How to Check and Change Your Car’s Fuel Filter

How to Check and Change Your Car’s Fuel Filter

Feb 13, 2024

A car engine and fuel filter

The fuel filter is an integral part of the fuel supply system in your vehicle. Its purpose is to clean the fuel in your car before it reaches the engine. An unclogged filter prevents contaminants like dust, dirt, and rust from entering the combustion and fuel chambers by removing these particles. For this reason, it’s often useful to know how to check a fuel filter and change it if it’s necessary.

Most auto mechanics recommend changing the fuel filter every 24 months or 30,000 miles, depending on whichever comes first. However, various factors can influence how to change a fuel filter and how often this should be done.

For example, the lifespan of a fuel filter tends to vary according to the make and model of a car. Also, petrol filters take longer than diesel filters to get clogged so the replacement time differs. Keep reading to find out when your fuel filter may be clogged, and how to check and replace the device if it’s blocked.

Signs of a Clogged Fuel Filter

  • An engine that misfires: Oftentimes, a clogged fuel filter will cause the engine to misfire when the car is idling or during acceleration. In such circumstances, it can help to clean out the filter but it’s often better to know how to change the fuel filter. 
  • Difficulty Starting the Engine: If you turn your car key to crank the engine and it takes longer than it normally does to start, then there may be an issue with the fuel filter. 
  • Reduced Engine Performance: Understanding how the filter works can also help maintain your car’s engine performance. A clogged fuel filter generally causes low fuel pressure which results in a reduction in engine performance. This is often more noticeable when accelerating, particularly up a steep incline. If you know how to check a fuel filter, you’ll be more likely to notice signs and symptoms if it’s clogged.

Man checking fuel filter

Fuel Filter Replacement Test

You can know whether your fuel filter needs replacement simply by doing a straightforward blow test on the device. The tube indicating the flow direction of fuel into the filter is usually labeled. This is an essential part of knowing how to check and change a fuel filter if it’s necessary as the inlet part of the filter is the part you should blow into. If the fuel filter is unclogged, it should be relatively easy to blow into the filter without much difficulty. If the filter is plugged or clogged, it will be difficult or nearly impossible to blow into the device.

How to Change the Fuel Filter

If you have noticed signs of a clogged fuel filter in your car’s engine, then it may be time to consider having it replaced, either by yourself or a mechanic. Depending on which kind of vehicle you drive, the procedure can vary but it’s possible to complete the process on your own. It is, however, important to know how to change a fuel filter and practice extra caution as gasoline may start to leak once you open the fuel line.

If you understand how to check a fuel filter then you’ll probably agree that it’s best to read your car’s repair manual so you can know how to safely remove pressure in the fuel line before opening it. You will need hardware such as replacement hardware fuel clips, a replacement fuel filter, pliers, a flat screwdriver, and paper towels. Simply follow these steps:

  • Depressurize the fuel system: This can be done by removing the fuel relay or fuse and starting the engine.
  • Find the fuel filter: For most cars, the fuel filter is mounted on the vehicle's frame near the engine. If you’re unsure where it’s located or how to change a fuel filter safely, refer to your car’s service manual or contact a professional.
  • Remove the old filter: Once you’ve found the fuel filter, any mounting hardware or clamps attached to the fuel lines or fuel filter should be removed.
  • Put the new filter in place: Install the new fuel filter in the same place as the old filter, ensuring the fuel flows in the same direction as the old device. Tighten any nuts and clamps and ensure fuel lines are securely reattached.


The exact procedure for how to check a fuel filter can vary from one car to another so it’s important to know how to check for your specific make and model. If you know how to change a fuel filter, extra caution should still be practiced. At Lift Supports Depot, we specialize in finding the right gas springs and replacement parts for the specific make and model of your vehicle. Get rid of your headache now and let us find the right accessories for your car for when you’re replacing a filter or any lift struts on your car or truck.