How to Replace the Fuel Filter on Toyota Cars

by Contributing Writer

The fuel filter cleans dirt and debris from the fuel to protect the fuel injectors. When the fuel filter goes bad, the vehicle loses performance and is difficult to operate. Two fuel filter setups exist on the Toyota car line. One of the setups is non-serviceable because the fuel filter is part of the fuel pump and is located inside the gas tank. The other is serviceable underneath the vehicle, on the frame rail nearest the gas tank. Consult the owner's manual or look under the vehicle to ascertain which setup a particular vehicle has.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace the Fuel Filter on a Toyota Avalon

Park the Toyota Avalon on a level surface in a well ventilated work area. Pull the hood latch and raise the hood.

Remove the fuel cap from the fill neck on the fuel tank. Removing the fuel cap will release the gas pressure from the fuel filter.

Locate the fuel filter on the driver's side below the master cylinder and the air filter box. You can change the fuel filter without removing any other components.

Slide the drip pan under the Toyota Avalon in the general location of the fuel filter.

Hold the fuel filter with one hand and loosen the bottom fuel line nut with a metric open end wrench. Turn the fuel line nut counterclockwise to loosen, then finish unscrewing the fuel line nut with your fingers. Pull the line out of the fuel filter.

Hold the fuel filter with one hand and unscrew the top fuel line nut with the same metric open end wrench. Finish unscrewing the fuel line nut with your fingers and pull the fuel line out of the fuel filter.

Loosen the metric bolt holding the bracket of the fuel filter to the mounting bracket with a metric wrench. Slide the bottom of the fuel filter away from the mounting bolt and out of the engine compartment.

Slide the bracket of the new fuel filter onto the bracket bolt. Make sure that the arrow on the new fuel filter is pointing upward. Tighten the metric bracket bolt with the metric wrench.

Screw both the bottom and top fuel lines back onto the fuel filter and tighten with the metric wrench. Screw the fuel cap back on the fuel tank and remove the drip pan from under the car.

Turn the ignition on for five seconds and then turn it off. Turn the key on and off three more times for five seconds each time. This process will prime the new filter with fuel and remove the air from the fuel filter. Leave the motor running on the fifth turn of the key. Look over the new fuel filter for gas leaks while the Toyota Avalon is running. Then shut the engine off and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • Drip pan

  • Metric open end wrench set

 How to Replace a Fuel Filter in a Toyota Camry

Locate the fuel filter by looking under the hood on the driver's side. The fuel filter is a somewhat small canister with the fuel line connected to each end.

Disconnect the negative battery cable, and as a precaution wait 90 seconds or more to be sure you don't disturb the air bags. Remove the fuel filter's protective shield. Also remove the air cleaner hose and cap and the charcoal canister, if they're in the way.

Loosen the lower flare nut slowly to allow all the pressure out. Remove the banjo fitting and two metal gaskets. Then, disconnect the fuel line from the fuel filter and take the filter out of the mounting bracket.

Put the new fuel filter in the mounting bracket, pointing the direction arrow toward the engine. Put a new metal gasket on each end. Attach it with the union bolt.

Tighten the flare nut on the lower connection. Replace the charcoal canister, air cleaner hose and air cleaner cap, if applicable. Put the protective shield back on and reattach the negative battery cable. Start your Toyota Camry and check for leaks.

Items you will need

  • New fuel filter

  • New fuel filter gaskets

  • Line wrench with extension

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on RAV4

Park the vehicle on a flat, level surface and set the parking brake. Place wheel chocks around one wheel to prevent rolling. Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery cable. Open the fuel filler cap to release pressure on the fuel lines.

Position a drip pan under the fuel filter. Loosen the hose clamps with a flat-head screwdriver and slide them away from the filter.

Disconnect the hoses from the filter and aim them at the drip pan to collect any spilled fuel. Wipe the ends of the hoses with a rag.

Remove the fuel filter mounting bolts with a socket wrench. Remove the fuel filter and lay it in the drip pan.

