Fuel filters can be considered the final defense to block particles that may be in the fuel from reaching and damaging the engine. Both high-pressure fuel injected systems with either diesel or gas fuel can all have additives or flecks of material that inadvertently get introduced into the system.
These particles can cause significant damage in a short period of time, making the fuel filter very important to overall vehicle performance. There are a few different types of fuel filters: those that are mounted under the vehicle in the firewall (called in-line fuel filters) and there are non-serviceable filters that are mounted inside the fuel tank itself (these may also be called “strainers”).
In general, fuel filters consist of pleated paper or a mesh screen that pull flakes of sediment as well as water in the case of a diesel engine, sorting these materials away from the fuel and ensuring that they do not enter the engine. They also should not be allowed back into the fuel tank to further contaminate the fuel, so they’re stored within the body of the filter itself.
Excellent fuel filters will need to be changed every 3-5 years, or when you’re getting a tune-up performed on your vehicle. In-line fuel filters are a little different in that the time between changes are set by your vehicle manufacturer.
Keeping your fuel filter working well means that you’re keeping potentially disastrous debris out of the gas or diesel fuel before it can cause lasting harm.
Fuel filters can be made from a variety of materials. Consult your vehicle manufacturer’s website or your vehicle manual before you make a decision which type of fuel filter that you need to move forward with.
There are different filters for carbureted and high-pressure fuel injected engines, so be sure you’re getting the correct version.
Fuel filters also vary by make and model of vehicle, so you will need to be careful when ordering.
Maintaining a well-preserved fuel filter will assure that your vehicle continues to run properly for years.
YourMechanic supplies top-quality fuel filters to our certified mobile mechanics. We can also install a fuel filter that you've purchased. Click here for a fuel filter replacement quote.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Fuel Filter and was authored by Valerie Johnston.