Though not a high-profile component, the fuel filter plays a crucial role in keeping your car healthy. It not only protects the oil from becoming crudded with debris, but it defends the fuel injectors and pump. Above all, it keeps the fuel economy in check.As a small but vital piece of an intricately-designed system, your vehicle’s fuel filter shouldn’t be neglected. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it could be time to have yours replaced.
Your Car Has Trouble Starting
True, a zillion issues could inhibit engine ignition, but one of them is a dirty fuel filter. Maybe your car starts but only after a few tries and with obvious signs of distress. This could mean the filter is clogged but not totally blocked. Even so, waiting much longer could mean your car won’t start at all.
The Engine Idles
Your car’s engine will tell you if it suffers from dirty oil and stressed parts, usually in the form of idling. So, if you feel (or hear) the engine straining at stop lights or in traffic, some type of fuel inhibition is likely to blame. Why not start by addressing the fuel filter?
The Engine Dies
Depending on the severity of fuel filter filth, the engine could give up altogether. If you find yourself stranded mid-commute, it could be the fuel filter.
Decreased Gas Mileage
A clogged or faulty fuel filter will make your engine consume more gas, so paying attention to this performance measure can help you get ahead of the issue before it leaves you stranded.
The Check Engine Light Turns On
The fallout from a dirty fuel filter will strain your engine, which could trigger the warning light. It never helps to ignore this sign, as a dirty fuel filter could be the least of your worries.
How Long Does a Fuel Filter Last?
In older models, experts recommend changing the fuel filter at least every two years or 30,000 miles but newer cars can go longer. For a more detailed time table, check your owner’s manual for the replacement schedule. If you notice any of the previously-mentioned signs, you can also have a technician perform a fuel pressure test. If your car’s PSI sits outside the normal range (30 – 60), it could be time for a new fuel filter.
For all your vehicle’s maintenance and repair needs, call Fairfax Auto Repair at 703-822-5911 and schedule an appointment today!