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Advice & Tips - Fuel Contamination

This used to be the first thought some owners had years ago when there were more carburettors fitted to cars and the engine was found to be playing up.

Dirt and possibly water was suspected to have got into the carburettor which could have been picked up from a filling station.

The cure then was to clean the carburettor and fuel tank out, this then tended to lead to an improvement in the way the engine responded, if that was the only cause of the issue.

It would be nice to say that there has been a big improvement in the amount of cars being contaminated this way, with the fuel filtration systems fitted to the cars these days.

Water is always a difficult fluid to stop getting to the engine via the fuel, especially in petrol engines, as unlike diesel fuel filters, petrol engines don’t  have water traps built in.

Both petrol and diesel fuel filters are very good at filtering down to a very fine degree, but allowing the fuel to run down to a very low fuel level or even run out totally, is no good for the engine and can cause the filter system to work harder than normal.

Fine you say, that’s what it’s there for, very true, but excessive contamination caused by the above reasons, can lead to all sorts of other problems and considering that fuel filters are not always changed as regularly as we would like, especially in tank filters, it could pay to have them changed more often.


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