How Often to Change Fuel Filter? (Everything to Know)

Do you want to know how often to change fuel filter? If so, you are on the right page.

Fuel filters carry out the same function as any other filter in your vehicle. With the help of the fuel filter, the fuel traveling to the engine is free of debris and is very clean. Also, it protects the fuel-injecting system.

Since it is the function of a car’s fuel filter to ensure that dirt and other contaminants don’t get into the engine, it can get clogged, and if this happens, the engine will not get the right quantity of fuel necessary for smooth performance.

Car starting failure, a sputtering engine, and a pronounced smell of gas are some of the symptoms associated with a faulty fuel filter. This type of situation implies that the fuel filter is due for a change.

This article provides you with basic information about fuel filters, how fuel filters work, How often to change fuel filter, how long it takes to replace a fuel filter, the symptoms of a bad fuel filter, and lots more.

Let’s proceed!

Nevertheless, the approved mileage that will work for your car’s fuel filter is stated in your owner’s handbook, and we suggest you consult the manual to see when it has to be changed.

Also Read: 6 Fuel Pressure Sensor Symptoms (+ Solutions)

What Is the Fuel Filter?

How Often to Change Fuel Filter

Fuel filters do the same job as other filters in your vehicle, like the ones meant for oil, air, and your transmission system.

Sometimes, debris and other random junk get into the fuel when rusts pile up in the fuel tank, although plastic tanks are in use these days to avoid these problems. This debris could also appear from gas stations that have bad filtering systems and tanks.

Somewhere between the engine and the fuel tank lies the fuel filters, which of course, are responsible for capturing these particles and making sure they don’t get into the engine.

Where Is the Fuel Filter Located?

For every car, the fuel filter differs from the others, and its location is dependent on the model of the car. Newer cars have filters located in the gas tank, where it is either a part of a gas pump module or it’s just on its own.

Other cars may have them on the car frame, protected outside the fuel tank with the help of a shield. Some cars make use of two filters, one on the inside and the other on the outside of the tank, beside the fuel line.

Symptoms of a Faulty Fuel Filter

When you have detected or discovered that your car fuel filter is faulty, ensure you call a mechanic to have it replaced.

You should put into consideration the fuel filter that is suitable for your car; your mechanic can help you with that. Some symptoms of a bad fuel filter are seen below.

1. Poor Engine Performance

When fuel filters get clogged, the engine is unable to run properly. It will end up surging or sputtering under heavy weights. This is noticeable when the driver puts the car in acceleration, especially when driving up a hill or an incline.

At first, everything is under control, the symptoms are yet to be noticed when driving at a normal pace, but in due time a clogged filter will begin starving the engine of the quantity of gas that is required for acceleration.

In addition, the engine sputters at different speed intervals, and this depends on the quantity of fuel that is restricted by a clogged fuel filter.

2. Car Stalling

Occasionally, the engine starts immediately without showing any sign. After a while, it suddenly stops, leaving you stranded and confused. This is caused by a clogged fuel filter.

If you are experiencing such, you should have sufficient fuel running through the filter as you drive your car. But when you stop driving, there seems to be an inadequate supply of fuel which will cause your vehicle to stall.

If you experience stalling regularly, then a clogged filter might be the reason.

How Often to Change Fuel Filter

3. Your Car Fails to Start/Hard Starting

Your car needs the appropriate combination of air and gas for it to start. A soiled fuel filter won’t be able to supply the right quantity of fuel required by the engine. This could cause problems. Dirty fuel filters will stop your car from starting and could ruin your whole plan for the day.

Dirty fuel filters that aren’t clogged already will cause car starting failures since it limits the amount of fuel going into your engine, so starting up your car becomes an issue. First, replace the filter, and if the issue persists, then the spark plugs need to be changed.

4. Car Sputtering

Engine sputtering is another symptom of a faulty fuel filter. It could be unnoticed when you are traveling at high speed since dirty fuel filters won’t likely deter your car at that point.

However, the sputtering can be noticed at a much lower speed once you have low pressure and the engine fails to get sufficient fuel for its smooth operation.

5. Illuminated Check Engine Light

We know that check engine lights appear due to different reasons. A dirty or soiled fuel filter is not an exception. Of course, a clogged fuel filter will cause your engine light to illuminate.

Vehicles fitted with a pressure sensor that helps in regulating fuel intake fall in this category. As the code is being scanned, it may signify a particular sensor failure. Don’t be misled; the real issue is a clogged fuel filter.

