How to Replace a Fuel Filter on a 2003 Buick Regal

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Even though General Motors trimmed down the standard equipment for its 2003 Buick Regal model, the 3.8L engine remained the same. The powerful V6 engine requires an unobstructed fuel filter to keep the amount of fuel flowing as needed from the fuel tank. Before your Regal’s engine begins to fuel-starve and lose power, replace the old filter at home. You can perform this task in a Saturday morning using a few tools you might already own.

Things You'll Need

  • Wrench
  • Ratchet
  • Socket set
  • Shop rags
  • Small flat-head screwdriver
  • Floor jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • 2 chocks
  • Open-end wrench
  • Flare wrench
  • Ratchet extension
  • New engine oil

Removing the Fuel Filter

  • Park your Buick on level ground, release the parking brake and set the transmission to Neutral.

  • Detach the ground battery cable using a wrench. This is the black cable that connects to the post with the minus (-) sign next to it.

  • Loosen the fuel filler cap.

  • Open the hood and remove the engine cover using a ratchet and socket.

  • Locate the Schrader valve on the fuel rail that feeds the fuel injectors. The valve is similar to the air valve on your Regal's tires. Wrap a shop rag around the valve and depress the small stem inside with a small flat-head screwdriver. Use the rag to catch the spray of fuel that will come out of the valve. This will depressurize the fuel system.

  • Lift the rear of your car using a floor jack, position a jack stand on each side under the frame, lower your car over the stands for support and chock the front wheels.

  • Locate the fuel filter towards the center of the crossmember in front of the fuel tank. Wipe clean the inlet and outlet fuel lines in each end of the fuel filter, using a shop rag.

  • Wrap the shop rag around the fitting of the inlet fuel line, which connects the filter to the fuel tank. Press in the fitting tabs and pull the line off the filter nipple. Use the rag to absorb the residual fuel in the line.

  • Hold the hex nut molded into the outlet side of the fuel filter with an open-end wrench and disconnect the outlet fuel line retaining nut with a flare wrench. Use a shop rag to absorb the residual fuel in the line.

  • Loosen the filter mounting bracket with a ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

  • Remove the fuel filter from the vehicle.

Installing the New Filter

  • Install the new filter with the flow arrow on the filter’s body pointing towards the engine.

  • Secure the filter to its mounting bracket using the ratchet, ratchet extension and socket.

  • Apply a drop of new engine oil to the threads of the outlet fuel line retaining nut and fasten the retaining nut into the hex nut molded into the fuel filter. Hold the filter hex nut with the open-end wrench and tighten the fuel line retaining nut with the flare wrench.

  • Apply a drop of new engine oil to the fuel filter nipple and push the inlet fuel line fitting against the filter nipple until the fitting tabs snap in place. Slightly pull on the line fitting and make sure it has locked.

  • Lower your Regal and remove the floor jack and jack stands.

  • Apply the parking brakes and remove the chocks.

  • Tighten the fuel filler cap.

  • Attach the ground battery cable using the wrench.

  • Get behind the steering wheel and turn the ignition on for two seconds. Turn the ignition off for 10 seconds and then back on.

  • Check for fuel leaks at the fuel filter and then turn off the ignition.

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References

  • "General Motors: Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina, Olds Cutlass Supreme, Pontiac Grand Prix: Automotive Repair Manual"; Robert Maddox and John H. Haynes; 2008
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