First of all, the sole purpose of a fuel filter is to ensure dirt and debris is kept at bay from the reach of gas in a car. More often when a fuel filter becomes dirty or clogged with dirt and debris, or left for too long without cleaning or replacement, the car’s engine performance is dramatically affected. As such, the gas initiated through the car is impeded, which end up with the fuel pump working much harder than required.
Normally the easiest and safest way to ensure your fuel filter is clean enough for efficient use, is to single handedly remove it from your car and blow through it. If you find no air is let out or flow normally through the filter, that is a clear sign your fuel filter is potentially dirty and should be replaced. Although there are other occasions where your car’s fuel filter can show symptoms of being heavily clogged or too dirty, without having it removed for series of tests via inspection.
Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Filter or a Failing One
Check Engine Light
Even though most modern vehicles do not have an actual sensor for the fuel filter, the check engine light might get triggered because of a week fuel system. A clogged fuel filter is a common reason that triggers the dashboard light to come on.
Some experienced mechanics understand the relation between trouble codes P0174 and P0171. These are closely related to the mass airflow system and a lean fuel mixture in your vehicle’s motor. Here is where an experienced mechanic will automatically check the fuel filter to see if it is clogged.
These trouble codes are also related to poor engine performance due too a problem coming from the fuel system of your car. In simple words, your engine is not receiving the correct amount of fuel due to a clogged fuel filter. It is also related to bad fuel injectors as well.
Engine Will Not Start
Normally this is some of the major signs, sometimes indicate the symptoms of a bad fuel filter. The problem arises where you struggle hard to start your car or even fails to start at all, which clearly shows the fuel filter is heavily clogged or too dirty to function properly. This may also restrict the fuel from reaching its engine, quite essential for the vehicle’s internal combustion to start.
Though in some cases the car can also fail to start because of lack of enough fuel running through its engine, so ensure your car has sufficient fuel. After you have done so and the vehicle still fails to start, it’s a clear sign the fuel filter is severely clogged or dirty. If the engine takes too long than usual to start, it means the fuel filter is partially blocked. Check to see what might be causing your engine not to start.
Under some severe circumstances the car may refuse to start at all, when your fuel filter is heavily clogged or too dirty. Specifically when climbing through steep slopes, the vehicle behaves oddly as though you’re running out of gas, eventually making it to stop abruptly.
Although if your vehicle behaves like this frequently, it could be the engine lacks sufficient supply of fuel within its reach, as such this causes the engine to stall. Mainly a clogged or immensely dirty fuel filter can cause insufficient fuel supply from reaching the car’s engine effectively.
Acceleration Problems With Your Vehicle
Another good sign that draws optimum attention to check whether your car’s fuel filter is clogged with dirt or functioning properly. This frequently occurs when your car starts behaving funny or oddly, and suffers from a slowdown syndrome when driven at certain speeds due to lack of sufficient fuel, required for it to go any faster. Even with the fact that you might be stepping hard on the gas, the vehicle fails to bulge and the speed remains the same.
Awful Exhaust Fume Odor
In the occasion where you sense some awful smell permeating from your car’s exhaust, chances are your fuel filter is clogged or immersed with dirt and hence need to be checked. Additionally the car’s exhaust fume, initiated from the engine may appear somehow dark and cloudy, which also indicate a great sign your car’s fuel filter need to be cleaned or replaced. Frequent misfiring is also a vital area to check whether your car’s fuel filter is functioning properly.
Engine Idling Issues
In such pressing situations the engine will start normally, although it will stop when it’s not supposed to. This mainly suggests sufficient gas is initiated through the fuel filter normally when the vehicle is running, but when idling there is lack of sufficient gas within — which influences its idling issues. Check whether there are any symptoms from your fuel filter that needs change or replacement, because issues as such normally show your car’s fuel filter is either clogged or severely dirty.
Sputtering or Fluctuating Power Issues
Many times, sputtering issues normally occur when driving at a low-speed and where the fuel filter is experiencing some minimal blockage. Although after sometime, you will have no other choice apart from cleaning or changing the fuel filter entirely.
Horrible Engine Performance
Lastly, sometimes when you have a clogged fuel filer or it is partly dirty, fuel will somehow go through the filter but will substantially clog the vehicle’s injector or carburetor. As such, this will cause the engine to stall, have start problems and much more.
Common Fuel Filter Problems
On the other hand, for maximum longevity and vast resilience of your fuel filter, always have it checked and cleaned at regular occasions. Thus, soon as you notice any of the above signs are becoming way much frequent than usual, have your fuel filter cleaned to minimize the level of harm to its functionality.
As noted, the simple way anyone can clean their fuel filter effectively is by removing it and blowing through it, to clear its infiltrations of that clogged fuel filter. Eventually when you notice air is passing through normally, it’s a wonderful indicator your fuel filter is ready for use. Nevertheless, if the results report otherwise, it’s a major indicator your fuel filter needs to be changed.
Above all else, it’s highly recommended by experts and veteran mechanics to ensure your car’s fuel filter is changed at least annually, to further maximize the potential of your car’s engine performance and effectiveness. Similarly, vehicles frequently driven on coarse or bumpy roads, and also most probably have high mileage, should have their fuel filters changed more often.
Also worth knowing, sometimes the fuel may contain some level of alcohol and sometimes the fuel tank may rust, causing a clogged fuel filter or a severely dirty one. Make sure you buy gas from reputable gas stations, where you are sure the gas won’t have impurities that may influence the occasion of imminent fuel filter issues.
5 Best Fuel Filter Brands On The Market
For day to day commuting to work and home and other places one needs to go, a car becomes a critical means of transport. When the care is not well taken care of and regularly maintained, there are many charges that are increased and the car becomes more of a liability than an asset. It is therefore critical that car owners take care of their cars.
One of the ways to ensure your car continues to serve you longer is by ensuring the fuel filter is regularly cleaned and changed. The fuel filter is an important component of fuel delivery for your car. It does however become dirty and clogged over time. When changing fuel filters, one should know several brands from which to buy to ensure you get environmentally friendly filters that will keep your car going without allowing dirt to get to your engine.