filter installed in your fuel line.
- Use the jack hydraulic and the stand to lift the vehicle if necessary.
- Keep a bucket or a bowl under the fuel filter to collect the leak.
- Remove the clamps or the clips that are holding the fuel filter into the location.
- Carefully remove the fuel line from the fuel filter.
- Pull the fuel filter out of its place.
- Match the old fuel filter with the new one.
- Carefully place the new filter from where you removed the older one.
- Replace the fuel line to the filter that you removed.
- Replace the clips or clamps that you removed.
- Put everything in place and remove the jack stand.
How to diagnose a faulty fuel filter?
The best and easiest way to know if it is time to change the fuel filter is to find out when it was last changed. If it’s been almost a year and the car is already showing symptoms, you know that the fuel filter needs to be changed. You can also check the filter visually to see if the filter has worn out.
Some filters have a window that you can look into. If the inside of the filter is dark, rubberized, and dirty, it is time to replace it. An old and faulty fuel filter also causes blockages, which can lead to misfiring, stalling, and other symptoms in your car. If you cannot see the internal condition of the filter through the window, you can check the external condition. If it looks rusty and worn, you should replace it.
Fuel Filter Replacement Cost
The average replacement cost for fuel filters is between $60 and $225, the part can cost between $13 and $61, while labor costs can vary between $50 and $160.
The fuel filter installed in your vehicle is one of those components that require frequent and regular maintenance, replacement, or repair. On average, a fuel filter can provide good results for up to one year. However, vehicles subjected to heavy use, long journeys, and high mileage will need to have it replaced it sooner. The price of the fuel filter is reasonable, and it can easily be replaced with instructions in the service manual if you have some basic knowledge of the system. The parts required for a replacement will cost you on average between $13 and $61 for most cars. However, if you are willing to hire a professional or mechanic to do this, there are significant additional labor costs. It is therefore recommended that this be done along with regular maintenance and tuning of your vehicle, with the labor costs for replacement being adjusted or compensated. The mechanic can charge you an average of $50 to $160 in additional labor costs if you have the vehicle replaced separately. The total cost, together with the labor costs, can average between $63 to $225.