Filters are a regular maintenance requirement (the interval depends on your vehicle) and are often (wrongly) blamed for other fuel delivery problems. Rarely will replacing a filter “fix” any problems you might be having.
Finding the filter is simple. On most vehicles, they are located in one of three places:
Along the frame rail between the fuel tank and the engine. On Ford pickup trucks, for example, they are located on the left (driver’s) side inside the frame rail just underneath where the driver’s door is. On many Toyota and Chevrolet trucks, they are located on the right (passenger’s) side at about the same location – the position moves with the model year, but is usually somewhere along the length of the vehicle ahead of the tank and behind the engine compartment.
On the engine, against the firewall is a common location for front-wheel-drive, fuel injected cars (most modern compact and small cars). Honda is famous for this, which makes changing the fuel filter in one an easy five minute job. The filter is often against the frame rail to at roughly the center point or just left or right of it. High pressure lines will be connected at top and bottom.
In or on top of the tank is sometimes the location for a few of the more stubborn vehicles. This makes it difficult to get to the filter, since it often requires lowering the entire fuel tank and even removing the fuel pump on some models. Intermittently, companies like Chrysler (Dodge, Plymouth) and European automakers have done this on some of their models.
Be sure to check your manual as some vehicles have more than one filter and each will have a different replacement interval. Keeping your filter properly replaced can keep other problems from happening down the road and also helps keep fuel economy and engine power at peak.