When people talk about routine maintenance greatly lengthening the life of a car, they are usually referring to simple services like replacing the fuel filter and changing the oil at regular intervals. Fuel is necessary to make the engine run, so in order to keep the fuel injectors, fuel pump, and fuel lines clean, a fresh fuel filter is required.
Most modern gas stations have very clean fuel, and there is a slight amount of filtering done by the filter around the fuel pump. Despite this, very small contaminants can get through. Since fuel injectors have such tiny openings, the fuel filter is used to remove even the smallest contaminants. A fuel filter will last about 2 years or 30,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.
- Flare nut wrench of the appropriate size
- Fuel line disconnect tool
- Protective gloves
- Safety glasses
- Wrench of the appropriate size
Part 1 of 2: Remove the fuel filter
Step 1: Locate the fuel filter. Generally, the fuel filter will be located under the vehicle on the frame rail or in the engine compartment near the firewall.
Step 2: Remove the gas cap. Remove the gas cap to relieve fuel system pressure.
Step 3: Disconnect the fuel lines. Use two wrenches to remove the fuel lines from the filter. Place an open-end wrench on the fuel filter fitting and a flare nut wrench on the fuel line fitting. Turn the fuel line fitting counterclockwise while holding the filter with the other wrench.
- Note: The method for disconnecting the fuel lines varies between vehicles. Some vehicles have quick connect fittings that must be removed with a special disconnect tool. Some have banjo fittings that are removed with a ratchet or wrench, and some have hose clamps that are removed with pliers or a screwdriver.
Step 4: Remove the fuel filter bracket mounting fasteners. Loosen and remove the fuel filter bracket mounting fasteners using a ratchet and appropriate sized socket.
Step 5: Remove the fuel filter. Once the fasteners have been removed and the mounting bracket is loose, slide the fuel filter out of the bracket. Discard the old filter.
Part 2 of 2: Install the new fuel filter
Step 1: Install the new fuel filter. Slide the new filter into the mounting bracket.
Step 2: Install the fuel filter bracket mounting fasteners. Loosely install the bracket mounting fasteners by hand. Tighten them until they are snug using a ratchet and appropriate sized socket.
Step 3: Reinstall the fuel lines. Thread the fuel lines in by hand. Place an open-end wrench on the fuel filter fitting and a flare nut wrench on the fuel line fitting. Turn the fuel line fitting clockwise until it’s snug while holding the filter with the other wrench.
Step 4: Reinstall the gas cap. Replace it now so you don’t forget to do it before driving the car.
Step 5: Test the vehicle. Start the vehicle and check for leaks. If you find any, recheck the fuel filter, fuel lines and all fittings to make sure everything is secure.
That’s what it takes to replace your fuel filter. If this seems like a job you’d prefer to leave to a professional, the team at YourMechanic offers expert fuel filter replacement at the location of your choice.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Change a Fuel Filter and was authored by Mia Bevacqua.