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Some of the signs you need to change your fuel filter include misfiring, hard starting, drop in engine performance, etc. But that’s not all, there are also other symptoms of a bad fuel filter, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Typically, one of the most neglected components of vehicles is the fuel filter. In fact, it mostly seems like most drivers and even mechanics care less about their fuel/oil filters.
However, these components are vital and can cause serious issues when they go bad due to lack of proper maintenance.
Your fuel filter should be changed after 50,000 miles or at most, after 100,000 miles. However, some people have never changed theirs since they started driving their car, and they have driven over 150,000 miles.
Well, the truth is, when the fuel filter is clogged, damaged, or faulty, you will start to notice different unusual signs.
When To Change Your Fuel Filter?
Just as the oil filter is important, the fuel filter is also important. The major function of these filters is to restrict debris and fine particles from penetrating into the engine as the fuel flow in.
However, when this filter is bad, it could prevent fuel from getting into the engine entirely, or allow dirt to go in with the fuel.
Either way, once the fuel filter is bad, your car’s performance is liable to drop, and if the issue is not tackled immediately, you may end up with a costlier repair, probably an engine replacement, since a bad filter can contribute to damaging your car engine.
So, when is the best time to change your fuel filter? Well, there is no best time to do that; fuel filters are inexpensive and do not take much time to be replaced.
You could decide to change your fuel filter after every 40,000 miles or 50,000 miles. The perfect time to change your fuel filter is more like a personal opinion.
Regardless, it is recommended by most auto experts that you should change your fuel filter at least once after every 2 years or 40,000 miles.
More so, as the car gets older, it is advisable to change the fuel and oil filters more often; for example, if you were changing the fuel filter after 40,000 miles, as the car gets older, it is advisable to change the filter after every 30,000 miles or 20,000 miles.
As insignificant as it may seem, the fuel filter is a vital component in the fuel pump and delivery system that contributes immensely to the general performance of your engine.
A bad filter can cause engine overheating, sputtering, and many other costlier damages. Hence, it is important to check your fuel filter when you start getting any of these signs below.
Signs You Need to Change Your Fuel Filter
Apparently, you may not experience all the signs of a bad fuel filter listed below as the symptoms can vary from vehicle to vehicle. You just need to be proactive when unusual things start happening when you’re driving.
1. Unusual Drop-in Engine Performance
This is usually the major sign that indicates something is wrong with your engine or the fuel system.
First, a clogged fuel filter will not allow fuel from the tank to flow seamlessly into the engine; thus, the engine would not get enough fuel to function at its peak.
In the same vein, a broken or damaged fuel filter will allow fuel to fuel into the engine excessively, along with debris and dirt that may be on the fuel delivery rails.
When dirt and debris get into the engine, they accumulate to form carbon buildups that also affects the performance of your engine.
That said, a significant drop in performance is a clear sign that something is wrong with the engine or the fuel system. You can confirm the situation using an auto troubleshooting device such as the popular OBD2 scanner.
2. The Fuel Filter Icon Illuminates
The icon is not on every car’s dashboard, but you’d find it on some models from specific brands.
For vehicles that have a fuel filter icon on the dashboard, once the filter is no longer functioning as supposed, the icon will illuminate – just as the check engine light comes on when your car systems detect an engine-related issue.
Also, in some cases, for cars that do not have the fuel filter icon on their dashboard, the check engine light may come on (illuminate) when the fuel filter is bad.
So, when your check engine icons illuminate or the fuel filter icon illuminates, do well to check out what’s wrong and fix it as soon as possible.
3. Hard Starting
Yes, hard starting is also one of the signs that depict it is time to change your fuel filters. As discussed earlier, a bad filter will affect fuel flow into the engine, which of course, is possible to cause hard starting.
More so, there are some cases where the car won’t start at all. This usually happens if the filter has been bad for a long time and was ignored.
4. Inability To Drive On Top Speed
If you’re the type that loves throttling up to 100+ kilometers, when the fuel filter is not in good shape, you will notice that your car won’t accelerate properly.
When you find it difficult to accelerate on hills or even on level roads, that’s pretty much a sign to check your fuel filter.
There are many things that could cause engine misfiring; however, a bad fuel filter is inclusive as one of the causes.
Misfiring is when you feel unusual hesitation while driving; it is not good at all, and it can damage the engine if the cause is not addressed as soon as possible. Again, you need to run a troubleshoot to ascertain the real cause of the misfiring.
Conclusion | Symptoms Of a Bad Fuel Filter
So, what are the signs you need to change your fuel filter? All these signs explained above are possible symptoms of a damaged or clogged fuel filter.
When you start noticing any of these signs, you can pull out the fuel filter and check its current state; if this seems a technical task for you, ensure to engage a mechanic.
Finally, a bad fuel filter can affect the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. You may notice that your car consumes more fuel than ever. Furthermore, there may other signs such as sputtering and car dying off while still driving.