How To Replace The Fuel Filter Of A First Generation Ford Focus

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The Ford Focus is an economical car. First generation models can get upwards of 30 miles per gallon, and their lifetime maintenance costs tend to be low. That said, you can save even more on service and maintenance by doing some simple tasks yourself. Replacing the fuel filter in a Ford Focus is one of those money-saving tasks.

You’ll generally want to change the fuel filter every 30,000 miles — so maybe every two or so years, depending on your driving volume. The filter is replaceable on 2000-05 models. In 2009, Ford started using a permanent filter which is part of the fuel pump module.

To change the fuel filter, you’ll need a replacement fuel filter and a socket wrench set.  You’ll also need a good quality floor jack and jackstands, or a set of good quality drive-on ramps.

You’ll also need nitrile or neoprene gloves since gasoline is tough on skin, safety goggles to avoid getting gasoline in your eyes, and a some sort of catch can, since there will be some gasoline in the old filter.

Warning! Before starting any work on or near the fuel system, remember, never smoke anywhere near the fuel system or have any type of flame or spark near it!

Warning! Gasoline is highly flammable. Be prepared for fuel spills, clean them up immediately and dispose of gasoline-soaked towels safely. Materials with gasoline on them can catch fire spontaneously.

The fuel system is pressurized, so you’ll have to relieve that pressure before you open any part of the fuel system. Find the fuse box. Inside the fuse box, locate the fuel pump fuse. You will be able to find it based on the diagram on the fuse box cover or by consulting Chilton’s online database. Remove the fuel pump fuse.

Start the engine and allow it to run until it stalls. Crank it for 5 seconds more to make sure all pressure is relieved. It may not start at all. In either case, this will relieve the fuel pressure.

The fuel filter should be on the passenger side, in the area of the rear suspension, near the leading edge of the fuel tank.

If you’re using a floor jack and jackstands, place the automatic transaxle in Park or the manual transaxle in 1st gear. Firmly set the parking brake, lift the passenger’s side of the car at the jack point, which should be indicated by an arrow or triangle shape underneath the car. Once elevated, place the jack stands under the car to ensure it doesn’t fall or slip. If you’re using ramps, drive onto the ramps until the rear of the car is securely supported. Place the automatic transaxle in Park or the manual transaxle in 1st gear. Firmly set the parking brake.

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Ford Focus evaporative emission tube

This is the evaporative emission tube used on some 2000-04 Ford Focus models. Disconnect this first.

Fuel filter location for Ford Focus, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 model years

This is the fuel filter location and fuel lines (arrows) for the 2000-04 Ford Focus models.

Location of the fuel filter and fuel lines for the 2005 Ford Focus. Connected to the fuel filter will be the fuel lines (arrows).

This is the fuel filter location and the fuel lines (see arrows) for the 2005 Ford Focus.

The fuel lines (see arrows) connect to the fuel filter. On 2000-04 models, there can be 4 types of quick-release couplings:

Fuel filter quick release couplings

Fuel filter quick release couplings 2

Fuel filter quick release couplings 3

Fuel filter quick release couplings 4

On 2005 models, disconnect the fuel line by depressing this type of quick release tab.

On 2005 Ford Focus models, disconnect the fuel line by depressing this type of quick release tab.

2005 Ford Focus fuel line quick release tab.

Depending on the model year, there will also be an evaporative emissions vapor line. Disconnect that as well.

The fuel filter will be secured to the car using a bracket. Using a wrench, remove the fuel filter bracket. At this point, you can easily remove the fuel filter.

Image showing the bolt that secures the fuel filter bracket

This is the fuel filter bracket bolt for the 2005 Ford Focus.

Place the new filter in the bracket and bolt it in place. Make sure the filter is facing the correct direction. New filters usually have an arrow to note this.

Lubricate the fuel tube fittings with clean engine oil. Align the fuel tube fittings and press them together until they seat. It will make a click sound. Then test by pulling on the fittings to make sure they are securely connected.

Reconnect the battery ground cable and re-insert the fuel pump fuse.

You can turn the car on and check the area under the fuel filter for any leaks. If you find leaks, turn the car off, remove the fuel pump fuse and disconnect the ground cable. Investigate the source of leaks, such as a loose connection or improperly fitted fuel filter.

When everything looks good, carefully lower the car from the jackstands or drive it off the ramps.

If there are no leaks, then congratulations. You’ve successfully replaced your fuel filter. Subscribe to ChiltonDIY for your Ford Focus to find detailed instructions, images, and specifications from our certified expert technicians on maintaining, servicing and repairing your Ford Focus.  Check out our DIY Ford Repair Manual.

