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What are the symptoms of a dirty fuel filter?

Updated July 20, 2017

When a dirty duel filter is left for too long without cleaning or replacement, there is a good chance it will become clogged, which can affect engine performance. The easiest way to tell if your fuel filter is clean enough to work properly is to take it out and blow through it. If no air is able to travel through the filter, it is too dirty and should be replaced. However, there are other symptoms that can indicate a dirty fuel filter without it having to be removed for inspection.

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Engine Troubles

If you can’t start your vehicle or it seems to work extra hard to start, chances are that the fuel filter is too dirty to work properly. Insufficient fuel to the engine can keep it from starting. Alternatively, if the engine is running but not getting enough fuel, it can suddenly stall out at stoplights or while you are travelling up steep hills.

Acceleration Issues

Another good sign that your fuel filter needs to be cleaned or replaced is poor acceleration. Your vehicle may behave normally up to a certain speed but lack the fuel supply to go any faster or speed up briskly.

Additional Dirty Fuel Filter Clues

If your vehicle backfires or exhibits jerky movement while misfiring, you should check the fuel filter to see if it is clogged. Another symptom is a foul odour coming from the exhaust..

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About the Author

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Rachael Gerkensmeyer has been writing since 1999. Her articles express a wide range of knowledge on many subjects including travel, budgeting, family issues, and home and garden. Gerkensmeyer's work can be found both online and in print for such publications as the "Hawaii Tribune Herald," "Michigan Weekly," FitDay and Bestcovery. She holds an Associate of Arts in nutrition, diet and health sciences.

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