When it comes to being a car owner, you want to have a reliable, sturdy and running vehicle at all times. Replacement of a fuel filter is one of the tasks that can help your vehicle run more efficiently. We have the details on how often to replace a fuel filter, so that you have a vehicle you can rely on!
When Should I Replace My Car’s Fuel Filter?
The best way to determine how often to replace a fuel filter, is to either read your owner’s manual and check out manufacturer recommends. Or you can simply visit your neighborhood mechanic and find out what he or she says.
Typically, fuel filters need to be replaced between 20,000 and 40,000 miles. But there are many factors that come into play with how often to replace a filter. What kind of vehicle do you have? What kind of driving do you do? There is nothing worse than having a dirty fuel filter. With that dirty fuel filter, there is debris and other elements that can damage not only your fuel injectors but other engine parts.
What is the Fuel Filter’s Job?
Even if you buy “top of the line” gasoline, you still have impurities in the fuel. Thanks to the fuel filter, those impurities can be filtered out. It’s also important to note that your fuel tank has impurities in it too. Sediment from the fuel can settle to the bottom. So, the fuel filter takes on the task of removing those impurities before the gas reaches the fuel pump. That fuel filter was instrumental in preventing unwanted debris and dirt from making its way into your engine. Do you ever notice your engine pinging after a “cost effective fill-up” at the gas station? In other words, do you notice some sounds after you get the cheap gas? Then there is a great chance that you have some sediment that has made its way into your engine.
Where is my Fuel Filter Located In My Vehicle?
You can find your fuel filter between your engine and your fuel tank. Generally, the fuel filter can be found either inside the fuel tank or somewhere along the fuel line. Are you not sure where your fuel filter is? Head on over to a local mechanic and get a solid answer and location of your fuel filter.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Filter?
As the often forgotten and unseen “heroes” of a vehicle, fuel filters are indeed small, but yet a vital part of your part of your vehicle's fuel supply system. Since your fuel filter isn’t one of those daily thoughts you have, regarding your car, it can be easy to forget about it as well as its importance. But once you do and you have a problem, then your fuel filter can occupy your entire day. Many (not all) have vehicles have a set of fuel filters. Once may be located in the fuel tank, which is often referred to as a strainer. There is also a fuel filter that is on the main fuel line. Typically, a fuel filter is crafted of plastic or even a coated paper that has pleats. Fuel filters has a design that allows them to capture rust, scale, dirt and other impurities. The fuel filter helps to trap those impurities from entering your fuel injectors, engine and of course the fuel pump. The fuel filter can do all of this without impacting the fuel pressure. Below are some of the most common symptoms of a faulty fuel filter:
Lackluster Engine Performance
A clogged fuel filter may cause your vehicle’s engine to randomly surge, sputter or even hesitate, under heavy loads. This can be more prominent once a driver accelerates in the vehicle-, especially if that driver is traveling up a steep hill or incline. Although the driver may experience no symptoms during normal driving, a clogged fuel filter will begin to starve the vehicle’s engine of the extra fuel that is necessary for quick acceleration. Additionally, an engine may also stutter or even shake at various speeds- depending on the extent of the fuel restriction caused by a soiled and dirty fuel filter.
Sometimes, your vehicle’s engine will start without any issue. But your car will then stop and leave you scratching your head as to why. You may have a clogged and a dirty fuel filter. Should this be the case, you may have enough fuel that makes its way through the fuel filter, as your vehicle runs. But as the car idles, there is an insufficient amount of fuel, causing your car to stall. Do you find that stalling seems to be a common occurrence? Then a dirty fuel filter may be to blame.
Your Car Fails To Start /Hart Starting
For your car to start up, there has to be the correct combination of both gas and air. If a dirty fuel filter is in the mix, then there is little to just about no supply of fuel that is being transported to the engine. That problematic fuel filter can lead to starting issues. With a dirty fuel filter, you can experience starting failures that can be a huge disruption to your day.
If you have a fuel filter that is dirty, but not clogged completely, then chances are you are having issues with starting your car. That dirty fuel filter is limiting the supply of fuel that needs to go to the engine Therefore, starting your car will be very difficult. So, begin with a replacement of your fuel filter- and if you’re still experiencing issues, then you may have to replace your spark plugs.
Another issue that may come into play with your dirty fuel filter is your engine will sputter. You may not be able to recognize the sputtering at first because sometimes a dirty fuel filter will not hamper your car running at high speeds. But you me recognize the sputtering if you travel at lower speeds. at lower speeds – once the pressure is low and your vehicle’s engine isn’t able to get enough fuel for efficient performance.
Your Check Engine Light Will Appear
By now we know that a Check Engine light can illuminate for a variety of reasons. You can also add a dirty fuel filter to that ever-growing list. Yes, if you have a clogged and a dirty fuel filter, your Check Engine light will appear. This is generally the case with vehicles that are equipped with a fuel pressure sensor that monitors the amount of fuel traveling though the system. Once the code is scanned, the trouble code may indicate a specific sensor failure. But the real culprit is a dirty fuel filter. A mechanic is your best bet in getting your car inspected and properly diagnosing the issue.
The Smell Of Fuel
We all notice a pronounced odor of gas after we fill up but that smell should fade after some time. If it lingers and even becomes worse, then you may need to replace a dirty fuel filter. Just make sure that you have been able to rule out other causes of pronounced gasoline smells. For example, did you tighten your gas cap? That smell of gas may be due to a faulty fuel filter. So, get that car into an auto bay ASAP.
How Much Does it Cost To Replace a Bad Fuel Filter?
Generally, a fuel filter replacement cost will depend on the kind of car you have. Your mechanic will have to check to see if your vehicle is an in-tank filter or an in-line vehicle. The cost of the replacement fuel filter will also depend on whether your auto professional uses a part that is aftermarket or OEM.
Just by itself, a fuel filter is not an expensive car part. In many instances, the filter can be about $10 or even $40. A fuel filter that is a genuine OEM part can set you back about $50.00. In a few instances, the fuel filter is a part of the fuel pump-so an entire assembly of a fuel pump/fuel filter can cost between $200 and $500. As we all know, labor costs can be high and, in this case, you may find that the labor outweighs the cost of the parts.
How Long Does It Take to Replace A Fuel Filter?
Generally, the time it takes to replace a fuel filter is about an hour. Your mechanic will be able to look at your car and give you a better estimate of time. You can count on the labor costing you anywhere between $60 and $120. Many vehicles that are outfitted with an in-tank filters, or filters that are part of the fuel pump assembly may require a bit more time than an hour. Typically, the entire cost of your fuel filter replacement will be between $70 and $160.
Is It Easy To Change A Fuel Filter?
Performing a DIY fuel filter replacement can be a tricky task- if you don’t know what you’re doing and you choose to “wing it”. Replacing the filter on a vehicle outfitted with a fuel-injected component, can be time-consuming and quite involved. Vehicles that are on-fuel-injected vehicles, the fuel pump will have to be disabled, so that the pressure on the fuel lines can be relived. Clamps may be used to secure the filter. So, those will have to be removed. Fuel filter replacement is not a “hurry and finish job”, so if you have no idea what you’re doing, then leave it to a professional. You’ll be glad you did.
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