All vehicles include gasoline filters that clean the oil before it reaches the engine, regardless of the engine type (conventional or diesel). Filters are especially sensitive to junk buildup because of this unpleasant task, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs and address the problem as soon as possible.
Starting troubles, a check engine light, and decreased performance are the most typical symptoms that you need a new fuel filter. While accelerating, you might find your engine stops or misfires. In a shop, replacement expenses range from $50 to $150, or you can do it yourself for $15 to $60.
Thankfully, we’ll go through each of these symptoms in depth in this brief tutorial. But first, let’s go through how a fuel filter works so you can see why a clogged fuel filter needs to be replaced.
Signs of a bad fuel filter
The fuel tank filter might become blocked by particles from filthy fuel or a worn fuel tank, as we mentioned in the previous section. The fuel filter, like most automotive components, will provide warning indications when it is nearing failure. The following are some of the most prevalent indicators of a clogged fuel filter:
Difficulty starting the car
There are a variety of reasons why an engine may struggle to start, including faulty spark plugs, a dead battery, or a problem with the alternator. It could also indicate that not enough gasoline is reaching the combustion chambers.
A low PSI pressure test indicates a problem with your fuel system, such as a malfunctioning fuel pump, clogged injectors, or a poor fuel filter. An engine that won’t start isn’t always the first indicator of a blocked fuel filter. Check to see if it corresponds to any of the symptoms listed below.
If that’s the case, consider yourself lucky; the other reasons your engine won’t start are significantly more expensive to fix.
A shortage of fuel, power, or air is the most common cause of an engine stalling. With this in mind, it should come as no surprise that your engine could stall if there isn’t enough fuel getting through.
Because there is likely still fuel in the fuel lines, your engine may start right away. When you speed or confront a steep uphill, the problem arises since more is required as you press the pedal. When towing a load, the engine has to work harder to haul the load, which requires more gasoline.
Many reasons can cause an engine to stall, so keep an eye out for any of the other symptoms listed here.
Simply explained, a misfire occurs when an error occurs in one of the combustion chambers, causing the engine to skip a step. Wearing spark plugs, a broken ignition coil, or a bad camshaft sensor are just a few of the factors that might cause an engine to misfire.
However, before reaching the fuel injector, the fuel must pass through the fuel filter. It can also cause the engine to misfire if it is disrupted for any reason. This is especially true when you put extra demands on your car, such as when you accelerate, haul a load, or drive up a steep hill.
This is commonly felt like a minor jerk as the engine skips a beat, usually accompanied by hesitation in power delivery.
Flashing check engine light
If you’re like most automobile owners, the “check engine” light is something you either love or detest. It may indicate that a repair bill is on the way, but it also ensures that the situation does not deteriorate to the point where significant damage happens.
The check engine light might come on for a variety of reasons. Many newer vehicles, thankfully, have built-in pressure sensors that will emit a specific code if there is a problem with the fuel system.
You have numerous choices for diagnosing the problem. The first option is to get an OBD2 scanner and read the code yourself. The second option is to pay a shop to utilize their OBD2 scanner, which comes with a diagnostic cost. Take your automobile to a nearby auto parts store, where most will read it for free.
Decreased engine performance
A reduction in engine performance is another indicator of a faulty or clogged fuel filter. This is usually most noticeable while accelerating, pulling a burden, or driving up a steep incline, similar to the last two symptoms.
When the ECM detects a lack of fuel being delivered to the injectors, it reduces power to prevent any harm. While this does not always indicate a clogged fuel filter, it certainly raise the possibility. Especially if this symptom appears to be related to others on the list.
Strong exhaust odors
If you notice any strange odors coming from your vehicle, this is usually an indicator of an internal problem with one of the vehicle’s components. Some of these issues may be simple to resolve, while others may be complex and result in total vehicle destruction.
While there are a variety of reasons for these odors, a blocked filter may cause the exhaust to release strong, foul odors. Whatever the reason for these directives, you should never disregard them and take your vehicle to a skilled technician to get the problem fixed.
With this, you avoid having to deal with major or difficult mechanical faults that take a lot of time and effort to fix.
Reduced fuel economy
It may appear that a clogged gasoline filter will enhance fuel economy because less fuel will pass through to the combustion system. Regrettably, this isn’t the case.
The engine will need additional fuel if the fuel filter prevents fuel from flowing through to the combustion system. To achieve the requisite power, the engine will require the fuel pump to send far more fuel than is required. As a result, the car will begin to consume significantly more fuel than normal, resulting in poor fuel economy.
Damaged fuel pump
Any obstruction in the fuel filter might create stress on the fuel pump because it permits fuel to flow from the fuel tank to the fuel combustion system. The gasoline pump could be entirely ruined if the stress is increased enough.
When to replace your fuel filter
Although the owner’s manual will include specific instructions, most manufacturers recommend changing the gasoline filter every five years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. Many mechanics, on the other hand, consider this estimate to be far too conservative, recommending that it be cleaned or replaced every 10,000 miles.
Because this small component is responsible for so much, having it replaced on a regular basis should be a top concern.
Fortunately, replacing a fuel filter isn’t too expensive, especially if you’re confident in your ability to do it yourself. In a store, expect to pay between $50 and $150, or $15 to $60 for the filter alone. While replacing a fuel filter is not difficult, it does require some knowledge. You might as well take it to a shop if you don’t already have the necessary tools.
Any liquid, as well as your engine, must go through some sort of filtering. The brake fuel filter, coolant filter, and fuel filter are only a few of the filters on the car. The fuel filter ensures that any fuel entering the combustion system is free of contaminants and big particles. The fuel filter becomes clogged over time and must be updated to guarantee optimum vehicle functioning.
Engine power fluctuation, check engine light illumination, engine misfire, engine not starting, and engine stalling are all indicators of a clogged fuel filter.
While you can drive your car with a partially blocked filter for a short amount of time, ignoring a completely clogged filter can lead to serious engine failure. As a result, if you see any of the indicators of a broken gasoline filter, you should replace it immediately to avoid more complicated mechanical issues with your vehicle that will cost you a lot of time and money.