How to Replace a Car's Inline Fuel Filter

a car's inline fuel filter
  • 2-3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 10-25
What You'll Need
New fuel filter
Open end wrenches
Needle nose pliers or screwdriver
Eye protection

The inline fuel filter is the device responsible for cleaning the fuel that goes inside your engine. Most often, car owners don’t pay attention to it until they experience power loss and difficult acceleration. This can be a symptom of a dirty inline fuel filter. Here are the steps on how to change the filter yourself.

Step 1 – Prepare the Vehicle

Find a well-ventilated place, preferably under a shade and away from fire. If you're working inside a garage, open the doors. Have a fire extinguisher ready, and wear your eye protection.

Relieve pressure from the fuel supply line by loosening the tank cap and holding a cloth over the pressure test port and depressing valve core. If you don't relieve the pressure, pressurized gasoline will squirt all over you when you remove the old in-line filter.

If your car is equipped with a fuel valve, shut it off. The fuel valve is usually located under the tank, where the fuel line is attached. If a fuel valve is not present, clamp the fuel line using a fuel line clamp.

Step 2 – Remove the Old Fuel Filter

Filters are usually mounted using hose clamps or metal clips. Hold the filter using a rag. Use needle nose pliers or screw drivers, whichever is applicable, to remove the filter. Carefully remove the filter. Wipe any gasoline spills around the fuel line and fuel filter.

Step 3 - Inspect the Old Fuel Filter

Shake the old filter over a clean rag to remove any remaining fuel inside, and wipe away any residue from the outside of the filter.

Inspect the residual fuel that came from the inside. Look for debris and grit. Possible sources of these foreign bodies are dirty fuel, old/rusting tank, and old, clogged fuel line.

After shaking all the residual fuel out, look inside through one end. Check how dirty the pleated paper or the mesh screen is.

Step 4 – Install the New In-line Fuel Filter

The direction in which the fuel will flow is marked with a directional arrow on the side of filter. Install it accordingly. If the directional arrow is not present, the larger hole is usually the one from the fuel tank, and the smaller is going towards the engine.

Tighten the hose clamps or metal clips. Be careful not to overtighten it, as you might crack the fuel filter fittings.

Step 5 - Prime the Fuel System

Tighten the fuel cap. Switch the key to the ON position and back repeatedly. The fuel pump will repressurize the fuel system. Watch out for gasoline leaks coming from the fuel filter. Retighten the clamp if necessary.

Step 6- Start the Engine

A fresh, new inline fuel filter ensures that the fuel delivered to your engine is clean. A new filter will offer less obstruction in the fuel system, which results to faster fuel delivery.

Change the fuel filter regularly, typically every 5,000 to 15,000 km, to prevent loss of power and to prolong your engine life.