Your vehicles fuel filter can create some minor as well as serious problems for your engine if not replaced as needed. Stores like Auto Barn and Auto Parts 123 have affordable filters that fit any make and model of car, and they can easily be replaced. If you need some help determining if your fuel filter needs to be replaced, check out the information below.

Test the Fuel Filter

The only real way to test the fuel filter is to remove it from the vehicle and blow through it. If you notice very little resistance, then it is still fine. If you notice more than a light resistance, then it is most likely time for your filter to be replaced. Be sure that you do not get the filter too close to your mouth when doing this test; gasoline is poisonous and can burn sensitive skin. You can use a small hose to blow through to avoid direct contact with the filter.

Filter Problems

If your fuel filter is completely clogged, you could experience an engine that won’t start. The flow of fuel to the carburetor or the vehicle's injectors will be cut off if the filter is dirty and will cause an engine to either not start, or start and quickly stall out or die. If your filter is only partially clogged, there will be enough fuel allowed to pass through to keep the engine running at lower speeds or while idling. You may notice your vehicle running normally until you hit the highway at higher speeds. Usually you will notice a sputter and lack of power upon accelerating.

Spring Loaded Bypass Filters

While there are some advantages to the spring loaded bypass filters, there are down sides to them as well. These types will allow the fuel to bypass the filter if it is clogged. You may not have to deal with engines that won’t start, but you can expect that dirt will be carried to the carburetor or injectors which brings along a whole new set of problems.

Issues after Replacing Filter

If you are experiencing the issues mentioned above and you have replaced the clogged or dirty fuel filter with no help, you may have a larger issue at hand. The fuel tank has a mesh screen that acts as a pre-filter to keep dirt and other debris from entering the fuel tank. If the screen is clogged or damaged, then it cannot do its job and it could have allowed dirt, rust or other debris in your tank. If this is the case, you will have to remove the fuel tank to replace the screen.

How Often Should the Fuel Filter Be Replaced?

In most instances, a vehicle's fuel filter should be replaced every year--for preventive maintenance. Most of the car manufacturers do not specify when it should be replaced, or if they do, it is at very long intervals such as every 50,000 miles. If your vehicle is more than 6-years-old, you drive on dirt or gravel roads, or you buy cheap gas that contains alcohol in it, your filter should be replaced annually.