Interior rust tends to go undetected, sneaking under the radar until its effects are detrimental. And a rusty fuel system, in particular, can hit you where it hurts— reducing your fuel efficiency and compromising your engine’s power until you can’t ignore it. Below are the warning signs of a rusty fuel system and a few ways you can prevent it.
The “Sputtering” Engine
The hallmark sign of a rusting, clogged fuel filter is a “sputtering” engine sound when accelerating, especially if you’re driving at highway speeds. This can indicate that rust is prohibiting the fuel from traveling through the filter. Your car will still run, it just won’t run well… and this is a dangerous problem to ignore. If our filter is clogged, the dirt that used to get filtered out will be able to enter your fuel injectors, which are very costly to replace.
Maintenance and Prevention
The easiest way to prevent the problem is to keep up on maintenance and pay attention if you notice something isn’t right. Fuel filter rust is very common, and replacing your filter is often a relatively inexpensive fix. Your owner’s manual will have specific guidelines regarding the optimal time to change your fuel filter but, typically, the timeline is between 20,000 and 40,000 miles.
Remember, it’s always better to have it changed sooner rather than later.
Over time rust can build up in any fuel tank, in any vehicle— from those in diesel powerhouses to heavy-duty GFRP composite tanks. At V&F, our certified mechanics use the latest diagnostic equipment, and high-quality CARQUEST auto parts, to make sure we get the job done right. Plus, our auto repair services are backed by an industry-leading 3-year / 36,000-mile warranty on parts and labor. Call us today at (413) 314-2280 or schedule an appointment online.
This article was originally published in September 2018 and has been updated to reflect evolving best practices.