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Everything You’ve Ever Wanted To Know About Changing Diesel Fuel Filters

In most cases, diesel vehicles have 2 fuel filters. The primary filter is located between the engine and the fuel tank. Its job is to clean the fuel before it reaches the fuel transfer pump. The other fuel filter is located closer to the engine and gives the fuel one final cleaning before it enters the fuel injectors. These filters keep your diesel vehicle running at top performance levels by collecting debris and preventing sludge buildup in the engine. Clean fuel also means improved gas mileage. Keep reading to learn more about diesel fuel filters and how to change them:

What Does A Fuel Filter Do?

Fuel filters clean the gas flowing through the engine to make it as clean as possible before entering the fuel injectors. The cleaner the gas is, the better your vehicle will run and the less fuel is needed for your vehicle to operate efficiently. Over time, the debris that’s usually removed from the fuel builds up on the filter and prevents it from doing its job. As impurities begin to pass through the filter it clogs the fuel injectors. This limits the amount of gas that reaches the engine, so the engine now has to work harder to keep your vehicle operating. This greatly decreases fuel efficiency and can put a huge dent in your wallet because you’ll have to buy gas more frequently.

When To Change A Fuel Filter

The rule of thumb is that fuel filters should be replaced every year or every 10,000 miles, whichever comes first. This will ensure your engine continues to perform at optimum levels. Since every diesel vehicle can be different, it’s best to consult your owner’s manual for information on when to change the fuel filters in your model.

How To Change A Fuel Filter

Step 1:

Open the hood of your diesel vehicle and find the fuel filters. Remember, there are two, so you might as well change them both at the same time. One filter is usually located between the engine and the fuel tank. The other is usually found in the round assembly on the top of the engine. Consult your owner’s manual for the specific location of the air filters in your vehicle.

Step 2:

To gain access to the filters, you may have to use channel locks or a screw driver. Again, this depends on your diesel model. Your owner’s manual will give you detailed instructions on how to access the fuel filters.

Step 3:

Once the fuel filters are visible, take the o-ring off the cover and pull the used filter out of the vehicle.

Step 4:

Put the new filters back into place and put a new o-ring on top. The o-ring will be included in your fuel filter kit. Once in place, tighten the new filter by hand to prevent the o-ring from breaking.

Step 5:

Put the fuel filter cover back on, and put the round assembly back together using the channel locks. Everything should be snug, but not too tight.

Step 6:

Start your diesel vehicle and let it run for about 15 minutes. This will push the gas through the new filter and circulate it through the engine.

Fuel Filter Changing Tips

Here are some tips to keep in mind when changing a diesel fuel filter:

  • Always shut the engine off before changing the fuel filter. If you don’t, the intake air flow will suck in just about anything and will probably need to be replaced.

  • Make sure you bleed any air bubbles out of the system after you’ve installed a new filter. Your vehicle may be equipped with an air-bleed screw for this purpose.

  • Prime the fuel filter to help the new fuel to circulate through it. Your vehicle may have a manual primer pump for this purpose.

  • Replace the water drain plug with a brass plug from your vehicle’s international dealer to make changing fuel filters much quicker and easier. It allows you to remove the plug with your fingers instead of trying to fit an Allen wrench into the small space.

Now you know more about changing diesel fuel filters than the average person. Go ahead and tackle a fuel filter change on your own to save some money. Of course, if this is a job you’d prefer to let the pros handle, call your local mechanic and make an appointment for them to do it for you. 

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