Best Fuel Filters: Improve Performance, Power, and MPG
A dirty fuel filter may cause rough starting, power loss, or low gas mileage
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PUBLISHED ON November 13, 2019
The fuel filter in your vehicle is located between the fuel tank (or sometimes inside the fuel tank) and other key components of your engine: the fuel injectors, spark plugs, cylinders, and valves. It filters out possible gasoline impurities like dirt, debris, and rust. These can prevent your car or truck from running efficiently and powerfully. Check out our picks for the best replacement fuel filters in our buying guide.
- Best OverallMotorcraft FD-4615 Fuel FilterSummarySummaryThis fuel filter will help stop poor starting and engine stalling and ensures a uniform gas flow into your fuel system. The filter blocks contaminants and impurities that can be present in gasoline, which can clog up your fuel line and injectors. Fits Ford Superduty 6.7L, 2011-2016.ProsProsThe stainless steel case resists corrosion. The support washers and connectors are brazed for better strength and durability. This OEM filter removes 90 percent of impurities larger than 20 microns.ConsConsIt does not fit 2016 or 2017 Ford F-250 6.7L diesel trucks. The kit might be missing an o-ring.
- Best ValueACDelco TP3018 Professional Fuel FilterSummarySummaryThis filter prevents rust, dirt, and other contaminants from entering the fuel system by trapping them before they can get to engine components, including rule injectors and spark plugs. This results in better performance and improved fuel economy. Fits all GM models with diesel engines, including Silverado, Sierra, and Savana.ProsProsIt’s easy to install for most applications. All seals are included, and it has a sturdy metal housing. Has a hex end for easy installation and removal.ConsConsMay not seal well on some vehicles. The filter may be difficult to screw on.
- Honorable MentionBaldwin Heavy Duty Spin-on FilterSummarySummaryThis is an economically priced fuel filter that keeps debris and dirt away from sensitive engine parts. It’s designed for diesel engines such as Dodge Ram 5.9L Cummins.ProsProsIt is a durable filter that helps improve performance and prolongs the life of your engine. Fits OEM canisters. Filters contaminants down to five microns.ConsConsIt’s called a spin-on filter, but it is actually a canister style filter that clips into place. It does not fit the Cummins 6.7L diesel motor.
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- If you cannot locate the fuel filter, it may be inside your vehicle’s gas tank. While this makes it almost impossible for you to replace the filter yourself, most in-tank filters are made to last the life of the vehicle.
- Working with the fuel system and around gasoline can be hazardous. Always wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and safety glasses for eye protection. Work in a well-ventilated area, since some gasoline is going to escape from the old filter and fuel line during the replacement.
- Research the size and type of the fuel filter required on your vehicle before you order one. Ordering the correct filter the first time saves time, money, and aggravation.
Q: How do I know if I need to replace my fuel filter?
A: You may experience a rough-running engine, loss of power in all gears, and/or difficulty starting. You may also experience lower gas mileage, stalling, and engine misfiring.
Q: Can I replace a fuel filter myself?
A: It depends on where the filter is located, whether you have the proper tools, and whether you want to spend the time and energy to do it yourself. If the fuel filter is located inside the fuel tank, a DIY replacement is almost impossible. Other filters, such as those in pick-up trucks, are relatively easy for home mechanics to access, so it’s more likely you can install a new one yourself. The basic tools you need are relatively common—like screwdrivers and pliers—but specialty tools called disconnect tools are also available to help you with the job.
Q: Is it a good idea to change a fuel filter often?
A: It depends. Some diesel truck owners change the fuel filter every time they change the oil because diesel fuel can be dirty. Check with a knowledgeable mechanic or your vehicle’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation.