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What happens if a fuel filter is not changed?

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What happens if a fuel filter is not changed?

For the average modern motor vehicle fueled with quality gasoline the fuel filter should last the lifetime of the fuel pump. If you don’t change the fuel filter nothing will happen. If there is no indication the fuel filter needs changing then there is no need to change it. And chances are, if it does show signs it is significantly clogged, then there may be some other potential problems that need addressing (like an internally rusty fuel tank).

Since most modern motor vehicles incorporate the fuel filter with the fuel pump and the fuel pump lives inside the fuel tank, there is no recommendation for any regular change interval for the fuel filter. The likelihood the fuel filter will clog due to particulate contaminants is slim to none. Gasoline, at least here in the USA, is filtered more often than the water coming out of your tap. Every time gasoline changes it’s mode of storage or transportation it is filtered. And it is filtered one final time as it is dispensed from the fuel pump into your tank. In your tank the fuel is filtered before reaching the engine by the filter incorporated with the fuel pump.

Some older vehicles may have an access to a stand alone fuel filter; my ’98 GMC pickup is one example. I’ve changed the once since I’ve owned the truck …once at 100K. Not because it was running badly or I though it was clogged …but just because; I could have probably left the original on until the fuel pump fails or I decide to hedge my bets against getting stuck out somewhere with a bum fuel pump.

Now, if you have a fuel tank on your vehicle with a severe internal rust problem, then I could see where you might have some issues …but that would be a very rare case indeed.

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