How to Replace a Fuel Filter on a 2002 Saturn SL1

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A vehicle's fuel filter is designed to keep dirt and debris from entering your 2002 Saturn SL1's gasoline tank. If dirt particles are allowed to enter into the fuel system, the damage to your car would require unnecessary repair costs. If your filter is old, it may be struggling to do its job against the residue that has built up over time. Your engine will run much more smoothly if the fuel filter is changed routinely every 30,000 miles. This task can be accomplished in a short amount of time with only a few tools that are probably already in your garage.

Things You'll Need

  • Car jack
  • Jack stands
  • Safety glasses
  • Petroleum-safe gloves
  • Drip pan
  • Two pairs needle-nose pliers
  • Remove the fuel relay fuse from its outlet in the fuse box. The plastic fuse box is located on the floor of your Saturn, in the area between the two front seats.

  • Run your engine until it stalls, allowing the pressure in the fuel lines to run out. This will prevent an excessive amount of fuel from squirting out during the fuel filter changing procedure.

  • Elevate the driver's rear side of your car using your car jack. Support your jack with jack stands to prevent injury.

  • Identify your fuel filter by looking under your car at the fuel lines near the back tire on the driver's side. The fuel filter is shaped like a cylinder, held by a bracket and has two lines extending from each side.

  • Place the drip pan beneath the fuel filter so that it can catch any fuel that may spill during the change.

  • Squeeze the two tabs that attach the fuel filter to the fuel lines. If the tabs are difficult to pinch, use the needle-nose pliers to firmly grasp them. The tabs should be either green or white.

  • Remove the fuel filter and set it on the ground facing the same direction it was placed in the bracket. This way, when you mount the new filter, you can refer to the old filter's direction to be sure you are installing it correctly.

  • Push the new filter up into the brackets using the two tabs as guides to match up with the fuel lines. You will hear a click when the tabs have secured the filter into place.

  • Wipe your work area with the shop rags in any spots that fuel may have leaked out.

  • Remove the drip pan, pliers and shop rags from beneath your car.

  • Take the jack stands out from beneath your car in preparation for lowering it back down.

  • Use the car jack to lower your car, being sure that no children or animals are nearby during this step.

  • Reattach the fuel relay fuse in the front floor compartment.

  • Start your engine repeatedly until it cranks up. Fuel is working its way through the system and to the engine during this step, so allow a few seconds between each try. When the motor starts up, your Saturn's new fuel filter is working properly.

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