How to Replace a Fuel Filter on a Honda Civicby Richard Rowe
Changing a fuel filter is just one of those little preventative maintenance items that slips most owner's minds. Honda recommends changing the filter at least every 30,000 miles; while that might seem like a bit of an inconvenience, Honda has at least given you the courtesy of making the job fairly straightforward. The following applies specifically to seventh-generation (2001 through 2005) Civics, but the basics will apply to most cars of other generations.
Depressurize the fuel system. This is fairly simple, like running your car out of gas. Open the glove compartment, remove the tabs that keep it from swinging all the way down and then pull it down to expose the relays. Look at the relay diagram and pull the relay marked "Fuel Injection System." This will deactivate the fuel pump. Start the car and allow it to idle until the engine dies.
Remove the negative battery cable and find the fuel pump unit. The rear seat secures to the chassis using four large clips: two on the left and two on the right. Pull up on the bottom section of the seat, and the clips will come loose to release the seat. You'll see a metal cover secured to the floor-board by four Phillips-head screws. Remove it and you'll see the top of the fuel pump unit.
Unclip the wiring harness from the fuel pump and move the metal cover fully away from the unit. Note the plastic locking ring around the pump unit. Wrap the tip of a large, flat-head screwdriver with a rag to prevent sparking against the tank, then push that tip against one of the notches in the locking ring. Tap the screwdriver handle with a hammer to turn the ring counterclockwise.
Wrap a rag around the fuel-line's quick-disconnect fitting and unplug the line from the pump and leave a rag wrapped around it to reduce fuel vapor influx from the line. Pull the locking ring all the way off of your pump. Apply a gentle upward pressure to the unit and pull it out.
Disassemble the fuel pump unit to replace the filter. Start by unclipping any harnesses from the top of the unit, and unclip the joints at the unit base that hold the top on. Unclip the top section of the base that holds the fuel pump as well as the white, plastic "basket" that surrounds the pump. Unclip the next power harness. Be careful not to damage the white plastic collar around the pump outlet.
Use a flat-head screwdriver to pop the washer off the back of the pump unit and remove the nasty old sock-type fuel filter. Push the new filter back onto the pump and install the new washer provided with your fuel filter onto the filter post.
Reassemble everything in the reverse order of removal. All the harnesses are one-way, so there aren't too many ways to go wrong, assuming you haven't lost or damaged anything. The only tricky part is making sure that the black rubber seal inside the tank hole is in place before you install the pump. Run your finger around the seal to make sure that it's set. Install the plastic locking ring while pushing down on the unit, or it'll pop back up.
Re-install the fuel line first, then the electrical connections. You don't want a static-electric spark to ignite any fuel vapor built up in the vehicle or around the tank line. Reinstall the cover, reinstall the pump relay and drop the battery terminal back on. Turn the ignition key to the "on" position, wait for 5 seconds for the lines to pressurize, then turn it off again. Turn the switch back on, give it another 5 seconds and start the car.
- "Haynes Repair Manual: Honda Civic 2001 through 2004, Honda CR-V 2002 through 2004"; Haynes Publishers; 2006
- If you have an original washer in good condition, you may be able to reuse it in place of a new washer with pits or scratches. The two top washers you use don't have to be the same thickness.
Things You'll Need
- Philips head screwdriver
- Large flat screwdriver
- Small flat screwdriver
- Needle-nosed pliers
- Disposable rags
- Some fuel may squirt out of the filter when you loosen the top nut. Don't smoke or have open flames around and keep some paper towels handy to soak up fuel spills.
Richard Rowe has been writing professionally since 2007, specializing in automotive topics. He has worked as a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic, a rigger at a fire engine factory and as a race-car driver and builder. Rowe studied engineering, philosophy and American literature at Central Florida Community College.