Signs of a Fuel Filter Going Bad

by Dan C. Wheeler
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When the fuel filter in your car, which filters dirt and debris from the fuel before it can enter the engine, clogs up and does not function properly, the engine will experience numerous problems. People often misdiagnose fuel filter issues because they mimic other car problems. However, there a few warning signs of which you can be aware, and if you catch the problem early, you can prolong your engine life, increase your vehicle's fuel efficiency and save money on car repairs.

Engine Missing at Highway Speeds

A common warning sign that a fuel filter is going bad is that the engine will begin to miss at highway speeds because the fuel filter is clogged and is not allowing adequate fuel flow to the engine, according to As the engine misses, the engine will jerk. Often times, the engine will stutter for a few miles and then be fine for the next 30 miles or so. People will often assume this problem is either a bad spark plug or a transmission going bad when in fact it is a bad fuel filter.

Misfiring or Stalling on Acceleration

Another warning sign of a bad fuel filter is if you notice the vehicle losing power as you try to accelerate, according to As you press the accelerator and begin to pick up power, the car will suddenly seem like it loses power and appear as if it will die, but then the car will resume acceleration.

Difficulty Starting

An engine relies on fuel in order to start. If the fuel filter is clogged, it will not allow enough fuel to enter the engine, and therefore the engine will not crank at all. If the lights and power windows still work in your car but the engine will not turn over, there is a good chance the fuel filter is bad.

Loss of Power

With decreased fuel intake as a result of a clogged fuel filter, engine combustion is greatly reduced. As a result, you'll notice a loss of power in your vehicle because the bad fuel filter is hindering normal engine power output.

Erratic Idling

Another symptom of a bad fuel filter is when your vehicle jerks or makes a stuttering sound while idling. This is also a result of the engine having its fuel intake limited by a bad filter. Without adequate fuel for combustion, the engine will have a rough idle.

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