16 responses to “How To Replace The Fuel Filter Of A First Generation Ford Focus”

  1. rick doans says:

    95 ford ranger changed fuel filter and it will not run no it tries to start

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Rick.
      I would check the fuel pressure. Have you checked the inertia switch? It is located on the right passenger side above the carpet. Some times they go bad or trip, push down on the reset button.

  2. Paul welling says:

    Hi there, i have a ford focus 58 model. Will it still need a fuel filter change every 30,000?

    many thanks

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi there. Are you in the UK? Is your Focus a 2008 model?
      Ford uses a “world engine” for the Focus, so the model 58 would likely have the same maintenance intervals as the US 2008 Ford Focus model.
      To confirm, check the Scheduled Maintenance Guide for your 58 model. In the US the Guide is available online at no cost from the Ford website at Look for the link to the Owner’s Manuals.
      The maintenance schedules are included in the ChiltonDIY subscription for the 2008 Ford Focus.

  3. steven says:

    The only way to tell for sure is to remove the filter and blow through it. If there’s little resistance, the filter is still okay and does not need to be replaced. But if there’s more than minimal resistance, the filter is dirty and should be replaced.

  4. P. Saldana says:

    Thanks a lot for your help, I had a hard time to find the the fuel filter but after read your article it take more time to take off the tire that find the filter and replaced it! thanks again for your excellent help! …Mission Viejo California 04-27-2013

  5. John Bowden says:

    Always enjoy working on my “jalopy”. Had to look this one up for my niece who drives an 01 focus to and from school. It did take awhile to get to the filter, my brother borrowed my 3t hydraulic jack, had to improvise this time. Thanks.

  6. Mark says:

    My 2009 Ford Focus has no visible fuel filter. It is incorporated in the fuel pump, as a backwash filter in the suction area. All the dirt remain inside the gas tank, and the promised 40 mpd from Ford result 27mpg and the numbers are going smaller and smaller. The gasoline isn’t perfect and the fuel filter on line has to be replaced every 30 K miles. To replace the fuel pump unit in a Ford Focus cost $800. Isn’t this world a creasy place between illusions and deception?

  7. who will buy my auto says:

    Terrific blog. Motivates me to begin writing articles once more

  8. Leonard says:

    The 2005 Ford Focus I have does not have a fuel filter but there is canister where the filter should have been. The canister is connected to a fuel line from the engine and one connected to the return inlet of the tank. “Purge Fuel Tank” is written on the canister. I have replaced the fuel pump with a new pump re-connected all the fuel lines electricals and fuel tank in place….Do I need to prime the pump other componenbts before the car will start…at the moment the engine turn over will not start at all.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Leonard.
      Ford’s instructions do not indicate any need to “prime” the pump.
      You should hear the pump try to engage when you cycle the key to the “on” position before turning the key to the start position and engaging the starter. If you don’t hear it, then the pump is not engaging for some reason. Check fuses and connectors. Also, check the inertia switch. It may need to be reset. Sometimes it helps to cycle the key to the “on” position two or three times to allow the pump to engage and pressurize the fuel system before starting the vehicle after working on the fuel system.

  9. classmate says:

    where i can locate the fuel filter for ford focus 2007? if it is incorporated at fuel pump, how many miles before i need to replace it? can i replace only the filter or the whole pump and filter?

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi there.

      The fuel filter is located underneath the vehicle in the area of the rear suspension. It should be replaced every 30,000 miles, and you can replace just the filter. It is not integral with the fuel pump.

  10. viv says:

    My 2000 ford focus was turning over slow to get it started crank several times this went on for a few days so I changed out the battery. It started right up I drove a few feet an it died stated drove it a mile an it died. I was able to drive it home. Now it cranks but won’t start at all spark us are all good.

    • ChiltonDIY says:

      Hi Viv!

      Check the inertia switch: The inertia fuel shutoff switch cuts off the electrical supply to the fuel pump in the event of an accident and is located in the front right-hand footwell behind the cowl side trim panel.
      Test your fuel pressure, install a fuel pressure gauge to see if the fuel system pressure reads between 35 and 60 psi. A pressure that’s too high is an indication that the pressure regulator is malfunctioning. Pressure that’s too low indicates that the fuel filter is clogged or that the fuel pump is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
      Scan your Focus to see if any diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) have set, this may help pinpoint your problem.
      One last thing, check your anti-theft system. Changing the battery could have caused the anti-theft system to lose its memory.

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