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.Â 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.
written by vasudev gupta, June 20, 2012
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written by Brettle, September 30, 2013