How to Check Fuel System Lines


Fuel lines in your vehicle are in charge of carrying filtered gasoline from the tank all the way up to the carburetor or injectors, ready to be sprayed into the intake manifold. Unfortunately, wear and tear, vibration and hard driving conditions abet the development of rust, physical deterioration and leaks around fuel lines without warning. Following these steps will help you maintain a healthy supply of fuel to the engine and keep its fuel system in good condition.

Things You'll Need

  • Jack and two jack stands
  • Make sure the vehicle has not been driven during the last three hours and that the engine is cool.

  • Open the hood and take a close look at the feed and return fuel hoses going to the carburetor or injection system. Fuel hoses should be away from hot and moving engine parts. Make sure the hoses are not damaged, deteriorated, hard or brittle. If any of these conditions exist, replace the hose.

  • Locate the fuel filter and inspect the fuel lines going to and coming out of the filter. Make sure they are in good condition and the fittings on the filter are tight and secured. Look around the filter for signs of gasoline leaks between the fuel lines and filter connections. Replace any damaged or broken fittings when necessary.

  • Raise the left or right side of the vehicle--whichever gives you better access to the fuel lines from underneath the vehicle--and support it safely by placing a jack stand at the front and another one at the back.

  • Follow the two fuel metal or plastic lines coming out of the engine compartment going all the way back to the tank. Make sure the lines are not kinked, rusted or leaking. If you find any sign of deterioration replace the line.

  • Make sure all fuel line hold-down clamps and brackets are in place and secured.

  • Inspect the fuel tank filler neck going from the tank to the fuel feed cap. Make sure the hose and clamps are in good condition.

  • Take the filler cap off and inspect it closely for signs of deterioration. The seal should be in good condition to prevent fuel spilling out of the tank and vapors from venting into the atmosphere. Replace if necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use synthetic rubber hose or double-wall steel tubing to replace fuel hoses or lines as appropriate. Fuel may corrode other type of material in a short time and generate leaks unless it is original equipment manufacturer (OEM) approved.
  • Consult your vehicle service manual to locate and identify engine parts and components. You can buy a service manual at most auto parts stores or consult one for free at most public libraries.
  • Anytime you detect a strong gasoline smell around or while driving your vehicle, inspect the fuel system as soon as possible for a possible leak or take the car to an auto shop for inspection. Gasoline leaking onto a hot engine or component may cause a fire.
  • Take extra precautions whenever working on your fuel system, gasoline is very flammable. Do not allow smoking near the fuel system or work near natural gas appliances with a live pilot.

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