Fuel filters are more important than many motorists realize, and it’s important to realize the signs that your filter needs to be changed.

How Fuel Filters Work

The fuel filter blocks particles and debris from the fuel before in is filtered into the injection system. Fuel is pumped through the filter by pressure from the fuel pump. The filter itself is made from pleated material that allows the fuel to filter through, while trapping anything that could be harmful to the engine.

Signs Of Failing Fuel Filters

There are a few signs to look out for that could indicate a failing fuel filter.

  • Engine Power. If you are experiencing a drop in engine power it could be due to less fuel being able to pass though the filer. This happens when debris builds up in the filter and prevents enough fuel from being pumped through. If this goes on for long enough your check engine light will eventually come on. Keep in mind that there are other reasons for a lack of engine power such as a failing injector or a failing air flow sensor; however, checking the fuel filter first can help rule out any of these possibilities.
  • Stalling. Stalling during a hard acceleration, or while struggling up a steep incline can indicate an issue as well. While light driving around town may not aggravate this problem, any stressful conditions can cause stalling. A loss in acceleration power can often be wrongly assumed to be a faulty sensor; however, a fuel pressure test will quickly show the root of the problem.
  • Misfire. Under heavy duress backfire can occur. If your car begins stuttering while going up a hill, or hard accelerating, it could be a sign of faliure. As the debris build up, it makes it harder for extra fuel to make it though when needed, such as during times of extra strain. However, if the car misfires when idling the problem most likely lies somewhere else, as most cars use minimal fuel when idling.

These are the most common signs that your car needs attention. Though it is good to keep in mind that other issues can also cause similar problems; however, checking the fuel filter first can help rule out more costly fixes. It’s best to talk with a skilled mechanic if you have any questions about how your car is behaving.

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