Whether you drive a diesel or gasoline vehicle, you need to change your fuel filter every so often. The fuel filter removes debris that would otherwise reach and damage your engine. You can easily look for signs of a dirty fuel filter to know when to change it or turn to a mechanic for help. A good mechanic can also top off your fluids and look for signs of damage that might affect your car.
What Are the Common Bad Fuel Filter Symptoms?
A clogged fuel filter can cause so much damage that you need to leave your car with a mechanic for a few nights or longer. Looking at the common signs of a bad or dirty fuel filter is a good way to know when to clean it. One sign of trouble is when you attempt to start the engine. You may find that you need to turn the key more than once and apply more gas to start the engine. If the filter is dirty enough, the car won’t start. When the filter is dirty, it prevents gas from getting to the engine. This can result in the car misfiring or idling when you drive.
Mechanics also warn car owners about vehicles that stall. This can happen when you start and stop a few times in traffic. It can also occur when you leave a parking lot and switch between speeds. If you see the check engine light flashing, you may need a clean fuel filter. A dirty filter can eventually lead to complete engine failure too. This will rarely happen until you see and ignore some of the other signs.
How Many Miles Can You Go Before Changing Your Fuel Filter?
You should always check the manual that came with your car to see how often the manufacturer recommends driving before you replace your oil filter. The minimum is usually two years. You can also go up to 30,000 miles before you need to replace a dirty fuel filter. Make sure that you write down the date and miles on your engine when you replace your filter. It’s then a simple matter of checking that data to see when you need to replace it again. Always replace your filter on a set schedule and not just when you notice some symptoms of a dirty one. You should keep in mind that you may need to change the filter more often if you drive on roads that produce a lot of debris.
Dangers of Not Cleaning Your Fuel Filter
When you look at how often to change fuel filter basics, don’t assume that you can put the job off because you don’t have any problems right now. There are some major dangers associated with driving a car that has a dirty fuel filter. The biggest is that the car can sputter and even die when you attempt to accelerate. This can leave you sliding down a hill or crashing into another car that accelerated at the same time you did. You also risk your car taking forever to start when you leave or get off work. There’s even a chance that your car will never turn over until you change the filter.
How to Fix a Clogged Fuel Filter
If you have a clogged fuel filter and want to clean it yourself, you need to remove the fuse that runs the fuel pump. Only after starting your vehicle and running it for 120 seconds should you remove the battery from your car. This ensures that you don’t shock or otherwise injure yourself. Depending on the type of vehicle you have, you may need to put your car on jacks to get to the fuel filter. You’ll also need the right tools to remove the filter.
Look for the opening on the filter that allows you to pour out any gas stuck inside. Carburetor cleaner is one of the best products to use on a dirty filter. Attach the included plastic straw to the top. You’ll then shake the can slightly and press down on the top to spray the cleaner through the filter. After it dries, replace the fuel filter in your car and connect both the battery and fuse. If your car still doesn’t run properly, consult a mechanic.
Whether you have a gasoline or diesel fuel filter, you need to know when to clean or change it to prevent accidents from your car stalling. If you had an accident in the past, turn to MAPFRE to get the best auto insurance policy for you.