Who doesn’t love a good vehicle that starts and runs smooth as butter? But what if it does not function properly with its engine misfiring to check the engine light coming on?

You cannot drink dirty water straight from a pond, right?


Because it has germs!

The same thing is for fuel that we use for our cars, which luckily passes through a filter before it reaches the engine.

And what if we tell you that your fuel filter has gone bad?

It will create a lot of problems for your car and you!

Wondering, how to fix your fuel filter in your car?

Then, you have reached the right website!

Thankfully, in this know-how guide, we will look at how to get your fuel filter replaced or clean it at home in detail.

But first, let us discuss what are the signs that your fuel filter is bad to help you understand why you should replace a clogged one.

So, let’s talk about some common bad fuel filter symptoms in the next subtopic.


Source: Cash Car Buyer

There are several reasons for your car’s fuel filter to get damaged. So below, we have listed few signs that should not be ignored:

1. You See A Drop In Engine Performance

The first notable sign of a clogged fuel filter is bad engine performance. This symptom is most noticeable while hauling a load, accelerating, or heading up a steep incline.

Wanna know how it happens?

It is due to ECM, which notices a lack of fuel being delivered to the injectors and restricts power any damage.

However, this doesn’t mean the main culprit here is a clogged fuel filter, or you may not see the symptoms under normal driving conditions, but it does suggest it is.

Want to know what does a bad fuel filter sound like?

Many times, a clogged fuel filter might even cause the engine to randomly sputter, surge, or hesitate. Various car owners have also noticed that their dirty filter has caused the engine to stutter or shake at different speeds.

Some have even complained that their engine released a cranky, knocking, or ticking noise.

2. You Are Unable To Start Your Car

You are about to go on a road trip with your partner, but your car won’t start!

You may wonder, what is the cause of this issue?

Well, there are many reasons, such as an issue with the alternator, a dead battery, or a bad spark plug. But there is also a high chance of not enough fuel flowing to your car’s combustion chambers.

Later, a pressure test will reveal low PSI that indicates if it’s something in your fuel, such as a bad fuel filter, clogged injectors, or a faulty fuel pump filter.

Similar to the previous symptom, you might hear a cranking sound before the engine starts. It usually happens when you don’t change your fuel filter, and that causes dirt to accumulate. Later on, it can cause erratic fuel flow.

Though your car engine not starting is not the first symptom of a clogged fuel filter, make sure to check if it matches with other symptoms below.

If it is so, then you are lucky because this reason is way cheaper than the other reasons mentioned below.

3. Your Car Engine Stalls

Suppose a person is driving down the road and the car suddenly dies, but luckily it did not cause an accident.

Has this happened to you as well?

If yes, then you need to check out the cause behind it immediately.

The engine abruptly ceases for three seasons, and they are

  • Not getting enough air
  • Lack of fuel
  • Lack of energy or power

While keeping this in mind, it should come as no surprise to you if there is not enough fuel reaching the engine.

Similar to the previous two signs, your engine might crank up but the issue might get worse when you are tackling or accelerating a steep incline.

And sometimes, the fuel delivery might become more sporadic and stall your engine repeatedly. It could be a clear warning of your car’s dirty fuel filter. 

If you see your filter is completely clogged, then it is time for you to replace it as soon as possible.

There are many other causes of the engine to stall, so do not forget to have a look at the other symptoms below.

4. The Car’s Engine Random Misfires or Rough Idle

Source: Car Care Total

Generally, your car’s engine may misfire when there is an issue in one of the combustion chambers that causes it to skip one step.

There are many other causes as well which include a bad camshaft sensor, a faulty ignition coil, or worn spark plugs.

Besides, a clogged fuel filter can cause low fuel pressure that leads to engine misfire and later leads to poor fuel mileage, cause the check engine light to appear or rough idling.

Why does it happen?

It happens when you are demanding more from your poor car, such as going up a steep hill, towing a load, or stepping on the gas.

If you see any of these signs, then my friend, it is time for a trip to the car repair shop. 

5. Fuel System Part Failures

Is your car engine being noisy and acting like a bad toy lately?

If yes, then the restricted fuel filter is the cause!

If the fuel filter is clogged, it won’t allow the right amount of fuel to reach the engine.

Later on, the fuel pump will compensate for the filter and put undue pressure on itself, causing it to fail prematurely.

If the contaminants pass through the dirty fuel filter, they can leak or cause damage to the fuel injector. Thus, it might lead to all sorts of engine drivability issues.

So replacing the clogged fuel filter won’t be heavy on your budget and get you back on the road.

6. The Check Engine Light Appears

Do you have a love and hate relationship with your car engine?

If yes, then welcome to the hood, mate!

It also means that your car repair bill is kept somewhere near you, but it also ensures that things don’t worsen when damage occurs.

Sometimes, a check engine light illuminates for various reasons, and one of them is a clogged fuel filter.

