5 Ways Blocked Diesel Filters Impact Your Performance

April 26, 2022

It’s quite easy to forget about your diesel filter (or both, if you drive a diesel with two!). Often hidden under a cluster of other components, if not within the fuel tank itself, we may dismiss checking or replacing this filter, and even prioritise other components in the engine during services instead.

Out of sight may be out of mind, but you can’t ignore your diesel filter for long – a blocked filter will quickly become a persistent – and eventually expensive – problem! Don’t believe us? Here are 5 ways blocked diesel filters impact the performance of your engine.

5 Ways Blocked Diesel Filters Impact Your Performance - mechanic working on diesel engine

5 Common Signs of Blocked Diesel Filters

Before we get into how clogged filters impact the performance of your engine, first take a look at these common symptoms to see if you may be suffering from a blocked filter or two:

  1. Reduced Fuel Economy
  2. Hard Starting & Long Crank Times
  3. Decreased Power Output
  4. Excessive Black Smoke from the Exhaust
  5. Stalling or Shutting Down When idling

If you have noticed any of these issues, then it’s likely that your diesel filter(s) are partially blocked, and will need attending to as soon as possible before the problem worsens!

Read More: For the Love of Diesel, Are You Looking After Your Engine?

How Blocked Diesel Filters Impact Performance

  1. Reduced Fuel Economy

As your fuel filter becomes clogged with contaminants, it will restrict the flow of fuel to the engine. The injectors won’t receive enough fuel which will cause them to work less efficiently. You’ll notice reduced power and an immediate decrease in fuel economy as your engine struggles to maintain performance.

  1. Hard Starting & Long Crank Times

If you turn the key only to hear clicking, or your engine takes an age to fire up, it could be that not enough fuel is reaching the cylinders due to a blocked filter. Once again, this is caused by restricted flow which makes it harder for the injectors to do their job.

  1. Decreased Power Output

A loss of power is one of the most noticeable effects of a blocked diesel filter. The engine will feel sluggish when accelerating and may even stall if left idling for too long. This is because there simply isn’t enough fuel getting through to meet the engine’s needs.

  1. Excessive Black Smoke from the Exhaust

If you’ve noticed an increase in black smoke coming from your exhaust, it’s likely that your diesel filter is blocked. This is because the engine is burning more fuel than usual as it tries to compensate for the restricted flow. Not only is this a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right, but it’s also bad news for the environment.

  1. Stalling or Shutting Down When idling

One of the most serious consequences of a blocked diesel filter is stalling or shutting down when idling. If there isn’t enough fuel reaching the engine, it simply can’t run – which could leave you stranded at the roadside.

Read More: Diesel Performance: Are Bigger Upgrades Always Better?

5 Ways Blocked Diesel Filters Impact Your Performance - close up of blocked diesel filter

How to Prevent Blocked Diesel Filters

The best way to avoid the problems caused by blocked diesel filters is to take preventative action and keep on top of maintenance. This means regularly checking (and replacing if necessary) your fuel filter according to your manufacturer’s guidelines.

It’s also important to make sure that you only use good quality fuel as this will help to minimise the risk of contaminants entering the system in the first place. If you’re unsure which fuel is best for your engine, speak to a diesel specialist who will be able to advise you.

You can also take steps to protect your fuel system from contamination by fitting an inline water separator filter. These filters work by removing water and particulates from the fuel before they have a chance to reach the fuel filter – meaning that you’re less likely to suffer from blocked filters in the first place.

Take care of your diesel filters and they’ll take care of you! By following the tips above, you can minimise the risk of problems and keep your engine running smoothly for years to come.

Read More: How to Tell if Your Diesel Fuel Injectors Need Replacing

Common Rail & Turbodiesel Toyota Specialists

Just Autos are Australia’s premier common rail and turbodiesel specialists, as well as the ONLY diesel performance experts specialising solely in Toyota engines. For more helpful advice on maintaining your diesel Toyota engine, or tips on achieving greater performance outputs, contact the Just Autos team today!

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