If you own a car, truck, RV or ATV, you should know the importance of vehicle maintenance.
Let’s face it, most people think that vehicle maintenance is a daunting task. Even the simplest task like keeping fuel lines clean can be a challenge for the uninitiated. However, we need to know how to properly maintain our vehicle unless you enjoy paying for expensive repairs.
One of the key ingredients to your vehicle’s engine is the fuel. Of course, we know that our cars and trucks need fuel in order to run correctly. Thus, we need to be wary of anything that
might affect the fuel’s flow to the engine. With that said, keeping an eye on the fuel line is a must.
For today’s article, we’ll share some maintenance tips for your vehicle’s fuel line. While not all issues are severe, there are some that can result in an expensive fuel line repair.
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One of the best ways to ensure that your fuel system is in tip-top shape is to do regular inspections. Here are the important parts that need to be inspected on a regular basis:
- Out of all the parts in the fuel system, the filter is the one that needs to be inspected and replaced the most often. As a good rule of thumb, your filter must be replaced every ten to fifteen thousand miles.
- The hoses that connect to the components in the engine bay must also be inspected regularly. A good time to do this is when the car undergoing a professional service.
- If you see that fuel is leaking under the vehicle, the hard fuel lines must be checked immediately.
- The car’s fuel injectors must be inspected every year. However, if you see some problems with the fuel delivery, it’s a good idea to call a mechanic.
- The fuel pump itself will last you a long while, about 100,000 miles. However, if you notice any surging fuel towards the engine or it fails to deliver enough fuel, an inspection should be in order regardless of mileage.
- The fuel tank will last you at least 10 years. To prolong the longevity of the tank, keep moisture and water away at all cost.
Regular maintenance and inspections will greatly help in ensuring that your fuel system lasts and provide your vehicle with reliable performance.
Symptoms of a Failing Fuel Line
When dealing with fuel lines, you will surely come across the fuel injection lines. These look similar in appearance and purpose regular fuel hoses. However, the injection lines are reinforced with additional layers that enable them to hold higher pressures that are injected by fuel injection systems.
A bad fuel injection line can result in performance issues and may even render the car undrivable. Before you resort to a fuel line repair, you need to be able to recognize a few symptoms of a potential problem.
1. Fuel Odor
One of the first symptoms of a fuel line issue is if there’s a smell coming from the vehicle.
Over time, the fuel hoses will experience dryness and may start leaking in the form of fuel vapors. The small leaks that discharge fuel vapors will result in a faint (or sometimes strong) gasoline odor. If left unattended, these small leaks will turn into larger leaks that can result in a more significant problem.
2. Hard Starting, Engine Misfires, and Stalling
If the vehicle is experiencing performance issues like stalling, engine misfires, and more, then there’s a good chance that there’s an issue with the fuel line.
When there’s any sort of leak in the vehicle’s fuel lines, the overall performance of the fuel system and the engine can be compromised. A worn or damaged fuel hose will result in a leak that can lead to performance issues like misfires, stalling, can even stop the vehicle from running at all.
3. Fuel Leaks
This symptom is a bit of a no-brainer but it’s still worth mentioning. If there’s a visible fuel leak coming from the vehicle, then you have a serious problem at hand.
A fuel leak is usually caused by ruptured or worn out fuel lines. The damaged fuel lines will produce drips or even a puddle of fuel below the car. Depending on which fuel lines are leaking, the drips or puddles will usually be found at the front or back of the vehicle.
Larger leaks will produce visible puddles which will undoubtedly lead to performance issues. It goes without saying that this should be attended as quickly as possible as it’s not
just an inconvenient thing but a safety hazard as well.
In general, fuel lines can last well into high mileage services. However, that doesn’t mean that they will not eventually break down or be subjected to wear-and-tear. Any problem with the fuel line must be addressed as soon as possible before it transforms into a bigger issue. If you suspect that your vehicle is having serious issues, it’s always a good idea to call a professional mechanic.
So when a fuel line fails, what do you do? When it comes to fuel line repair, you have three main options:
Option 1: Use a pre-bent line to replace the entire fuel line
Fuel lines can be bought from car dealers and aftermarket sources. You have the option of replacing the entire line by yourself using a pre-bent line but know that this is a very expensive and most labor-intensive way. However, this option is also considered the best since it lasts longer, restores the vehicle to like-new condition, and highly prevents another leak accident.
However, this option is not available for all vehicles.
Option 2: Bend your own lines
This is a good option if you have no problem investing in bending and flaring tools.
If you plan to go down this route, secure a tool that can quickly disconnect fittings. The tool kits are known to be expensive but you are effectively increasing productivity since you don’t have to wait for parts. However, make sure that you have an assortment of basic fittings on hand.
This is an option for more advanced mechanics.
Option 3: Use nylon tubing
One of the best options for replacing a metal fuel line is a nylon tubing plus some specific fittings. The nylon tubing can be used for the entirety of the fuel line or only a section. Many experts recommend this method because it’s fairly cost-effective and good time-efficient repair when you don’t have access to a pre-bent fuel line.
However, you will need to have the appropriate fittings, factory-style quick disconnect fittings that can be connected with metal lines or can replace a part of the line.
This is more of a stop-gap solution, instead of a more permanent one. But it’s still a good option as it lets you get back on the road.
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A vehicle will show symptoms if there are problems.
The fuel line system is really no different. As the owner, you need to be on the lookout for these signs in order to prevent an expensive fuel line repair. Keep an eye out for symptoms
like poor fuel economy, engine misfires, and hard starting.
The expenses involved in repairing the fuel line or the entire fuel system for that matter are the stuff that you tell around the campfire. Depending on the severity of the damage, the repairs can really put a dent on a household’s budget.
So the best way to avoid, or at least minimize, any expensive repair is to perform proper maintenance and cleaning on a regular basis. Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape will not just improve its performance but it can help maximize the return on your original investment. Proper fuel system maintenance will enable you to get the most out of your vehicle investment.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you prevent expensive fuel repair.
If you have any questions about this guide or fuel lines in general, feel free to drop a question through the comments section below!