Taking up the maintenance of our car is essential if we want to avoid breakdowns in the future. Save in this aspect expensive. The preventive care of our vehicle is the one that tries to prevent investigations, and the most common operations are:
- The change of oil.
- Replacing the spark plugs or changing the various filters of the car, from the air from the motor to the passenger compartment.
- Passing through the gasoline filter.
Where is the fuel filter located?
Today we will treat everything related to the gas filter of our cars. Often, less attention is given to him, which translates into quite expensive breakdowns that can affect other elements of the fuel injection system. The function of the gas filter is simple, prevent the impurities that may have in the fuel tank reach our injection system or our engine trapping them inside.
In one way or another, all cars with gasoline engines equip a fuel filter. The diesel engines also have a filtering element for fuel, but it is different, and we will treat it on another occasion.
What are the fuel filter faults?
The fuel filter is that part that you seldom give importance to, but it plays an essential role in your vehicle. Without the filter, the fuel that passes through the pump and the injection system could be contaminated by any dirt, causing damage and reducing the vehicle’s performance. When you load fuel, you expose the tank to the open air, where particles (smaller or larger) and water will inevitably enter. In addition, the fuel could be contaminated by an external agent from the service station.
To ensure that the fuel reaches the engine clean and works properly, you need to change the filter periodically, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations in its maintenance guideline. This will efficiently trap particles, debris, and impurities. Above all, fuel filter if you have a modern gasoline car. This is because today’s injection systems work at enormous pressures and with micrometric tolerances, so a minimal impurity or residue in the fuel would cause costly damage, especially to the injectors or the pump.
Fuel filter failures
While impurities could cause severe vehicle damage, this is not necessarily the case. Several fuel filter failures can occur, and these are some of them:
High CO₂ emissions
Even if debris does not pass through the filter, it can also build up and form a layer of dirt that obstructs fluid flow, leading to insufficient fuel supply. This causes an improper mixture of air and fuel, triggering poor combustion. And, of course, this lousy combustion generates CO2 emissions that are harmful to health and the environment.
Difficulties in starting
Similar to the previous case, a dirty filter can restrict the flow of the fuel system or at least make it inconsistent, causing the car to experience difficulty starting. This is more likely to happen if the vehicle’s filter has never been changed.
Engine performance problems
It also happens that if you have a very dirty or clogged fuel filter, it will generate several engine problems. Maintaining or replacing the filter helps increase vehicle performance. Some of the main failures are the following:
- Ignition problems or hesitation, as not enough gasoline arrives
- Engine jerks or stutters due to inconsistent fuel flow.
- Jams are generated in the motor.
- Decrease in power and acceleration.
Engine light comes on.
The obstruction in the fuel filter can generate low pressure in the system (in case you have sensors), and when detected, the check engine light turns on to alert you of what is happening. It will not always be about the filter, but if it is, you must take the corresponding measures to avoid significant problems.
Damage to the fuel pump
At the same time, a clogged fuel filter can put too much pressure on the fuel pump, causing damage to it and preventing the proper amount of fuel from reaching the engine.
How often to change fuel filter?
It is advisable to check the owner’s manual, where the manufacturer indicates an approximate time, and in which mileage maintenance guide it is advisable to make this change. However, some recommend changing it in the middle of its useful life.
In general, manufacturers recommend changing it between 50,000 km and 70,000 km traveled, although the lifetime could be extended to a few thousand kilometers more. Anyway, it is best not to skimp on expenses since it is a not so expensive component and essential for the operation of your vehicle. For more information on this, remember to always check with your technical service.