Put the new fuel filter in place and fasten the mounting bolts with a socket wrench. Connect the hoses, slide the hose clamps around the bases and tighten them with a flat-head screwdriver.

Press on the gas pedal a few times to move fuel into the new filter. Close the fuel filler cap. Reconnect the negative battery cable.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks

  • Drip pan

  • Flat-head screwdriver

  • Rag

  • Socket wrench

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on a Toyota Corolla

Open the hood and let the car sit idle and un-powered for at least a half hour it you had just been driving it. This will allow the car to cool down.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. This will prevent the airbags from deploying as you're swapping the filter.

Locate the old fuel filter. It is underneath the driver's side of the engine chassis, and it is encased in a small canister (which is shaped somewhat like a soup can) attached to the fuel line.

Remove the protective shield from around the filter using the line wrench and set it aside. If the cleaner hose or charcoal canister are in the way, then simply remove them, too, by unscrewing the bolts on the brackets holding them in.

Loosen the flare nut, which is attached to the filter and the fuel line, to allow the pressure inside to subside.

Remove the banjo fitting and metal gaskets, then disconnect the fuel line from the old fuel filter and remove it from the mounting bracket.

Slip the new fuel filter into the old fuel filter's place in the mounting bracket and screw a new gasket onto each end, attaching them with the union bolt.

Tighten the flare nut back onto the fuel filter, put everything you removed back on (like the cleaner hose, charcoal canister, etc.) and attach the negative battery cable to the battery.

Start the car and check for leaks.

Items you will need

  • Line wrench

  • New fuel filter and fuel filter gaskets

 How to Replace the Fuel Filter on a Celica

Remove the fuse for the fuel pump. The fuse compartment is located near the bottom of the dash next to the cigarette lighter behind a pullout cover. The specific fuse within the compartment protecting the fuel pump, can be determined by the reference sticker attached to the inside of the fuse compartment cover.

Start the car with the fuse removed and allow the engine to idle until it runs out of fuel and dies. This should take less than one minute at the most. If the car continues to idle, double check that the correct fuse has been removed. Operating the engine at idle with power removed from the fuel pump will aid in relieving the fuel pressure from the system.

Remove the negative battery lead from the car battery to prevent inadvertent starts or electrical shocks while performing service to the fuel system.

Locate the fuel filter inside the engine bay. The fuel filter is mounted to the firewall and strapped into a mounting bracket. A 2000 Toyota Celica fuel filter is located on the passenger's side firewall next to the strut.

Place a catch pan or drip pan beneath the fuel filter to catch any excess fuel that will leak from the inlet fuel line when the fitting is loosened. Place a shop rag or old towel over the top of the fuel filter to eliminate any fuel spray that may be trapped under pressure.

Loosen the banjo nut using a 17mm wrench slowly to allow fuel to bleed and drain out of system. Once all fuel has drained, continue to back out the bolt the remove the fitting from the filter.

Remove the outlet fuel line from the filter using the 17mm wrench by loosening the swivel fitting slowly and backing it off the fuel filter fitting. Plug both fuel lines or wrap and tape inside a small plastic bag.

Remove the four 10 millimeter bolts that attach the fuel filter to the firewall using a 10mm wrench.

Lift the old filter out of the engine compartment and insert the new fuel filter. Attach it to the firewall in the same orientation as the old filter was removed, and install the four 10mm bolts.

Screw on the swivel compression fitting onto the filter fitting and tighten with the 17mm wrench.

Place new washers onto the banjo fitting and install the fitting onto the new fuel filter. Start the banjo fitting bolt and make it up hand tight. Torque the banjo fitting to 22 ft. lbs. with the torque wrench.

Re-install the negative battery lead to the car battery and tighten the terminal connection. Re-insert the fuel pump fuse into the fuse panel and start the car. Engine will turn over several times until fuel pressure is regained before engine fires. This process should only take 10 to 20 seconds at the most. Inspect the fuel filter installation for any signs of fuel leaks while engine is at idle.

