There are underground storage tanks in gas stations where the fuel is stored after it has been pumped out of the ground and refined. After that, it goes through the pump and ends up in your tank.
Particulates such as dirt and grime can be picked up along the way in fuel, especially diesel fuel. These micro-particles have the potential to damage your vehicle’s engine and fuel system.
What is a Fuel Filter?
There are many harmful impurities that enter your engine through the fuel system that are prevented by a fuel filter.
Fuel lines, a fuel pump, and injectors make up your car’s fueling system. Injectors receive gasoline from the tank via a fuel pump. The fuel pump then distributes the gasoline to the injectors. Fuel filters are frequently found directly between the fuel lines and the injectors.
Fuel filters, like air filters and oil filters, are cylindrical cartridges with filter paper inside. Prior to reaching the injectors, the fuel passes through the filter to remove any harmful contaminants.
How often should I replace my fuel filter?
Oil and fuel filter changes can be spaced anywhere from 20,000 miles on an older gasoline engine to 60,000 miles on newer engines, depending on their age and mileage. After every 30,000-60,000 miles for gasoline engines, we recommend changing the fuel filter.
Some automakers, including Toyota, may assert that the air filter never needs to be changed. Keeping up with recommended service intervals on your car is your best bet.
It doesn’t matter if your automaker says the filter never needs to be replaced or not; once your vehicle hits high mileage, it’s a good idea to replace it anyway.
Diesel Fuel Filter Replacement
Diesel engines, on the other hand, necessitate more frequent replacement of the fuel filter. Because gasoline is more refined, it has a lower toxicity than diesel, which is more polluting by nature. Compared to regular gasoline, diesel fuel is more prone to contamination from dirt, rust, and other debris.
Every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, diesel fuel filters need to be replaced.
Bad Fuel Filter Symptoms
- Hard starts
- Rough idling
- Engine stalling
- Cylinder misfires
- Poor performance and lack of acceleration
- Decreased fuel pressure
- Lean air to fuel ratios
Fuel filters don’t always need to be replaced right away. Over time, they tend to get clogged. As a result, these signs and symptoms usually appear gradually and worsen over time.
A clogged fuel filter reduces the amount of fuel that gets to the cylinders. Running “lean” is what people refer to this as. Operating the engine at a low compression ratio can starve the cylinders of fuel, resulting in increased friction within the engine’s internals, which can cause significant damage.
Rough idling and misfires are the most common initial symptoms. Eventually it will worsen to the point where the computer has trouble starting, stalls, and has poor overall performance.
What happens when a fuel filter fails?
The fuel pump and injectors can also fail as a result of a faulty fuel filter, in addition to the previously mentioned symptoms.
Clogged filters send less fuel to the injectors, resulting in less power. An increased flow of fuel is used by the fuel pump when this occurs. As a result, the fuel pump will be forced to work harder than it should, increasing the risk of pump failure.
Reduced fuel flow also results in decreased fuel pressure as the fuel leaves the injectors. As a result, the fuel injectors are also overworked, increasing the likelihood of a failure.
In the event that your fuel filter has been compromised for an extended period of time, debris may pass through the filter and into your engine. That way it can get right to the injectors and possibly cause them to fail. It’s also possible that it sends engine damage-causing debris into the cylinder chamber.
What causes a bad fuel filter?
As a result of becoming clogged, fuel filters degrade quickly. As a result, bad gasoline is the leading cause of clogged fuel filters. A lot of dirt and grime gets picked up by gasoline as it sits in holding tanks or your gas tank. Another problem that can occur on older engines is a buildup of debris in the fuel tank due to corroded fuel tanks and fuel system components, especially in the tank and other components.
Using high quality fuel will help keep your fuel filter problems to a minimum. Go to the most popular and busiest gas stations because the fuel in their tanks is likely to be fresher and more recent. Stay away from old, run-down gas stations with dirty underground tanks and pumps holding stale fuel.
Changing your fuel filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations is the best “prevention” method. Fuel filters are frequently left in cars past the 100,000-mile mark by drivers who are unaware they need to be changed.
No matter how diligently you work to keep your fuel filter clean, it will eventually become clogged with gunk. Replacing your fuel filter is still a good idea, even if you don’t notice any symptoms. It will also likely give your engine a little jolt if your filter is old.
Fuel Filter Replacement Costs
The cost of a fuel filter is typically between $20 and $50. In terms of cost, labor varies widely depending on where you have your fuel filter installed. Some of these components are found in the engine bay where they are easy to reach, while others are tucked away underneath the car or in the more difficult to reach parts of the engine bay.
Changing a fuel filter can cost anywhere from $100 to $200 in materials and labor.
There is one exception to this rule: vehicles equipped with a built-in fuel filter. The fuel filter is sometimes built into the fuel pump on some engines. Replace the filter, and the pump will need to be replaced as well, which could push the cost up to $500.
For parts and labor, replacing a diesel fuel filter typically costs $50 to $150. Because diesel filters need to be replaced so frequently, they’re usually found in more accessible locations, making them ideal for do-it-yourselfers.