We all know that air filters and oil filters need to be changed every now and then to make sure your car is functioning properly. But how often should you change your fuel filters?

What are fuel filters?

Fuel filters are filters designed to filter impurities out of gasoline. Pure fuel burns efficiently. And though our fuel today is generally clean, it can still be riddled with impurities and debris. When this debris enters the combustion chamber with the fuel it can lead to an impure burn. This results in poor fuel economy and less power to your vehicle. 

Fuel filters are meant to trap these impurities and filter them out of fuel, helping you save money and giving your vehicle a cleaner burn. 

Where is the fuel filter located?

In the past, fuel filters were easily accessible under the hood. Today, the location of the fuel filter has changed. Most fuel filters are located in the fuel tank itself, making it more difficult and a more involved process to change the fuel filter.

Although it may seem like an inconvenience, its important to change your fuel filter routinely. Contrary to what some manufacturers will tell you, fuel filters don’t have a lifetime warranty. And compared to the price of a new engine or catalytic converter, service fees and the price of a new filter is much more affordable. 

How often should you change your fuel filter?

The exact amount of time your fuel filter will last depends primarily on the purity of the fuel in your area and whether you drive a regular or diesel car. Generally speaking, though, fuel filters should be replaced every 60,000 to 70,000 miles, or about every 4 to 5 years

Keep in mind that if you drive a diesel, the timeline for replacing your fuel filters may pushed forward to every 10,000 to 25,000 miles. 

Dangers of clogged fuel filter

When you fuel filter fills up and gets clogged, the flow of fuel into the engine through the fuel injectors can slow or stop completely. When the fuel injectors clog it can lead to a loss of pressure, keeping your engine from getting the right amount of fuel. Combustion in the engine chamber happens at its prime when there is a specific ratio of air to fuel. When there is an excess of air but a lack of fuel coming through, your vehicle runs lean. 

There are several dangers to running lean. Running lean can burn out your pistons, make your cooling system overheat, and cause your catalytic converter to burn out by making it run too hot.

Signs of a clogged fuel filter

These are several signs to keep an eye out for that indicate it’s time for you to change your fuel filter

  • Stalling
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Loss of power at highway speeds
  • Engine misfires
  • Rough idling

If you’re experiencing these types of issues or think its time to change your fuel filter, come in to Courtesy Auto and Tire of Tacoma, your Tacoma auto body shop. Even if you’re not sure it’s time for a change, it’s better to have things checked out so you have an idea of when your next change should be.