A clean fuel filter will prevent unnecessary wear-and-tear on your engine and reduce the chance of having to make an emergency repair.
Located between the gas tank and the engine, the fuel filter is a small cartridge containing paper filters. The fuel filter helps remove impurities, such as dirt, debris, and rust particles from the fuel to keep them out of the engine. Some of the most common impurities in gasoline are water, sulfur, and sediment from underground fuel storage at gas stations. If your filter stops delivering clean fuel, your engine can suffer. In addition, the engines on newer model cars feature tight tolerances and are highly susceptible to clogs, which can be costly to fix. The fuel filter on cars with diesel engines is especially important because it filters out water to prevent contamination, which can lead to corrosion and engine damage.
A survey conducted by the American Automobile Association reveals one in three Americans would not be able to pay for emergency car maintenance without going into debt. At least 20 percent of Americans delayed scheduled car maintenance during the second quarter of 2020, versus 16.8 percent the previous quarter, according to a survey of 25,000 households conducted by IMR Inc., a company specializing in automotive market research. While the rise in the number of people halting car maintenance was partially due to the outbreak of the pandemic, IMR’s research indicates the primary reason for delaying maintenance was to cut costs. Making sure to stay up-to-date on your car’s maintenance schedule will help reduce the likelihood your car will need an emergency fix, and save money in the long run.
Milex Complete Auto Care advises changing your fuel filter as part of your regular maintenance every two years, or between approximately 24,000 and 50,000 miles, depending on your type of vehicle. If you take your vehicle off road, your fuel filter may need to be replaced more frequently.
Signs of a Clogged Fuel Filter
Fortunately, your car will provide many signs if the air filter needs to be replaced.
Trouble starting the car. If your car won’t start, you may have bad spark plugs or a dead battery. But another explanation could be a lack of fuel flowing to the engine, which would indicate your fuel filter is clogged.
Issues accelerating. If you’re driving on the highway and notice when you press on the gas that your car accelerates slowly or not at all, you might need a new fuel filter.
Check engine light comes on. The check engine light can illuminate for a host of different reasons. But, many new cars have built-in pressure sensors that will trigger the engine light if PSI is low and there is a problem with your fuel system, like a clogged fuel filter.
Engine stalls or misfires. An engine misfires when an error occurs in its combustion chambers. If fuel is disrupted by a clogged filter, an engine can also misfire or stall, especially if you are driving uphill, accelerating, or towing a big load. While your car may restart easily after it stalls, the clog will get worse over time, and eventually, your car will refuse to start and require a tow. Visiting a mechanic at the first sign of a problem can prevent having to deal with an unexpected breakdown.
How to Change a Fuel Filter
Changing out your fuel filter can be challenging, and replacement is best left to a trained mechanic. In some cars, the fuel filter is found underneath the vehicle bolted to the frame beneath the fuel tank. In other cars, the fuel filter can be accessed by removing a cushion in the back seat. Many cars even have two fuel filters for added protection. While the owner’s manual can tell you where your fuel filter is located, it often requires a special tool for removal.
Fortunately, having a mechanic solve the problem is a relatively affordable option and won’t break the bank. Trained mechanics at Milex Complete Auto Care have the training and tools to easily install a new fuel filter quickly and efficiently.
If your car is stalling, misfiring, or slow-to-start, visit your local Milex Complete Auto Care location to have one of their experienced mechanics get your car performances back on track.