Your engine's fuel filter works to filter out contaminants from the fuel supply that enters your engine, ensuring that it can burn cleanly and efficiently. A clogged fuel filter can cause all sorts of issues for your engine and can severely hamper the performance of your entire vehicle. Understanding the warning signs associated with a clogged fuel filter can help you identify the issue early so that you can have a mechanic replace the filter before it poses a serious problem to your engine.

Rough Idling

One of the earliest warning signs associated with a clogged fuel filter is a rough idle, which takes the form of low RPM readings on your dashboard as well as increased noise and exhaust. This can be caused by a partially blocked flow of fuel to your engine and results in the inefficient burning of fuel – hence the rough idle. This is more than a minor issue: rough idling increases engine wear, which can make other mechanical failures significantly more likely.

Reduced Engine Responsiveness

Another easy to notice warning sign associated with a fuel filter that needs to be replaced is poor engine responsiveness. Like the above point, a clogged fuel filter will prevent fuel from flowing to your engine at the proper rate: this will become the most obvious when you are driving and try to put on a boost of speed. As the filter is clogged, fuel will not flow to your engine, which means that your vehicle will hesitate before slowly speeding up instead of surging forward. This is a serious safety concern as if you are trying to make a light, pass a car, or otherwise do something that requires a fair amount of speed, engine hesitation can make the risk of an accident much more likely. It's for this reason that you should head to a mechanic straight away as soon as you notice that your engine isn't as responsive.

Stalling or Failure to Start

A severely clogged fuel filter can literally choke your engine. This can take two main forms: the more common is your engine stalling when you drop below a certain speed since the filter is too clogged to even allow the bare minimum amount of fuel for the engine to operate to enter. The second, less common but most serious form of engine choking will result in your car not starting at all, as the fuel in your gas tank simply cannot get past the physical blockage in the fuel filter. 

Contact a company like Professional Automotive for more information and assistance.