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Filters & Fuels In Your Car Engine

The engine is the most powerful component of your vehicle and works hard to move your vehicle from place to place. Keeping your engine in peak condition with routine maintenance such as frequent oil changes is always a good idea but what else can you do to ensure your engine maintains its power?

Your vehicle has filters to protect the hard-working components of your vehicle from debris or contaminants. While driving, your vehicle comes in contact with irritating and potentially hazardous particles in the air, which can impact the engine. There are also impurities in oils and fuels that could get into the engine’s system. Ensuring your vehicle’s filters are cared for and replaced as needed will help to keep your engine working hard.

Fuel Filter

The fuel filter’s task is to filter the fuel before it reaches the engine to prevent contaminants within the fuel from causing damage. In older vehicles, the fuel filter was easily accessible. However, in most newer vehicles the fuel filter is located within the gas tank and is not serviceable. A clogged fuel filter usually results in inefficient fuel delivery and often exhibits such symptoms as rough starts and shuddering idles, sluggish accelerating or a slow response from the engine after pressing the gas pedal, and/or decreased power.

Air Filter

changing car air filterThe engine air filter’s duty is to filter any impurities that are in the air, such as dust and dirt to prevent absorption in the engine. By filtering potentially dangerous particles, the overall combustion process (the mixing of air and fuel at the proper ratio) is smoother and allows for better fuel efficiency. Without proper combustion, there will be a significant loss in power and increase in fuel consumption. Though there isn’t a specific guideline on replacement, the air filter should be inspected at each oil change. It should be replaced whenever it’s dirty. In areas where there is more heat and higher levels of dust and air pollution, you can expect to replace it more often.


Fuel not only provides energy for the vehicle, it also acts as a lubricant for the fuel pump motor, which is located in the fuel tank. Without this lubricant, the motor can burn out. The gas you put in your vehicle contains additives that help to maintain your fuel system. Premium fuels contain more additives and octane. The higher the octane level, the slower the burn, which increases power helping the motor run faster and better. Diesel fuel also contains additives but contains a lower concentrate of water and functions similar to an oil. While additives are great for maintenance and prevention, they cannot fix fuel system issues which are best handled by a professional. To help maintain your fuel system, avoid allowing your fuel level to get too low. Fill up your gas tank once it falls to a quarter of a tank. Repeatedly allowing the tank to get low starves the pump, which can eventually cause the pump to burn out.

The Fuel System & Your Check Engine Light

Your check engine light may illuminate for many reasons related to the engine’s function and its relation to the fuel system. While your engine may be experiencing distress, it could also be something as simple as replacing the gas cap. If the gas cap is missing, loose, or worn, it will cause the check engine light to come on. If you’ve replaced the gas cap and the light is still on, it’s possible there is a leak or a failed component.


Once your vehicle’s check engine light is on, it’s a good time to bring your vehicle to the professionals so that they may perform additional diagnostics. A specialized diagnostic technician will connect a computer scan tool to your vehicle’s computer to communicate and review the codes it has stored. The codes are recorded symptoms that the car has exhibited while driving. Though the code reader is a handy tool, it does not tell the technician exactly what the problem is. The diagnostic technician needs to perform additional tests to isolate the issue to determine the cause. For example, the code reader may indicate there is a problem somewhere in the system but does not indicate where. The technician may need to perform additional testing such as a leak test utilizing a smoke machine to determine where the leak is coming from.

If your check engine light has come on or your vehicle feels sluggish, you’ll need a service center you can trust to determine what the problem is. Sun Auto Service is the expert when it comes to all things automotive, especially engine diagnostics. We offer a free scan of your on-board computer to determine which code has registered as part of our engine diagnosis service. Stop in to our service center for an inspection. We employ top-notch ASE Certified technicians that work hard to get you back on the road as quickly and safely as possible. Plus, we guarantee our work in writing and perform only the work you authorize.  Stop in or schedule your appointment today.