How to Change Your Fuel Filter-A Step-by-Step Guide


Many people underestimate the importance of changing their fuel filter and don’t replace them according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Unfortunately, neglect of this critical engine component can cause serious damage to the car’s engine. The fuel filter is responsible for catching large particles that may be present in the gasoline to prevent them from entering the engine. A clogged filter can keep the engine from running properly and may cause the fuel injectors to become clogged. Replacing the fuel filter on a yearly basis not only increases fuel efficiency, but also prevents damage to critical engine components.

Fortunately, the fuel filter is one of the cheapest parts to replace on a car. It is also a part that can be changed by just about anyone. Today, I am going to give you a step-by-step guide on changing your fuel filter that will save you the additional cost of having a mechanic do it for you.

What you will need:

Open-ended wrenches
Flat-head screwdriver
New fuel filter
Fuel filter washers
Old rag
Jack Stands

Step One: Relieve Your Engine’s Fuel Pressure

Modern fuel injection system are operated under high pressure. Since pressurized fuel is very explosive, releasing the pressure is the first step that you need to do before you take the old fuel filter off. This can be accomplished by locating the fuel pump fuse in your car’s fuse box. If you don’t have a fuel pump fuse, then locate the fuel pump relay that is usually located under the hood in the relay box. With the car running, pull out the fuse or relay. After you pull it out, the engine will quickly die. Your fuel lines are now depressurized and you can proceed to step two.

Step Two: Safety First

As an added safety precaution it is recommended that you remove the negative terminal of your battery. Since there is still gas present in the fuel filter and lines, this is an important step that far too many people neglect. Voltage from the battery can easily ignite the gasoline that will inevitably leak out from the lines while you are changing the filter, so always make sure that this step is completed before you move on to step three.

Step Three: Jack Up the Car

Most fuel filters are located on the underside of your car, so take your jack and jack up the car. Since you never want to work on a car that is supported only by a jack, now is the time to properly place your jack stands under the car and make sure that they are properly supporting the vehicle. You should also place wood chucks under the front wheels to make sure that the car doesn’t roll.

Step Four: Replace the Old Fuel Filter

Most cars have a protective covering over the fuel filter that must be removed before you can remove the filter itself. Remove this guard by using your flat-head screwdriver that holds the guard’s strap. Set the fuel filter guard aside. Next. find open-end wrenches the fit your car’s fuel filter fittings. In the majority of cases you will need two wrenches of different sizes. Place one wrench on the filter and the other wrench on the fitting. At this point you will want to place your rag over the fuel filter and line to keep fuel from spraying all over the place. Hold the wrench that is on the fuel filter while you turn the other wrench in a counter-clockwise manner to release the banjo-bolt. Once the fittings are removed, you can then remove the old fuel filter and discard it.

Step Five: Install the New Fuel Filter

Take your new fuel filter and carefully inspect it. There should be an arrow marked on it that shows which way it should be installed. This arrow should be facing toward the engine and away from the gas tank. When you have found the proper alignment it is now time to reattach the fuel lines and tighten the bolts down. Once the fuel filter has been reattached, reinstall the fuel filter guard.

Step Six: Finishing Up

Make sure that you clean up any gasoline that may have spilled during the process and lower the car off of the jack stands. You can know reinstall the fuel pump relay and reconnect the battery. Give your car a start and see if there is any leakage. You have now successfully changed your fuel filter and in the process not only saved a few dollars, but also extended the life of your engine.

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