Fuel Filter Maintenance Should Be Routine

Ken Stirn, senior product manager of Baldwin Filters, Kearney, Neb., says you’ll normally be safe with fuel filters if you change “according to manufacturers’ recommendations.” He states that a common recommendation is 12,000 to 15,000 miles. The Volvo manual for VHD models says their maximum recommended interval is 25,000 miles. While there is no restriction gauge or other device for detecting fuel filter clogging, filters are usually large enough that, if you use good quality fuel and change at recommended intervals, you probably won’t experience clogging between changes.

Volvo recommends you gear your fuel filter changes to correspond with oil changes for convenience. If your operation requires frequent oil changes, you might change fuel filters every other oil change.

Make sure micron ratings are correct. A primary filter micron rating that’s too fine (small) could cause the system to stop flowing or cavitate. A secondary rating that’s too large would likely damage the fuel system.

Drain some fuel off into a safe container before trying to remove the filter, to prevent spillage. Clean off all road dirt so it won’t get into the system. Unscrew spinoff-type filters with a strap wrench. Always replace all seals with new ones. Thoroughly clean the filter bowl. Install the new filter according to directions on the unit (lubricating seals as recommended). Don’t attempt to put fuel into the new filter. Install it first and then prime it with the pump to prevent getting any dirt into the clean side of the system.