In older cars, the fuel filter is located in the engine bay, while in newer cars it’s found inside the fuel tank. In order to maintain optimum performance of the engine, one has to replace the filter as specified by the manufacturer.
The fuel filter is designed to filter out such impurities before it enters the engine so that your engine is utilizing only pure fuel. Over time, however, the fuel filter can become clogged and dirty with particulate matter.
Lack of engine power
When you start noticing instances such as decreased power when towing or going uphill, rough starts, shuddering idles, sluggish acceleration, chances are the filter is clogged and needs replacement as soon as a possible. Shortage of power in the engine is due to lack of enough fuel flow.
This is another clear indication of a blocked fuel filter. When the car is under hard acceleration, you will find the engine stalling due to lack of power in the gears.
Periodic Engine Failure
If you experience engine failure from time to time, the main reason could be due to a clogged fuel filter. Most of the cases it is experienced when the vehicle is loaded. This means that the extra fuel needed to give the extra power is not getting into the injectors.
Fuel filter maintenance
Modern vehicles have filters that can last to about 50,000 kilometres on paper. However noting our dusty Kenyan conditions, 25,000 kilometres is sufficient lifespan of a fuel filter. There are two types of filters, plastic and metal.
Plastic resin filters are used in smaller engine vehicles whose fuel pressure is not too high and are relatively cheaper. The metal type filters are used in engines that require high fuel pressure and are slightly expensive, with longer lifespans.
Ensure you purchase genuine fuel filters from an authorized dealer, as counterfeit parts don’t filter fuel properly.
In some instances, it may explode due to poor build quality and therefore increasing the chance of a fire hazard.
Apart from the replacement of fuel filter, one needs to also do the following;
Fuel Injector Servicing
The technician will disassemble the injectors and clean the holes with sharp needles to get rid of sludge and other impurities. This should be done after 50,000 kilometres, more so on diesel vehicles, due to Sulphur deposits.
Fuel pump servicing
Sometimes when power delivery is sluggish, the culprit could be the fuel pump. The mechanic will open up and clean up the pump and filtration system, to ensure there are no impurities jamming the fuel pump mechanism.
Jamming also causes electrical surge on the pump and sometimes the pump doesn’t dispense fuel at the required pressure hence loss of performance.
A fuel filter problem is a problem which can easily be underlooked. However, if not serviced, it may cause major problems. This is why regular servicing of the fuel filter is paramount.