Symptoms of a Clogged Fuel Filter in a Diesel Car

by Horacio Garcia
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Auto Engine image by Andrew Breeden from

The symptoms of a clogged fuel filter in a diesel car show up in the way an automobile starts or runs during acceleration. The fuel filter is a fuel system component through which diesel fuel passes, cleaning debris from the fuel and trapping it inside or by the fuel filter. This filtering of debris builds up in the fuel filter over time, causing the fuel filter to clog.

Diesel Engine Does Not Start

A good sign or symptom the fuel filter is clogged in a diesel car is the car will not start when the ignition is turned. The diesel car acts as though it is out of gas; the diesel engine turns over, but does not start. The clogged fuel filter is preventing gasoline from flowing into the injectors to enable the diesel engine to fire up. The first thing a diesel car owner must check is the quantity of fuel in the vehicle. If there is plenty of fuel in the gas tank, then the fuel filter is the most likely culprit.

Diesel Engine Misses Out

A sure symptom of a clogged fuel filter is the diesel car will start missing out during acceleration. The fuel filter collects small particles of debris which flow through the fuel line. When the fuel filter begins to collect too many particles, the fuel filter does not allow enough diesel fuel to flow into the engine while it is operating. The diesel car begins to jerk and jump during acceleration because the fuel filter is beginning to become clogged.

Rough Idle

A diesel engine will begin to idle roughly and act as though the engine is going to stall when the fuel filter is clogged. Once the diesel car is started and allowed to run for a while to warm up the engine, the diesel car owner will notice the engine sounds like it is choking. The engine will event stall and not start up again if the fuel filter is clogged. The engine can even begin to shake while the car is idling because not enough fuel is getting into the fuel injectors.

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