Items you will need

  • 17mm wrench

  • Torque wrench

  • 10 mm wrench

  • Shop rags

  • Drip pan

  • New fuel filter

 How to Change a Fuel Filter in a 1998 Camry

Remove fuel filler cap to equalize pressure in the fuel system.

Remove the entire air filter housing for easier access to the fuel filter.

Locate the fuel filter. On the 1998 Camry, it is on the driver's side, under the hood, just below and behind the air filter housing. It can be identified by the fuel line running from the top back toward the engine.

Remove the top fitting of the fuel filter with the 10mm wrench, and unbolt the bracket off the inner guard.

Carefully twist the filter and hose/pipe down far enough to where you can locate the union nut.

These are often tight because they are changed so rarely. Carefully use the adjustable spanner to hold one end and use the 14mm wrench to undo the connection.

Once both the in and out fittings are disconnected at the union nut, remove the other 10mm mounting bolt and remove the filter.

Install the new filter by reversing the order of previous steps.

Items you will need

  • 10mm wrench

  • 14mm wrench

  • Adjustable spanner/wrench

  • New fuel filter

 How to Change the Fuel Filter in a 2003 Toyota Camry

Park the 2003 Toyota Camry in a safe work environment that is well ventilated. Pull the hood latch and open the hood.

Walk to the rear of the car and remove the gas cap.

Stand in front of the Camry and locate the fuel filter. The fuel filter on the 2003 model Camry is mounted to the drive-side firewall. Slide the catch pan under the car in the general area of the fuel filter.

Remove the bottom fuel line from the bottom of the fuel filter with the open-end wrench. Hold the fuel filter with one hand while turning the fuel line hex nut counterclockwise. Finish unscrewing the fuel line from the bottom of the fuel filter with your fingers.

Remove the top fuel line from the fuel filter with the open-end wrench, Hold the fuel filter with one hand while turning the fuel line hex nut counterclockwise. Finish unscrewing the fuel line with your fingers.

Remove the two nuts from the bracket that hold the fuel filter in place with an open-end wrench.

Pull the fuel filter out and discard it in the catch pan. Insert the new fuel filter into the bracket and screw the bolts back into the bracket. Tighten the bracket down with the open-end wrench.

Screw the bottom fuel line onto the bottom of the fuel filter. Tighten the bottom fuel line hex nut with the open-end wrench while holding the fuel filter with your other hand.

Screw the top fuel line onto the top of the fuel filter. Tighten the fuel line hex nut down tight with the open-end wrench while holding the fuel filter with your other hand. Then, walk back to the rear of the Camry and screw the gas cap back on.

Crank the engine and inspect the new fuel filter for leaks with the car running. Turn the engine off and close the hood. Slide the catch pan out from under the car.

Items you will need

  • Fluid catch pan

  • Open-end wrench set

  • New fuel filter

 How to Replace a Fuel Filter in a Toyota Highlander

Review the owner's manual to see which fuse is for the fuel pump. You need to remove this fuse before you do any work to remove the fuel filter.

Take the fuel tank off the Highlander. In the SUV, the fuel filter is inside the fuel tank. When the fuel line is disconnected, you will see the fuel filter attached to the line.

Find two wrenches that fit snug on the fuel filter fittings. You will need two different sizes.

Grip the fuel filter fittings with the two wrenches-one will stay stationary and the other you need to turn counterclockwise until the fitting comes lose.

Turn the clamp screw around the old filter to release it and put a new fuel filter in its place.

Adjust the fittings with new washers on both sides of the fuel line. Tighten the clamp around the new filter and insert the fuel pump fuse before you start your car.

Address any issues with the fuel tank before you reattach it to the Highlander. Check for rust and cracks on the straps, clamps and lines.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set

  • Screwdriver set

  • Cleaning rags

  • New fuel filter

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on a Toyota Tundra

Turn the engine off and remove some pressure from the fuel system by disconnecting the fuel pump connector, which is near the fuel tank. Turn the engine on, and rev it until it stalls. Switch the ignition off.

