What Does My Car’s Fuel Filter Do?

A part that doesn’t get a ton of attention, the fuel filter protects your engine from contaminants and the sediment found naturally in gasoline. A fuel filter is made much like other automotive filters are; it is constructed of porous materials that are pleated to catch debris and dirt before they are pushed into the engine. Naturally, fuel filters will clog eventually, and Kauai Auto Repair can replace yours before that happens. Let’s talk about fuel filters and how you can tell if yours is clogged.

Fuel Filter Basics

The fuel filter is between your gas tank and the engine. In some automobiles, it’s located in the gas tank at the opening of the fuel line. In other automobiles, you’ll find it in the fuel line along the bottom of the vehicle. The strategic location of the filter helps it do its job. As the fuel pump draws gas out of the tank, it is forced through the filter first to clean it before it heads into the engine via the fuel injectors.

Signs of a Clogged Fuel Filter

Unfortunately, the signs of a clogged filter are also signs of a problem with the fuel pump or fuel injectors. All three parts work together to get the right amount of gasoline into the engine depending on how fast you want to drive. If your vehicle’s engine isn’t getting enough gas, it will

  • Have problems starting or refuse to start at all because there isn’t enough gasoline combined with air in the combustion chamber for the spark plugs to ignite.
  • Shake while you’re idling because the engine is starved of gasoline and struggling not to stall. In some cases, the engine might stall and refuse to restart.
  • Stall because it is severely fuel-starved. As an aside, your engine might also stall because it’s flooded with gas pushed through by a fuel pump stuck in the open position.

If you notice any of these engine performance issues in your vehicle, stop by our shop so we can find the problem and fix it. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had the filter changed, it could be clogged. The problem might also lie elsewhere in the fuel system, or be unrelated to the fuel system.

Fuel Filter Replacement

The best way to determine when you should replace the filter is to check your owner’s manual. Generally, the filter should be replaced every 30,000 miles. If your owner’s manual does not give a mileage milestone for fuel filter replacement, have it changed every one to two years.

We are Kauai Auto Repair, LLC, in Lihue, HI, and we’d be happy to inspect your vehicle’s filter and replace it if necessary. Call our shop today.

Photo by OlegMalyshev from Getty Images via Canva Pro