How to Replace a Fuel Filter

by Dan Ferrell

Fuel filters are like the quality control inspector at the beginning of an important process: the optimal operation of your car’s engine. Gasoline filters keep water, corrosion, dirt and other possible contaminants from entering and causing havoc to the fuel system, including injectors, pressure regulator, hoses and throttle body. It is very easy to forget that we need to change the fuel filter every year or at the manufacturer's recommended intervals, when they begin to clog and hinder fuel flow. Here we will go through the simple steps needed to replace the filter in your own vehicle. Save this guide with your car maintenance schedule; in turn, it will save you from expensive repairs down the road. So let’s begin.

Lift the hood of your vehicle and locate the fuel filter. Trace the fuel line from the fuel injectors or carburetor unit in the engine compartment. Some vehicles have the filter installed near the fuel tank, underneath and along the passenger side.

Relieve the fuel pressure from the fuel line. Consult your vehicle service manual if necessary.

Look at the hose fittings on both sides of the fuel filter. Some rubber hose lines come with clips that can be detached with needle-nose pliers or screwdriver; others use a quick-connect fitting that can be removed by slightly pressing the tabs with a pair of pliers and pulling the hose. If the fuel line is a threaded type, use a flare-nut wrench to loosen the nut. If your vehicle is a late model, it probably comes with snap-type fittings, so use a fuel line fitting tool to disengage the fuel line from the filter.

Remove the screws, bracket or plastic rivets that secure the filter to the vehicle. Plastic rivets can be replaced with sheet metal screws.

Position the new filter. Make sure the filter inlet, marked “In,” is connected to the line coming from the fuel tank.

Secure the filter to the vehicle with the bracket or screws.

Attach the fuel lines to the filter using the clips, quick-connect or nut.

Tip

  • check Consult your vehicle owner’s or service manual if you cannot find the fuel filter in your car.

Warnings

  • close Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when working with the car’s fuel system and away from appliances with open flames like dryers or water heaters.
  • close Do not allow smoking near your vehicle when working in your car’s fuel system.
  • close Wipe clean fuel spills immediately using shop rags.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.