Disconnect the battery and fuel lines. This will allow you to easily remove the old fuel filter. Turn the old filter until you feel it give way, then lift it out. Use the arrow on the top as a reference.

Align the new filter so that the arrow is following the direction of the fuel flow. Use new washers to secure the filter. Tighten all the nuts of the fuel lines as you reconnect them.

Connect the battery and start the engine.

Items you will need

  • Mechanic’s wrenches

  • Washers

 How to Replace a Fuel Filter on a 2000 Toyota Camry

Remove the fuse labeled "fuel pump," located in the fuse panel below the dashboard. If removal of the fuse is difficult, use the needle nose pliers to assist in removing the fuse.

Start the engine and let it run until it stops to relieve the pressure on the fuel system.

Locate the fuel filter, which is located in the engine compartment in front of the master cylinder on the driver's side of the car. Place a catch pan under the vehicle below the fuel filter to retain any spilled gasoline.

Use a 17 mm open-end wrench to loosen and disconnect the fuel delivery line from the fuel filter.

Use a 13 mm open-end wrench to remove the two bolts holding the fuel filter to the engine compartment .

Remove the bottom fuel delivery line attached to the fuel filter with the 17 mm wrench.

Attach the bottom fuel delivery line to the new fuel filter. Tighten the connection with the 17 mm open-end wrench. Confirm the arrow on the outside of the filter is pointed toward the top of the vehicle.

Tighten the two 13 mm bolts through the fuel filter bracket to the engine compartment.

Tighten the fuel delivery line to the fuel filter with a 17 mm open-end wrench.

Properly dispose of any gasoline caught in the catch pan. Replace the fuel pump fuse into the fuse panel.

Items you will need

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Fluid catch pan

  • 17 mm open-end wrench

  • 13 mm open-end wrench

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on a Camry

Locate the fuel filter in the engine compartment of your 1997 Toyota Camry, on the driver's side, next to the air cleaner.

Detach the air cleaner from the top of the engine by removing the wing nut on top by hand. Lift the unit out of the engine compartment.

Locate the fuel filter just below the air cleaner. Detach the banjo fuel fitting with a 17 mm socket wrench. Remove the 14 mm fitting on the bottom of the filter with a socket wrench.

Open the gas cap to relieve some of the pressure in the gas line,. Loosen the 10 mm nut with an open end wrench holding the fuel line leading to the carburetor from the fuel filter. Move the line out of the way.

Detach the fuel line leading to the gas tank from the fuel filter using an open end wrench. Tilt the fuel line up so that gas does not leak out.

Position the new fuel filter in place. Start the threads on both sides by hand, connecting both fuel lines to the filter.

Secure the fuel lines to the fuel filter by tightening the nuts on both sides with an open end wrench.

Reattach the upper and lower banjo fittings the fuel filter to secure it. Then place the air cleaner back into position and secure it with the wing nut.

Close the gas cap. Then start the engine to get the fuel primed in the new fuel filter. Shut the engine off after it starts.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench set

  • Open end wrench

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on a 1994 Camry

Unplug the fuel-relay fuse, which is located just behind the glove box under the passenger-side dashboard.

Run your engine for as long as it takes to stall out. This usually takes only a couple of minutes, but allows enough time for the fuel system to depressurize as it stalls.

Unclamp the negative battery cable under your car's hood. The negative cable is black. Removing this connection will prevent any accidental spark from your engine as you work under your car.

Use your car jack to elevate the rear end of your car to a height that will allow you to work comfortably under it, but with minimal danger.

Place the jack stands on each side of ground beneath you car as a safety precaution.

Rock your car gently to ensure that it will not collapse the jack stands as you are changing the filter.

Locate your fuel filter, which a cylinder-shaped object attached on each side by the two fuel lines.

Position the drip pan just beneath the fuel filter in such a way that it will collect any liquid that falls from the unit during the filter-changing procedure.

Unsnap the small clips that connect the filter to the fuel lines. If the clips are too difficult to firmly pinch with your fingers, use the needle-nose pliers together to loosen the filter and gradually bring it down to ground level.

