How to Change a Fuel Filter in a Chevy Malibu

by Dan FerrellUpdated November 07, 2017
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Photo courtesy of IFCAR at

Items you will need

  • Floor jack and 2 jack stands

  • Wrench set

  • Ratchet and socket set

  • Flare or line wrench

The fuel filter on your Chevy Malibu does not require a change at regular intervals, but contaminants may easily clog the filter element after years of service. In this case, fuel supply to the engine suffers and engine performance is affected. This procedure will guide you to replace the fuel filter on your Malibu. It is based on a 2003, V6, 3.1 engine model. Other models are similar.

Park your car in a safe place, loosen up the fuel filler cap, open the hood and locate the power distribution box at the front left-hand side, or driver's side, of the engine compartment.

Start the engine and let it idle as you remove the lid from the power distribution box and unplug the fuel pump relay. Marks on the inside back of the lid or the relay itself should identify the unit.

Let the engine stall and then crank the engine for about three seconds to relieve the remaining pressure from the system.

Raise the back of the vehicle using a floor jack and safely support it on two jack stands.

Locate the fuel filter at the back of the car--between the fuel tank and rear bumper--and clean both fuel lines connected to the fuel filter to prevent fuel contamination once you disconnect the fuel lines.

Remove the evaporative control system, or EVAP, canister next to the fuel filter if you need more access to the filter. You can remove the canister using a wrench or ratchet and socket.

Disconnect the fuel supply line from the fuel filter--the line going to the engine--using a backup wrench and a flare or line wrench to avoid damage to the line.

Grasp the quick-connect line fitting at the other end of the filter and press the lock tabs. Slightly twist the fitting from side to side to remove any dirt from the line connection. While pressing the tabs, push the fitting against the filter and then pull it away to disengage the line.

Remove the filter from its mounting bracket and set the new filter in place, making sure the arrow on the side of the filter case points towards the fuel supply line.

Connect the supply fuel line by hand to avoid damage to the threads and install the quick-connect line to the other end of the filter. Tighten the supply line to 20 foot-pounds, or 27 Nm, using the backup and flare wrenches.

Install the evaporative control system canister and lower the vehicle.

Tighten the fuel filler cap, install the fuel pump relay, start the engine and check for fuel leaks at the fuel filter connections.


Do not allow smoking and park away from appliances with open flames like water heaters and dryers whenever you have to work on or near the fuel system of your vehicle to avoid an accident.

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