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How Often Do I Change My Fuel Filter?

Fuel Filster

For high mileage vehicles, replacing the fuel filter annually for preventative maintenance is a good idea for two reasons. By the time a vehicle is six or seven years old, there can be a fair amount of rust and debris in the fuel tank. Rust can be formed by moisture and condensation, and debris can get into your tank anytime you add fuel. So changing it on a periodic basis can help minimize the risk.

Most newer vehicles do not have a specified interval for replacing the fuel filter. In fact, some even have "lifetime" filters that supposedly never need to be changed. But any filter can plug up if enough rust or debris gets sucked into the fuel inlet.

Gasoline is supposed to be filtered at the pump but sometimes that isn't enough. The fuel you put in your tank may be contaminated with water from leaky underground storage tanks and improperly mixed alcohol blends. So there are no guarantees the fuel is clean.

If you make a habit of driving your vehicle with the fuel tank below 1/4 full, you run the risk of changing your filter more often due to the debris that collects over time at the bottom of your fuel tank.

Replacing the filter periodically for preventative maintenance is simply insurance that reduces the risk of it clogging your fuel system. Given enough time, every filter will eventually reach the end of its service life. Even the filter in a brand new vehicle right off the showroom floor is at risk if the owner happens to get a dirty tank of fuel.

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Fuel Filters
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