Fuel filter maintenance

Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
502
Location
Canada
Whats your take on fuel filter replacements? If my vehicle has an external fuel filter I always change them around 50k (km). With the high price of replacement for in tank fuel pumps and injectors it seem silly to me to neglect a $5-30 part that only needs to be changed once every few years for most people. The crud that often pours out the inlet when changing makes me cringe yet I still hear so many people say "what a waste of good money" or "they are all good for life" or "I'll never change mine unless it plugs or gives me trouble" For $30 bucks and 30 minutes it sure seems like cheap insurance on a possible $1000 fuel pump. The filter on my wife's Alero is under $5....
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
446
Location
NV
Are fuel pumps really that expensive? I change mine based on my fuel pressure gauge. It's usually good for at least 20k miles and that's with diesel (prone to more dirt and grime than gas).
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Messages
12,385
Location
Northern CA
[quote=Rabbler]Whats your take on fuel filter replacements? If my vehicle has an external fuel filter I always change them around 50k (km). With the high price of replacement for in tank fuel pumps ...{/quote] Please explain how that helps in tank fuel pumps.
 
Joined
Jul 3, 2005
Messages
36,262
Location
NY
I change my external fuel filters every 2 years, basing it on time and not miles. For $10 for a filter I think it's a good investment.
 
Joined
Oct 23, 2008
Messages
385
Location
Montreal, canada
just like the owners manual said: every 100k miles. So I changed it once already on my 05. With my former car, a chrysler intrepid (canadian), I never changed it even after 250k miles.
 
Joined
May 10, 2005
Messages
2,482
Location
Toronto, Canada
 Originally Posted By: XS650
[quote=Rabbler]Whats your take on fuel filter replacements? If my vehicle has an external fuel filter I always change them around 50k (km). With the high price of replacement for in tank fuel pumps ...{/quote] Please explain how that helps in tank fuel pumps.
I thought it was pretty obvious. Clogged filter = more pressure drop across filter = more pressure generated by pump to maintain regulated pressure in fuel rail = harder working pump.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2003
Messages
11,573
Location
Florida, Cape Coral
Good major gas stations change their 5 micron fuel filter every XXXX gallons of fuel. I think cut-rate stations are less reliable in that regard. I change external filter per owners manual and in-tank only if a problem developers, which it never has in 125,000 + miles.
 
Joined
Feb 25, 2003
Messages
2,703
Location
Lincoln, NE
We bought our Malibu very used with 150k miles on it. Must have had the factory fuel filter on it - it was very clogged, and lots of nasties came out the in side. Since replacing it, the noisy fuel pump has quieted down quite a bit. I have no doubt that new filter took a little load off that pump; especially in return fuel-line applications, where the fuel circulates. (correct me if I'm wrong tho). FWIW I replace them every 50k or so. I would probably leave an in-tank filter there for life.
 
Joined
Oct 2, 2008
Messages
1,007
Location
Dallas, TX
I changed the fuel filter on my 92 S-10 2.8 at 85,000. The fuel that drained out the inlet was dark brown. Can't help but believe that this made life easier for the pump. I wouldn't rely on fuel suppliers to maintain the cleanliness of their gas. If you have an easily accessible external filter, crawl under there and have a bonding experience with your vehicle.
 
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
3,358
Location
Maryland
 Originally Posted By: panthermike
My MarkVIII and my brother's F150 both say 30K miles.
My Marauder's owner's manual says to change it at 25,000 miles.
 
Joined
Sep 5, 2006
Messages
19,479
Location
Chicago Area
Changing the filter after the pump does not save the pump. The pump has already passed any debris on to the filter. And it won't save your injectors, either. The crud is stopped from getting to them by the filter media.
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
2,097
Location
kansastan
I gotta disagree with you mechtech. A clean filter will put less restriction on the fuel pump, make it draw fewer amps, create less heat, wear less. I.e., it'll help the fuel pump last longer.
 
Joined
Mar 31, 2009
Messages
379
Location
Mi
Some do not have the fuel filter on the outside,part of the pump.Chrysler (starting in 1992 or 1993) and GM (2005 and up) are this way.The general rule with replacement GM fuel pumps is stick with a Delphi and avoid the aftermarket pumps from Airtex and Carter including Bosch.Carquest and the dealer sell Delphi pumps.Carquest used to use Airtex,nothing but problems with high failure rates.
 
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
26,415
Location
Upstate NY
Fuel pumps are cooled by fuel running through them not by sitting in a tank of fuel. So running out of fuel can cook a pump, but running low will not. Neither should having a partially clogged filter, if it was fully clogged the engine would not run. That is not to say the filter should not be changed on a regular basis. Having said all that the problem is with some GM fuel pumps. I think you could run out of gas 50 times in a Toyota with no problems, and do it once in GM and its toast. I replaced the fuel pump in my 93 Suburban with one from Napa and then had to do it again a year latter. Each one was a real pain dropping a 46 gallon fuel tank. The first time I also had to replace the fuel sender assembly for an extra $200 since the connections snapped.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2009
Messages
1,714
Location
CA.
I change mine every 2 years which is about 25,000-30,000 miles, it's on the frame of the car. Costs about $12 or so, cheap insurance seeing what damage dirty fuel can do.
 
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
25,051
Location
ON, Canada eh?
When I drove my car with an external filter I used to change it at 35,000 KM (21,875 Miles) and now that I have a car with an in tank filter I will change it after a ton of miles. According to Hyundai it's a lifetime long life filter that needs only to be changed if the check engine light comes on because of low fuel pressure or if the car is starving for fuel. I will probably change it out at 200K KM (120K Miles) because they give you an access hatch under one of the back seats to get at it in the tank. Easy job looking at the tech-manual and it's only $55 for the filter so to replace it once in the vehicles life won't hurt the wallet and will probably extend the life of the fuel system components. ;\)
 
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