How often should I replace fuel filter?

chuasanchuasan Member Posts: 42
edited May 2015 in INFINITI
I can not find any reference on fuel filter replacement on the owner manual for my Infiniti G20. Please let me know how often should I change fuel filter and does it really matter? Thank you


See Also: How to Change Your Car's Filters


  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    As the filter gets dirty the fuel pump has to work harder (draws more current), and will burn out faster. Also, most fuel systems are "return" types: excess fuel pumped from the tank to the fuel pressure regulator gets returned to the gas tank. Any crud that isn't filtered out can keep getting recirculated blocking injectors/screens and wearing out the fuel pump. Putting in a new filter every 2 years/30,000 miles is cheap insurance and good preventive maintenance.
    There are a number of things that should be done if you plan on keeping a car past 100,000 miles, but most car makers know that most people won't, so they don't mention them.
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 453
    I too was curious when to change the fuel filter on my Toyota. Couldn't find anything in the manual so I called Toyota. I was informed that they don't recommend changing them at all. That the fuel filter was not really a filter as in the old days, more of a valve regulater than anything else. So I only replace it once in the 175,000+ miles I've had the Toyota. Interestingly, the independent mechanic who installed the new filter said that the original fuel filter was perfectly fine, but I had hime install a new anyways---this was before I called Toyota. Go figure!!??

  • armtdmarmtdm Member Posts: 2,057
    My Toyota is a black canister and there is no way to tell by looking at it if it is good. Unless the mechanic cut it open which I doubt.

    I do mine every 30,000
  • jeproxjeprox Member Posts: 466
    i change mine at 96,000kms. same time with the timing belt.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Member Posts: 1,118
    It apparently plays havoc with the fuel filter. My mechanic recommends every year, no longer than two.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    keep in mind,a fillup of bad gas can screw up a new filter.i agree with armtdm with the 30k change.
  • edwardh6edwardh6 Member Posts: 5
    My two local toyota dealers do not change them
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 453
    Yes, I too was surprised to hear that Toyota doesn't recommend changing the fuel filter. When I had mine replace it looked like a white bottle of Old Spice aftershave. I see a black shape plastic against the firewall that looks like the shape of the fuel filter. I followed Toyota's advice and I haven't had it changed since then.

  • zr2randozr2rando Member Posts: 391
    If it is actually a filter then it needs replacing periodically, and normally 30k miles is certainly about time to do it. There is grit/metal/water/stuff in the fuel tanks that gets into YOUR tank every now and then that YOUR filter screens out...and YOUR fuel pump is doing the work to pump through the restriction that the filter builds up..eventually it gets blocked and the pump overloads trying to force through it...
    Maybe the Toyota has a built in fuel pump/filter ? but I doubt it,
    Brucer2 was right about the regulator/returns..
    most pumps just pump and the regulator just regulates injector pressure so the rest just recirculates.... I would just replace the filter periodically anyhow, no sense in burning out the fuel pump pre-maturely....they normally have a limited life anyway but no reason to make it shorter!!
    good luck, general advice,,, if its a filter, change it regularly, you'll come out ahead in the long run..
  • edwardh6edwardh6 Member Posts: 5
    yes, I know all about the fuel pump laboring theory but the Toyota dealers will not change them even if you ask and will pay as I did at 70,000 miles.

    Also several top techs who run Toy web pages say never change them -
    i can not explain it.
  • zr2randozr2rando Member Posts: 391
    I guess if you don't have any pump or fuel delivery problems then you must not have a fuel filter problem either. I still think it sounds weird but hey, it sounds like it saves you money and does not cause you any problems so problem...
    On my Chevy truck fuel filter one time after replacing, I blew backwards through it into a jar to see what type dirt was in it, I saw plenty of sand and small metal flecks, made me appreciate that it was doing something for the team.
    Sounds like Toyota has saved you some $$$$ and some work somehow,,,If you find out how it does that let us know and maybe we can do it to our trucks?
    see ya
  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    Look through the LS400 topic for fuel filters. I seem to recall that when the fuel filter question came up some folks there said that dealers didn't want to change the filters because it was easy to damage the fuel lines when doing so.
  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    "#456 of 491 LEXUS FILTERS? by roddmod11 Nov 20, 2001 (09:08 pm)
    Hi to all, the reason I found out that Lexus does not recommend a replacement of the fuel filter, is that it is to hard to get off, you end up breaking the fuel line because the threads were damaged when the factory put them on and rust has built up and they wont come off, once you twist a line the complete line has to be replaced.This means if you fill up with a bad tank of gas it could cost you more than a filter replacement. Also as miles build up the filter gets dirty and this causes your pump current to go up because it has to push harder, good practice on most cars would be to change the filter at least every 15K to 30K not Lexus, they will tell you that the filter last the life of the car, make sense to you? I have cut them open and they are built the same as any filter with a paper element. The Trans filter they will say it is a screen and does not need to be changed, I have had this filter out and even with 200K miles on LS400s it has not looked clogged, so if the car is not driven hard they may have a point on this filter, by the way the way around the fuel filter on my car was to cut the line with a tubing cutter add high pressure fuel hose and install a K&N filter, the shops cannot do this it would be a liability nightmare."
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 453

    So essentially Toyota/Lexus is correct in that the fuel filter really doesn't need to be changed. interesting. Like I said before, I've only changed the fuel filter once on my '94 Toyota Paseo which currnetly has 176,200 miles on it.