If you own a new version of the car, then count yourself lucky because your vehicle might feature built-in pressure sensors that will reveal specific code when there is an issue in the car’s fuel system.

If you don’t, then taking your vehicle to the local car repair shop is the best way to identify the root cause of the problem.

Did your car’s fuel filter symptoms match up with any of our signs mentioned in the list?

Then don’t ignore these things or take it lightly and replace the old college fuel filter with a new one!

If the money is not an issue for you, then the replacement of fuel filter cost will be between $50 to $150 at a repair shop.

But if you don’t have much cash to get it replaced, and decide to tackle it at home, then you can try out an easy and inexpensive way to fix it.


If you have decided to replace fuel filters yourself, let us remind you that it is a tricky job. A lot of work needs to be done, and you will require materials as well. You will also have to ask a friend to lend you tools.

However, the first thing you will need is a new filter, and if you don’t know what kind of filter your car has, you can ask any auto parts shop owner.

Once you have everything you need, with the help of the car owner’s manual, you will have to locate where your fuel filter is.

Done with the pre-fuel filter replacing work?

Now let’s get into some real action!

Below, we have explained step-by-step ways to replace a fuel filter:

Step 1: Firstly, relieve the pressure in the fuel line before disconnection. To disconnect it, you will need to disable the electric fuel pump before starting your car engine.

Step 2: To disable the fuel pump, you will have to follow the mentioned instructions:

  • Remove the fuel pump fuse from the fuse box when the engine is off.
  • Ensure that your car is in Neutral or Park and the parking brake is on, and then start the engine.
  • Though it won’t be able to run long after you start it up, it will reduce the pressure in the fuel lines.
  • Now, turn off your engine.
  • Your fuel pump is disabled, so now it is time to disconnect the fuel liner from the fuel.

You aren’t done yet, so keep calm and continue your work.

Step 3: Before disconnection, have a look at the old and the new filter.

Step 4: In both the filters, you will see a stamped arrow in a direction from where the fuel flows through it.

If in case the new filter doesn’t have one, then don’t worry, just see in what direction the old filter is installed. That way, you will be able to identify which end of the new filter goes where.

Step 5: Remove anything that is holding the old filter in place.

Step 6: Now, replace it with the new filter in the same position.

Step 7: Remove everything that was holding the old filter and replace it with the new parts and check if it’s secure.

Step 8: In the fuse box, replace the fuse for the fuel pump.

Step 9: In the final step, make sure that your car is in Neutral or Park, and the parking brake is on. Now, start the car engine and see if there are any leaks around the filter.

Follow these steps carefully, but before you begin, make sure to read the above steps thoroughly.

If before the replacement, you would like to try out the cleaning method, then do check out the next section of this read.


Source: Car Repair Lab

Even a small particle can clog your carburetor or fuel injection line. To keep your fuel filter spotless, you will have to clean it regularly.

Don’t know how to do it?

Then, here you will learn how to clean the fuel filter!

We have mentioned some simple steps to keep your vehicle functioning and best in shape:

Step 1: Find the fuel filter when the file line comes into the fuel injector or carburetor. It is a plastic canister or a small metal kept into the line.

Step 2: On both the entrance and exit hose, screw the hose clamps four inches away onto the fuel line.

Now, tighten it with a flat-head screwdriver. Then, shut the hose with clamps to stop gasoline from spraying.

Step 3: Now, unscrew the hose clamps after putting a jar under the fuel filter. While unscrewing the clamps, pull the hose from the filter and dump the excess gas into the jar.

Once the filter is free of the hoses, make sure to empty the gas from the filter into the jar.

Step 4: Hold and point one of the filter’s ends into the jar, then attach small red straw that you get with the B-12 Chem Tool. Let everything spray into the jar and repeat it with both ends of the filters.

Step 5: Now, turn the screwdriver and tap the fuel filter or tap the fuel filter gently on a surface. 

Step 6: Use the B-12 Chem Tool Spray to blast the filter. Then, let your filter dry for an hour.

Step 7: In the final step, reattach the fuel filter to the fuel lines.

And Boom! Your fuel filter will become spotless clean!


1. Will a bad fuel filter throw a code?

Yes, a bad fuel filter will throw an error code related to lean engine running or low fuel pressure.

2. What happens if fuel filter is not changed?

If a clogged fuel filter fix is not done on time, then it will cause an erratic fuel flow and lead to more cranking while starting the car engine.

3. Where is the fuel filter?

The fuel filter is located under the car near your fuel tank. Some cars also have a fuel filter in the filter screen or fuel pump inside the fuel tank.


Everybody hates having a car that is trying to keep up, right? So rather than avoiding it, try to tackle it head-on, and fix it with the help of our simple guide. If you find your car stalling, if an engine light appears, has trouble starting, then before fixing it, first rush to your nearby repair shop and ask them to perform a fuel pressure test or use an OBD2 scanner to find if the fuel system is the real issue or not.

Good luck!

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