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What Is a Fuel Filter?

A fuel filter is an integral component of a vehicle’s fuel system, protecting it from contaminants and allowing the engine to run cleanly and efficiently. The fuel filter screens dirt, sediment, contaminants, and even rust particles out of the fuel, preventing them from entering the injectors or other parts of the engine where they could cause damage. Dirt and debris can cause unnecessary wear and tear on injectors and other components.

Typically, the filter is positioned next to a car’s fuel pump. As it pumps gasoline or diesel out of the fuel tank, it passes through the filter to the injectors — or a carburetor for older vehicles.

Fuel filters must be replaced at regular intervals. Check your owner’s manual for the recommendation from the automaker on how often they should be swapped out. Also, it may be time to check the filter if your car is sluggish or hesitant during acceleration. Other signs of a potential filter problem include difficulty starting, excess vibration while idling or at cruising speed, or the vehicle shuts off for no reason.

Asking the dealer to replace it can cost upward of $200; however, the filter costs just about $50.

See also: Does My Car Need a New Fuel Filter? How Often Should I Change My Oil?

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