Most older vehicles have an external fuel filter that traps dirt and other contaminants from reaching the fuel injectors. The filter is supposed to be replaced periodically, but many drivers don’t do it and that can lead to failure, so you should be aware of common fuel filter failures.
Lack of maintenance often causes the filter to clog, leading to one or more noticeable problems. It is good to know the symptoms of a gasoline filter in poor condition or clogged, for this reason we have prepared an integral post here
Where is the fuel filter located?
Most vehicles built before the 2000s have an external fuel filter that mounts outside of the gas tank. This type of filter is usually located on the frame rail or somewhere in the engine compartment (for example, the fender or shock tower). The exact location of the filter varies by vehicle.
As mentioned, very few late model vehicles have an external fuel filter. Instead, the filter is usually part of the fuel pump module located in the fuel tank. These types of fuel filters are generally considered non-serviceable, meaning they do not have a recommended replacement interval.
Symptoms and common failures of damaged or clogged fuel filter
Almost all new vehicles have a non-serviceable fuel filter located inside the gas tank. In most cases, if your car has this type of setup, you don’t have to worry about changing the filter periodically.
But external fuel filters that are mounted outside the gas tank are a different story. External inline filters must be replaced in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s service schedule. Otherwise, the filter can become clogged with dirt and other contaminants .
Clogging will restrict fuel flow to the injectors, causing low fuel pressure and a lean running condition (too little fuel).
Below we bring you the common fuel filter failures..
1- Engine performance problems
A clogged or dirty fuel filter can cause a loss of fuel pressure. As a result, the engine may exhibit performance problems such as hard starting, rough running, stalling, and lack of power.
2- Illuminated check engine light
Your car’s check engine light may be indicating a problem, such as a lean running condition caused by a faulty fuel filter , which could lead to increased emissions. Typically, the device will recognize these problems, turn on the check engine light, and store a corresponding Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) in memory.
3- The car starts but does not start
In extreme cases, a clogged fuel filter can prevent the engine from getting proper fuel pressure, resulting in a vehicle that starts but won’t start.
4- Fuel leaks
Over time, the car’s fuel filter can develop leaks due to rust and corrosion . These are common fuel filter problems, especially in areas where there is a lot of salt on the roads in winter.
How often should I change the fuel filter?
Recommended fuel filter replacement intervals can vary between 30,000 and 100,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. The exact time you should replace the fuel filter will depend on the type of car you have.
To determine when you should replace your filter, you will need to consult the vehicle manufacturer’s service schedule.
How much does fuel filter replacement cost?
If you decide to have your car’s fuel filter replaced by a professional, you can typically expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $250 to have the job done. Of course, the exact price will depend on several factors, such as the year, make and model of your vehicle.
You can save money by replacing the fuel filter yourself if you have the necessary tools and knowledge.