Mount the new fuel filter in the same position that the previous filter was mounted. The clips will make a slight snapping sound when they lock in properly.

Wipe the fuel system area with your shop rags, as well as any spots the fuel may have dripped on the ground.

Remove the drip pan, old filter, needle-nose pliers and shop rags from beneath the vehicle.

Take the jack stands out from under the rear of your Camry, and lower the jack cautiously to ground level.

Re-attach the black (negative) cable to your car's battery under the hood.

Plug the fuel-relay fuse back into its outlet, making sure it is snug before closing the glove compartment.

Turn your ignition key over several times, waiting approximately five seconds between each turn. After several attempts, the fuel should be flowing throughout the system and your engine will start.

Items you will need

  • Car jack

  • Jack stands

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Shop rags

  • Drip pan

  • Safety glasses

  • Protective gloves

  • New fuel filter

 How to Replace a Fuel Filter in a Toyota Tacoma

Relieve the fuel system pressure by first placing a container under the fuel filter. Slowly loosen a joint with the correct size wrench and a backup wrench, if necessary. Let the fuel from the fuel line slowly empty into the container. Once it all runs out, you can fully disconnect the joint.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Locate the fuel filter in the engine compartment at the inlet line to the fuel rail. Remove the filter inlet and outlet lines and plug them to prevent any remaining fuel from leaking out, or dirt from entering the system.

Take out the fuel filter and remove it from the bracket. Place the new fuel filter in the bracket. Install the filter in the vehicle and tighten the bolts to 14 ft-lbs. Install new gaskets and tighten the union bolts to 22 ft-lbs.

Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine of your Toyota Tacoma and check for leaks, which you'll want to repair immediately.

Items you will need

  • Fuel container

  • Wrenches

  • Plugs for fuel lines

  • New fuel filter

  • Gaskets

 How to Change the Fuel Filter on a 1997 Toyota Camry

Locate the fuel pump fuse in the fuses panel, which is under the dashboard on the driver's side. Using the needle-nose pliers, remove the fuse labeled "fuel pump."

Relieve pressure on the fuel system by starting the vehicle and operating the engine until it will not restart. Place the fluid catch pan on the ground under the fuel filter to retain any spilled gasoline.

Locate the fuel filter, which is in the engine compartment, on the driver's side and in front of the brake master cylinder. Use both of the 17mm open-end wrenches to loosen and disconnect the top gas line on the fuel filter.

Loosen and remove the two bolts holding the fuel filter to the engine compartment using the 13mm wrench. A ratcheting wrench will allow you to remove the bolts in a more efficient manner.

Loosen and remove the bottom fuel line attached to the fuel filter with the 17mm open end wrench.

Attach the bottom of the new fuel filter to the bottom fuel line and tighten using the 17mm open end wrench. Verify the flow diagram on the side of he new fuel filter points upward.

Secure the fuel filter to the engine compartment with two 13mm bolts.

Reattach the top fuel line to the fuel filter using both 17mm open-end wrenches.

Remove the catch pan and dispose of any excess fuel in a proper manner. Replace the fuel pump fuse into the fuse panel.

Items you will need

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Fluid catch pan

  • 17mm open-end wrench (you'll need two of these)

  • 13mm wrench

 How to Replace a Fuel Filter in a Toyota Tundra

Relieve the fuel system pressure by first disconnecting the fuel pump connector near the fuel tank. Start the engine and let it run until it stops. When it stalls, crank the engine for a few seconds. Turn the ignition off.

Disconnect the negative battery cable. Disconnect the fuel lines from the fuel filter, and then take the fuel filter out.

Position the new filter with the arrow pointing in the direction the fuel flows, then secure it. Be sure to use new washers. Tighten the banjo bolt fittings to 21 ft-lbs., and tighten the flare nuts to 28 ft-lbs.

Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine of your Toyota Tundra, check for leaks, and repair as needed.

Items you will need

  • Wrenches

  • New fuel filter

  • Washers