In this case, your technician is your best bet in seeing that your car is checked and the issue is properly diagnosed.

6. The Smell Of Fuel

It’s common to perceive gas smell after filling up your fuel tank, and after a while, the smell fades away. On the contrary, if the smell lingers or becomes awful, you may have to change the dirty filter.

Before you do this, ensure you have eliminated other possible reasons for a pronounced gas smell. For instance, is your gas hood tightened? If yes, a dirty fuel filter could be the cause of the gas smell. Visit an auto repair shop immediately to solve the problem.

Also Read: Fuel Pump Replacement Cost

How Long Does It Take To Replace a Fuel Filter?

How Often to Change Fuel Filter

Typically, it takes about an hour to get your fuel filter replaced. Your mechanic is in a better position to give you a good time estimate. However, the labor cost ranges from $60 to $120.

Cars that are equipped with fuel filters located in the fuel tank or fuel filters that make up a fuel pump module may need more than just an hour to be replaced. Generally, the total replacement cost for a fuel filter is between $70 – $160.

 How Long Do Fuel Filters Last?

How long a fuel filter lasts depends on the car’s model, its age, and also your driving routines. It’s a good idea to have it changed every 30,000 miles or every 2 years.

Normally, the mechanic performs a fuel pressure test to find out if the filter needs a replacement. With this test, you will be able to know if the engine system is operating at the normal pressure or not, and replacing the filter is the better option.

Also Read: How to Direct Wire a Fuel Pump (Step by Step)

Frequently Asked Questions – How Often to Change Fuel Filter?

What happens if you never changed your fuel filter?

Unless a fuel filter is completely clogged, your engine won’t hesitate to start. If you continue using a dirty fuel filter without replacing it, you may experience uneven fuel flow, which will result in a longer engine crank before starting. Consult your owner’s guide and find out about fuel filter replacement intervals.

How often should you change fuel filters?

Generally, it’s advisable to have your fuel filter changed every 30,000 miles or every two years. Normally, the mechanic performs some diagnostics like the fuel pressure test to find out if the fuel filter needs to be changed.

How much does a fuel filter cost?

What is the cost price? For some auto bay pricing sites, it will cost about $50 – $175 for most vehicles to have a mechanic handle the job. But if you have an idea of how it’s done, you can have the part ordered and get the job done on your own for $10-$70.

Can I change my fuel filter myself?

Suppose you know how to, or if you understand the procedures of replacing a fuel filter, you can get it done yourself and quickly too. Although details differ for different car types, the basic step is the same as explained in this article. Parts will cost $15 – $125.

Does changing the fuel filter improve MPG?

A clean air filter allows easy flow of fresh air into your car engine, which implies that it needs less gas to do a good job. That is to say, that surplus air gives better fuel mileage; therefore, replace the air filter as fast as possible.

How many miles does a fuel filter last?

Depending on the vehicle’s life span, the filter may require replacement every 20,000-30,000 miles, and with the estimated 13,000 miles a year an American drives, the fuel filter needs to be replaced once every one and a half years. However, certain new cars or cars that are currently in use can have filters that won’t require replacement every 60,000 miles.

What does a clogged fuel filter sound like?

If you hear a ticking or knocking sound after warming up your car, it is likely due to a clogged or dirty fuel filter. A clogged fuel filter causes a decline in pressure, and that is the reason for the noise.

How long is a fuel filter good for?

Generally, we recommend that you change the filter every 30,000 miles or every 2 years (any one you prefer). If you are always driving on a rough road or a construction highway that can drag lots of dust particles, you should try changing your filter often.

What are the benefits of changing fuel filters?

When fuel filters are replaced, you need not worry about the erratic flow of air and gas into your engine. Also, there would be lesser fuel intake, and emissions would be reduced. A fuel that is free from dirt is vital when it comes to engine efficiency and performance. Your fuel filter carries out the function of preventing rusts, debris, solids, specks of dirt, and other impurities from getting into the engine.

Conclusion – How Often to Change Fuel Filter?

Now you have the answer to the question “How often to change fuel filter”

Depending on the vehicle’s life span, the filter may require a change every 20,000-30,000 miles. With the estimated 13,000 miles a year an American drives, the fuel filter needs to be replaced once every 1-2 years. However, certain new cars can have filters that won’t require replacement for every 60,000 miles.

We hope this post was of help to you. Please feel free to check out our other blog articles if you want to get more tips for fixing and preventing car troubles!

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