A fuel filter screens out dirt, rust and other contaminants from the fuel before it reaches the carburetor. It prevents foreign particles from clogging the engine and is commonly found in most internal combustion engines. It is usually made into cartridges containing a filter paper or mesh screens. The proper filter for the car engine depends on its design.
This kind of filter is important to the life-span of modern-day engine fuel systems. Since unfiltered fuel may contain substances such as paint chips or rust particles from a steel tank, it can cause rapid wear of the fuel pump and injectors if not removed before the fuel enters the system. Fuel filters also help maintain a car’s high performance because fewer contaminants left in the fuel after filtering lead to more efficient burning of the fuel.
Fuel filters need to be replaced at regular intervals specified by the manufacturer. This is simply done by disconnecting the filter from the fuel line, then replacing it with a new one. However, there are some specially designed filters that can be reused after being cleaned.
Not replacing the filter regularly may leave it clogged with contaminants, causing restriction in the fuel flow. In turn, this may lead to diminished engine performance, inconvenient breakdowns and costly repairs as the engine labors to draw enough fuel to function and continue running normally.
Where is it located?
Some common filters, such as in-line filter, are attached directly in the path of the fuel line. Others, called element or cartridge system, are attached to an external housing that allows fuel to divert from the fuel injection system before passing through the filter and going back to the fuel injection system.
Some filters are also located inside the tank itself; this type does not need to be replaced as frequently as the others. The largest particles that can get through the filter are determined by the size of the holes of the mesh screen or pleated filter paper. This is expressed in microns. In addition, the number of holes in the filter will affect the amount of fuel that can flow through.
How does it work?
Fuel filters found on diesel engines, which are bowl-like in design, collect water at the bottom since water is denser than diesel. A water sensor signals if the water has reached the warning level, although this feature is not found in some filters. Then the water is drained off by opening a valve at the bottom of the bowl, until only diesel remains in the bowl. If water gets into a moving part, it will quickly cause overheating and unnecessary wear, as the engine system relies on the diesel for lubrication of the moving parts.
To maximize the engine’s life and performance, regular maintenance and replacement of the fuel filter is recommended.