How To Replace Your Vehicle’s Fuel Filter in 5 Easy Steps

How To Replace Your Vehicle's Fuel Filter

How To replace Your Vehicle’s Fuel Filter in 5 Easy Steps, Change Fuel Filter

Even the smallest piece of dirt can damage a fuel injector, resulting in erratic performance, poor gas mileage and, in some cases, complete engine shutdown. That’s why most car-care experts recommend replacing the fuel filter in your vehicle approximately every 16,000 kilometres—or once a year—for peak performance.

Most fuel-injected vehicles use a stainless steel in-line fuel filter located either ahead of the rear wheels on the underside of the vehicle or in the engine compartment. Since the majority of newer cars use electronic fuel-injection systems, this guide covers how to change a fuel filter in a fuel-injection system.

To change your fuel filter, you’ll need:

  1. Drive-on car ramps or jack stands (with sufficient capacity for vehicle weight).
  2. Depending on the location of your fuel filter, these may not be required
  3. Open-end wrenches designed for use with filter connections and pliers
  4. The correct replacement fuel filter for your specified vehicle and engine
  5. A supply of clean rags
  6. Safety glasses
  7. An approved container to catch spilled fuel

How To Replace Your Vehicle’s Fuel Filter in 5 Easy Steps

A couple tips before we get started: changing your fuel filter when you’re down to less than a quarter tank of fuel will make removing pressure from the fuel line easier. Also, make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area so combustible fumes don’t accumulate.

We can recommend a professional technician in your area if you’re not completely comfortable doing the job yourself, but if you are, here’s what you’ll do:

1. [Hood open]

  1. • First, you need to remove pressure from the fuel line. So remove your fuel pump fuse or relay. In this case, the relay is under the hood.

2. [Inside vehicle]

  1. • Start your engine and allow it to idle until it stalls. This may trigger your Check Engine Light.
  2. • Once it stalls, crank the engine again for about 5 seconds to release fuel pressure. This should relieve most of the pressure, but there could still be a little fuel that squirts or leaks when you detach the filter.
  3. • Turn the ignition back to the OFF position.

3. [Under hood]

  1. • Now, disconnect the battery ground cable, marked with a minus sign. Set it to the side and make sure it isn’t touching anything metal.
  2. • Raise and support your vehicle. In this case, we’ll be working in the rear.

4. [Under car]

  1. • Once you’ve located the filter, push the release buttons on either side that are holding it in place. Your model may have clips that require a quick-release tool or screwdriver to detach from the line. Be careful not to kink your fuel lines as you detach the filter—this can cause leaks.
  2. • It may be helpful to push the line into the filter while you’re trying to loosen the clips.
  3. • Have a drain pan of some kind in place under the filter to catch any fuel that’s left in the line or filter when you detach them. It’s also a good idea to have some rags handy. Some vehicles will leak continually until everything is reassembled.
  4. • Used automotive fluids are toxic and harmful to the environment and people. Used fuel is considered hazardous waste, so we can’t recycle it in our stores. Most communities have hazardous waste collection sites, so we suggest visiting your city or county website for details.
  5. • Loosen the clamp… then disconnect the fuel line fittings… and remove the filter.
  6. • Your old filter may or may not have an arrow indicating the direction fuel is flowing, but the new one should. The direction of fuel flow will always be toward the front of the vehicle.
  7. • Now, you’ll install the new filter. These are a few of the possible types of fittings you could see. Use the fittings that came with the filter to attach it to the fuel line… and secure the clamp to hold it in place.

5 [Under hood]

• Reinstall the fuel pump relay or fuse… and reattach the negative battery cable.

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