How to Install a Car's Inline Fuel Filter

Most cars and small trucks in today's world use an inline fuel filter to remove particles that have entered the vehicle’s fuel system and could create clogs or could damage sensitive fuel injectors. There are occasions when these filters, themselves, become clogged by filtered particles. When this happens to your vehicle, you will likely need to clean the filter or replace it. In either event, you'll need to know how to install the filter. Installation of your inline fuel filter can be accomplished by following the steps below.

Things you'll need:

  • Wheel chocks
  • Floor jack
  • Jack Stands
  • Wrenches
  • Fuel line disconnect tool set
  • Drain pan

Step 1 – Relieve Fuel Pressure

Before removing your vehicle's fuel filter, relieve any pressure in the fuel system by taking out the relay or pump fuse. Then, empty any fuel in the system by starting your car and allowing it to run until it uses up all the residual fuel in the fuel lines. You'll know when the fuel is spent when the engine dies. At this point, turn off the ignition key and replace the pump relay.

Step 2 – Locate Your Fuel Filter

If you're not sure where your fuel filter is located in your vehicle, check the owner's manual. For vehicles whose filters are located under the vehicle, you'll need to raise your vehicle to work on the filter. To be safe, place chocks under your car's tires. Use a car jack to raise the car, then slide jack stands under its frame and lower the vehicle until it rests on the jack stands.

Step 3 – Detach Fuel Line Connections

When you've located your fuel filter, place a drain pan under it to catch any draining fuel. Check your fuel line connections at the filter. If they are connected with quick-connect fittings, you'll need a fuel line disconnect tool to release the fitting's lock mechanism. You can do this by placing the tool over the fuel line, then forcing it into the fitting.

Step 4 – Replace O-Ring or Copper Gaskets

The fuel line-filter fitting will be sealed with either copper gaskets or a rubber O-ring. Examine your vehicle's filter to determine which of these two methods your vehicle uses. The line will be bolted on the new filter if copper gaskets are used. If O-rings are used on your line ends, you'll see that they are screwed into the filter. Once you've determined which method is used, remove the copper gaskets or rubber O-ring. You'll find new gaskets in your new filer kit.

Step 5 – Remove the Filter Bracket

Locate the filter bracket where it is attached to your vehicle's frame, then remove the old filter from the bracket and replace it with your new filter.

Step 6 – Prime and Check Your Car's Fuel System

Turn your ignition key off, then on several times. This will prime your fuel system. Check for leaks in your fuel line connections. Then, start your vehicle's engine and check for leaks again. If you find no leaks, you can remove the car stands and lower your vehicle.