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The fuel filter cleans the fuel of particles and debris in the gas tank before it reaches the fuel pump. The gas tank can get rusted and retain moisture, causing the fuel to become contaminated. The fuel filter protects the engine from damage by making sure the fuel from the gas tank is clean. While the filter is not typically expensive, replacing it as recommended will prevent expensive auto repairs.
In some of the newer cars (made after 2005), the fuel filter is part of the fuel pump module and cannot be replaced. If the filter is clogged, it will eventually damage the fuel pump, which could be an expensive replacement. In diesel engine vehicles, this service is instead a fuel water separator replacement.
It’s a good idea to replace your fuel filter every 20,000 to 30,000 miles, or every two years, whichever comes first. You should also always have your filter inspected during routine maintenance intervals.
Your fuel filter is responsible for making sure that the gas that enters your fuel pump is free of debris and contamination. Gas can easily become contaminated in the gas tank, which often contains dust, dirt, metal shavings, rust, and other forms of contamination. When this gas is sent from the tank to the fuel pump, it first passes through the fuel filter to be rid of the contamination. If your fuel filter is broken, it won’t filter the gas. When contaminated gas comes into contact with the engine, it can cause a lot of damage, which can result in severe and expensive repairs down the road.