  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    In regards to Toyota/Lexus and any other mfg that doesn't call for changing the filter, I suspect that (in the vast majoriety of cases) the filter doesn't become sufficently blocked to cause problems while the car is under warranty. By the time a car is 7-8 years old, with >100k miles it's probably on its 2nd or 3rd owner. The original owner is happy because he had low maintenance costs. Later owners, when the fule pump goes, figure thats what you get with a used car.
    There are a number of items that owner's manuals are mute on (transmission fluid, brake fluid, PS fluid should all be changed), but don't have much impact on reliabilty during the first few years and first 100k miles. This isn't to say that every fuel system will give problems in its 2nd 100k miles if the filter isn't changed, but it will greatly less the likelyhood if it is.
  • bburton1bburton1 Member Posts: 395
    Replaced a fuel filter on a honda at 170K just because I felt like it. Cut the old one open and there was not a thing in the filter media. Clean as could be. Was with a friend one day and he refueled at a very small country gas station. Made it almost home and the car started sputtering. Really bad load of gas-full of black stuff. Clogged the filter and had to remove the tank-full of black gunk and had to replace a couple of injectors.

    Morale to the story-buy you gas from big high volume stations-not many other around. If you do get a bad load of gas-well you will know it asap. I would not change fuel filters if there are no problems. Some of them are clear and you can see if they have crud in them.
  • jodar96jodar96 Member Posts: 400
    I feel every 3 years or 50K miles is a good interval for fuel filter changes, if you can get to it! I just changed the filter in my Camry (5years old/60K miles). I can't tell a difference in start up or driveability.

    Newer cars do not have any canister type fuel filters. The filter is a flimsy plastic sceen pocket attached to the bottom of the fuel pump pick up tube inside the gas tank.

    My old 95 Dodge Stratus did have a replacable canister type fuel filter. The problem was its location. In order to replace the filter, I had to drop the gas tank. Way to go Chrysler.
  • leomortleomort Member Posts: 453
    funny you mentioned some of those other things. I had the fuel filter changed around 98K and was talking to Toyota: No recommendation on having the brake fluid or power steering fluid flushed/changed. I have a manaul so no transmission fluid to be changed. But Toyota recommend the differential fluid changed every 30,000 miles--not in book but via phone. I do have the radiator flushed. Do oil changes every 3K, tune-up every 30K. Brakes usually around 36K--mechanic flushes brake lines to get any air out. Usually new tires around 50-60K. Change air filter when it looks dirty. Change PCV when it looks dirty---usually let "Grease Mokey" do it which is averaging 30K.

    I agree with you, the owner manual is pretty mute on a lot of maintenance issues. I would never have guess that I'd have to argue/fight to have what I would think would be routine maintence. Go figure? But if my car makes it to 200,000 miles I consider that I got my money out of the car.


  • brucer2brucer2 Member Posts: 157
    I don't know what newer cars don't have a canister fuel filter. My Maxima and Mystique both have them. (The one on the Mystique is on the side of the gas tank, but not very hard to change.) The screen on the fuel pump is only a screen, and can't filter out the small partilcles that a real filter can. You may need the service (not owners) manual to locate it.
  • jodar96jodar96 Member Posts: 400
    Dodge Ram,Durango,and Dakota do not have canister fuel filters. I know this, since we make their fuel and brake lines. the chassis fuel lines attach to sending unit at one end, and to engine fuel bundle at the other end. Engine fuel lines directly connect to fuel rail. I have been to the plants where they make the vehicles. There is no fuel filter anywhere.

    I hear(not verified yet)that Honda Accord 98-present is the same way.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,326
    I had my mechanic check my '00 Intrepid over at around the 50,000 mile mark, and one of the things he did was look up in a service manual to see what Chrysler recommended for the fuel filter. He said that according to the book, it was a "lifetime" filter, so I shouldn't have to worry about it.

    However, what I consider lifetime and what Chrysler considers lifetime are, I'm sure, two different things. I'm guessing that, roughly translated, "lifetime" means it's in the fuel tank, and is going to cost a few hundred $ to get to?
  • gslevegsleve Member Posts: 183
    I feel that as the newer cars continue to develope with technology some of the maintenance items and recomendations that we have been used to doing such as ie: brake fluid and ps fluid rear end fluid transaxle fluid changes,and fuel filter changes these proactive procedures will be mute, however I also believe that car manufacturers don't recommend such procedures whole heartedly because it contributes to their concept of planned obselence.

    Performing such proactive maintanence will not in any way be a detrimental to the mechanics of the vehicle, I believe it can only contribute to it's running efficently and optimally thus averting any higher repair cost incured due to neglecting such maintanence.
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