Monday 27th of April 2015 08:02:49 PM

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Clogged fuel filter will choke your engine

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Last week, we looked at the usefulness of the oil filter this time; we shall closely look at the fuel filter. Fuel from the pump may look clean while using the normal eye. However when you use a piece of cloth to tramp impurities in fuel before it goes into the tank, you will know how impure it is. Whenever we go for the periodical servicing, the technicians at the service bays tell us to change the fuel filter. It is important to ensure that your fuel filter is changed because many times, technicians, in the professional workshops, they do not change the filters even after charging you highly in the name of genuine parts. While the management in such places may not know; the technicians do it and get away with it.

A quality fuel filter should minimumly hold dirt for at least 20,000 km. Those which are normally submerged in the tank are made of materials that will make them sustain twice that mileage or even more. They are more expensive but the tank is not as easily accessible for minor maintenance; thus the mileage interval.

The fuel filter will normally warn the motorist if it requires to be replaced. A clogged fuel filter will stop the engine by choking off the flow of fuel to the injector or the carburetor. While the engine may start, it will easily stall. If the filter is partially clogged, it will usually allow enough fuel to keep the engine running at idle or slow speeds, but will definitely starve the engine at higher speeds. The problem manifests itself when on highways where you need more fuel at high speed.

Most vehicle designs now have a fuel filter fitted inside the tank, with a pre filter made of a mesh which will normally keep away rust and big pieces of dirt from entering the electric fuel pump. Should this screen become clogged (as indeed it will) with time, the effect will be the same as a clogged fuel filter. Where the vehicle has a fuel starvation problem and the fuel filter has been replaced, this is the likely culprit.  However, a smart technician will most likely clean the pre-filter in the tank and bill you for the replacement of an electric fuel pump.

Fuel filters on EFI engines are normally larger with a finer filter element. Do not go for the smaller/cheaper ones and should you replace it with one, the output may not be as good. In some cases, the fuel filter is part of the electric pump assembly in the tank. If it is due for change, be good to yourself and have it changed.

The car will behave differently if you changed the direction of flow of the fuel. If the pump has an arrow, it should be installed with the arrows pointing towards the engine.


Comments (8)Add Comment
mechanical engineer(automobile)
written by levi, June 12, 2009
your analysis is good. For genuine work,go to workshops of repute to avoid poor quality work, also the enviroment under which your vehicle operates and the source of your fuel(where you buy your fuel,is it from streets or gazetted fuel stations for cleanliness of fuel!) will determine when to service the fuel system too.
written by kim, August 06, 2009
My car wont start. everybody that has looked at it says that it sounds like its not getting any gas. sometimes when i am driving the engine will just quit sometimes it will start up immediately and sometimes it wont. there have been times where i have not driven the car in a couple of days and when i go to start my car it wont turn over but sounds like it wants to. i have had the gaskets replaced on the engine, i had new spark plugs put in, i had a new coil put in, and the battery is good. could it be that the fuel filter is clogged? help me. p.s. there is also some yellow stuff in my oil as well i have been told that is antifreeze how can this happen and can it stop my car from starting. also can having too much oil in your car keep if from starting too?
Er. mechanical
written by vasudev gupta, June 20, 2012
You say fuel filter must be changed after 20000km running. You are exactly right. On 17/6 My car AStar Maruti stopped on the highway twice. Ultimately it was found on a service centre that fuel filter was choked. When I comlained to authorised service centre of Maruti who regular service my vehicle simply said that we have not changed it as per norms of Maruti it must be changed at 40000mileage. My car had covered 19000 when it was serviced last by them. Fuel filter choked at 24000km mileage. Shuould it not be changed by them at right time .
Vasudev gupta
written by Richard, September 18, 2013
Vehicle filters are one of the most neglected maintenance items in a motor vehicle. A clogged fuel filter will stop the engine by choking off the flow of fuel to the injector or the carburetor. Engine is an important part of a vehicle, so proper maintenance of engine can increase the longevity of the car.
written by Donald, September 24, 2013
Overheating is a very common motor vehicle problem. Over-heating occurs when some parts of an engine are kept running all the time when they possibly. So it is important to observe how the engine’s cooling fan is working. Proper balance should be maintained
written by Bretlle, September 25, 2013
A clogged fuel filter will stop the engine by choking off the flow of fuel to the injector or the carburetor. A quality fuel filter should minimally hold dirt for at least 20,000 km. Proper maintenance of clogged fuel filter can increase the efficiency of the engine.
written by Brettle, September 30, 2013
Fuel filter is an important part of a vehicle. Fuel filters on EFI engines are normally larger with a finer filter element. Do not go for the smaller or cheaper ones and should you replace it with one, Proper maintenance of fuel filter can increase fuel efficiency.
written by MAHESH PULIANI, April 21, 2015
Is it possible that fuel filter gets choked hardly after running of around 3700 kms. Further is there possibility of dust particles in the petrol tank where the vehicle has hardly been driven and every time petrol is filled up from a regular running petrol pump.

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