Generally speaking there’s not a lot of dirt in the fuel supply, but there is enough it needs to be screened it out. The problem actually gets worse the older your vehicle becomes. That’s because dirt, rust and contaminates will settle out of the fuel and onto the bottom of the fuel tank. After a car is five years or older, it can actually have a fair amount of sediment built up.
This means the fuel filter has to work harder as your vehicle ages. It’ll get clogged sooner and need to be replaced more often. Unfortunately external fuel filters have been removed from most cars, but does still exist in the fuel tank
A symptom of a clogged fuel filter is the engine sputters at highway speeds or under hard acceleration. That’s because enough fuel is getting through, but when you need more fuel for speed, enough just can’t get through the filter. Obviously, that could be dangerous if your car or truck can’t get enough power to get you out of harm’s way.
For just this reason, fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter is severely clogged, some fuel can bypass the filter all together. Of course means dirty, unfiltered fuel is getting through to be burned in the vehicle engine.
This dirt can then clog and damage your fuel injectors. Now injectors are not cheap to replace, so you don’t want to cause them damage just because you didn’t spend a few bucks to replace a fuel filter.
Depending on the age of your vehicle, replacing the fuel filter is relatively inexpensive. Unfortunately most filters are in the fuel tank on vehicles past 2005, making replacement expensive.
My quick tip here – if you see the tanker truck at the filling station, keep driving. When the tanker is filling the underground tanks, the sediment and water is stirred into the gasoline from the bottom of the holding tank.
As Always “Service With A Smile”
All advice and information is free to try completely at owners risk.