How to Change a Fuel Filter

Tools Needed to Change a Fuel Filter

Here’s what you’re ultimately looking for when you search for the fuel filter.
Here’s what you’re ultimately looking for when you search for the fuel filter.

Changing your fuel filter typically requires only some simple tools like wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers and pliers. Of course, the specific tools you'll need depend on the way your fuel filter is attached to the fuel lines. For instance, if the fuel filter has threaded connectors, you'll need an open-ended wrench or ratchet and socket to remove the filter. If the filter is connected with clips, you may only need a pair of pliers to get the job done. A flashlight can be handy, particularly if the fuel filter is located in a hard-to-reach area of the car.

Depending on the car, you may also need special tools made just for removing fuel filters. For instance, some GM, Ford and Mazda cars have spring-loaded locking fuel filter connectors that require a "quick disconnect" tool to release. You'll likely need to consult a service manual or find details about your car online to determine exactly what tools you'll need for the job. Lastly, keep some cleaning supplies nearby to clean up the work area once you've finished.

Oh, and don't forget to purchase a new fuel filter before you start the job. Fuel filters are made by a wide variety of manufacturers and can be purchased at your local auto parts stores. While a store attendant can help you find the correct filter, you'll need to tell the attendant the specific year, make and model of your car or risk getting the wrong part.

Some common manufacturers of fuel filters include ACDelco, Fram and Motorcraft. A new fuel filter ranges in price from as little as $5 to upward of 10 times that amount. Most filters should be under $15 dollars, however, making them a much cheaper option than replacing a fuel pump down the road. It's worth noting that not all cars have replaceable fuel filters. In such cases, the filter is built into the fuel tank, fuel pump or other assembly, meaning you or your mechanic will likely need to replace the entire assembly if the filter needs maintenance.