Surprisingly for some people, changing your car’s fuel filter can be completed in a few easy steps. It’s important to note that although these steps can be followed easily by someone wishing to skip the trip to the mechanic, it’s always better to be safe than sorry and have your car looked at by a professional technician.
Why Replace the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter is the barrier between particles, like dust and other debris, and your engine. If these particles were allowed to enter your engine, buildup and residue will accumulate, causing your engine to malfunction (like your fuel injectors misfiring, etc.) or your car to stop working. It also might mean that your fuel won’t burn as cleanly, leaving you with a lower miles per gallon.
Because the filter stops debris before it enters your engine, the particles accumulate in the filter. Once the filter gets to heavy with debris, it will prevent fuel from entering your engine. It’s important to replace your fuel filter every six months or so, depending on your car’s make, model and in what conditions you’ve driven, to prevent debris from clogging your filter.
Identifying the Fuel Filter
Identifying the fuel filter is usually pretty simple. The filter is located on the fuel line between the fuel tank and the fuel injectors. Depending on the make and model of your vehicle, the fuel filter may be located under the car or under your hood. The filter will resemble a fountain drink cup with one or two straws sticking out.
How to Change Your Fuel Filter
Once you’ve identified the fuel filter, you can change it. The steps to change your fuel filter include:
1. Disabling the fuel pump and relieving pressure in the fuel line. You can disable the pump, put your parking brake on, ensure your vehicle is in park and turn off your engine,. Then, remove the fuel pump fuse from the fuse box. If you aren’t sure where this is, consult your owner’s manual. Then, start your engine to relieve the pressure in the fuel line. Your car won’t stay on for long, but that’s okay. When your car stops running, turn the key in the ignition to the off position.
2. Observing the positioning of the existing fuel filter. This will tell you how to position your new filter. Take note of in what direction the fuel is flowing through the filter. You can usually determine this by an arrow on your existing filter.
3. Removing the old filter from the box. Depending on your vehicle, the fuel filter could have any variety of screws or clamps holding it in place. You’re going to have to figure out how to safely remove the old filter from the box without damaging it. Consult your owner’s manual for more information. Once you remove what was holding your filter in place, you can remove it.
4. Inserting the new filter in to box. Ensure that the filter is positioned in the same way as your old filter was and reattach any clamps or screws that were holding it in place. Before closing the box, make sure the filter is secure.
5. Replacing the fuel pump fuse in the fuse box. Put the fuel pump fuse exactly where it was in the fuse box before you removed it.
Once you replace the fuel pump fuse in the fuse box, the process should be complete. With your car still in park with your parking brake on, turn your car on to check for fuel leaks. You’ll be able to check for these by looking for fuel dripping from your engine and onto the ground.
Again, if you aren’t comfortable with this process, ask someone to help you identify where these parts are on your car before you attempt to change your fuel filter. Or watch this YouTube video to also walk you through the process, if needed. Stay inside your comfort zone and take your car to a mechanic if you don’t feel completely at ease with this process. Have fun!