The Symptoms of a Faulty Fuel Filter. Fuel is extracted from the ground, transported to refineries, and then to petrol stations, where it is stored in large underground holding tanks. It then flows into your petrol tank via the pump. Fuel, particularly diesel fuel, can pick up various particulates such as dirt and grime along the way. These particulates can harm your engine and fueling system. This article goes over fuel filter issues, clogging, replacement, and more.
What Exactly is a Fuel Filter?
A fuel filter prevents dirt, rust, grime, and other potentially harmful particulates from entering your engine via the fuel system.
Your car’s fueling system consists of a petrol tank, fuel lines, a fuel pump, and injectors. The fuel pump transports gasoline from the tank to the injectors via the fuel lines. Filters are typically installed directly between the fuel lines and the injectors.
Fuel filters, like air filters and oil filters, are usually cylindrical cartridges with filter paper on the inside. The fuel is filtered before being sent to the injectors to prevent harmful debris from entering the injectors or engine.
When Should I Change My Filter?
Fuel filter replacement intervals vary depending on engine type, but are typically in the 20,000-50,000 mile range for older gasoline engines and 60,000-90,000 mile range for newer engines. For gasoline engines, we recommend changing fuel filters every 30,000-60,000 miles, depending on your recommended service intervals. Toyota, among others, claims that the filter never needs to be replaced. The best bet is to stick to your vehicle’s recommended service intervals.
Whether or not your manufacturer states that the filter never needs to be replaced, it is still a good maintenance item once your vehicle reaches high mileage levels.
Replacement of a Diesel Fuel Filter
Diesel engines, on the other hand, necessitate more frequent filter changes. Because gasoline is more refined than diesel fuel, diesel tends to be dirtier by nature. Furthermore, diesel fuel is more prone to absorbing dirt, rust, and debris than regular gasoline.
Diesel fuel filters should be replaced every 10,000-20,000 miles.
Symptoms of a Faulty Fuel Filter
Among the symptoms of a clogged fuel filter are:
- Beginnings are difficult.
- Idling in a rough manner
- The engine is stalling.
- Misfires in the cylinders
- Poor acceleration and performance
- Fuel pressure has been reduced.
- Low air-to-fuel ratios
Fuel filters do not fail overnight. They gradually become clogged over time. Having said that, these symptoms usually begin mildly and gradually worsen over time.
When a fuel filter becomes clogged, fuel flow to the cylinders is reduced. Running “lean” is a term used to describe this. Running lean can deprive the cylinders of fuel, increasing friction among the internals and causing serious internal engine damage.
The most common initial symptoms are rough idling and misfires. From there, it will progressively deteriorate, resulting in hard starts, stalling, and significant performance drops.
What Causes a Defective Fuel Filter?
Fuel filters deteriorate as a result of clogging. That being said, the most common cause of clogged fuel filters is contaminated gasoline. The longer gasoline sits in holding tanks, your petrol tank, and so on, the more dirt and grime it accumulates. Furthermore, on older engines, the fuel tank and other parts of the fuel system can corrode on the inside, resulting in a buildup of debris in the petrol tank.
The best step to preventing fuel filter problems is to always use high quality fuel. Try to go to the busiest and most popular petrol stations because the fuel in their tanks is likely to be newer and fresher. Avoid run-down gas stations where the underground tanks and pumps have most likely never been cleaned and the fuel is most likely old.
Another effective “prevention” strategy is to change your filter at the recommended intervals. It is not uncommon to see people driving past the 100,000 mile mark because they are unaware that they should be changed. No matter how hard you try to keep a filter clean, it will eventually become clogged. Even if you don’t notice any symptoms, replacing the fuel filter is a good preventative measure that will likely wake up your engine if it’s old.
What Happens If a Filter Breaks?
In addition to the symptoms listed above, a clogged fuel filter can cause your fuel pump and injectors to fail.
When a filter clogs, less fuel is delivered to the injectors and cylinders. When this occurs, the fuel pump attempts to resolve the problem by increasing fuel flow. This causes the fuel pump to overwork, which can result in pump failure.
Furthermore, decreased fuel flow results in lower fuel pressure as the fuel exits the injectors. As a result, the fuel injectors become overworked, which can lead to their failure. If your filter has been clogged for a long time, it may deteriorate to the point where debris passes through. When this happens, it will make its way directly to the injectors, most likely causing them to fail. This debris can also enter the cylinder chamber and cause engine damage.
Costs of Fuel Filter Replacement
The cost of a fuel filter is typically between $20 and $50. The most variable component is labour, which is highly dependent on the location of your fuel filter. Some are in easily accessible parts of the engine bay, while others are beneath the vehicle or in more difficult to reach areas of the engine bay.
Fuel filter replacement typically costs between $100 and $200 in parts and labour. The only exception is for vehicles with an integrated fuel filter. The fuel filter is integrated into the fuel pump in some engines. If this is the case, replacing the filter also necessitates replacing the pump, which can push the job closer to $500.
Diesel fuel filter replacement typically costs between $50 and $150 in parts and labour. Because diesel filters are frequently replaced, they tend to be located in easier-to-access areas and are thus relatively simple DIY replacements.