A fuel filter is a filter in the fuel line that screens out dirt and rust particles from the fuel, normally made into cartridges containing a filter paper. They are found in most internal combustion engines.
Fuel filters serve a vital function in today's modern, tight-tolerance engine fuel systems. Unfiltered fuel may contain several kinds of contamination, for example paint chips and dirt that has been knocked into the tank while filling, or rust caused by moisture in a steel tank. If these substances are not removed before the fuel enters the system, they will cause rapid wear and failure of the fuel pump and injectors, due to the abrasive action of the particles on the high-precision components used in modern injection systems. Fuel filters also improve performance, as the fewer contaminants present in the fuel, the more efficiently it can be burnt.
Fuel filters need to be maintained at regular intervals. This is usually a case of simply disconnecting the filter from the fuel line and replacing it with a new one, although some specially designed filters can be cleaned and reused many times. If a filter is not replaced regularly it may become clogged with contaminants and cause a restriction in the fuel flow, causing an appreciable drop in engine performance as the engine struggles to draw enough fuel to continue running normally.
An oil filter is a filter designed to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil. Oil filters are used in many different types of hydraulic machinery. A chief use of the oil filter is in internal-combustion engines in on- and off-road motor vehicles, light aircraft, and various naval vessels. Other vehicle hydraulic systems, such as those in automatic transmissions and power steering, are often equipped with an oil filter. Gas turbine engines, such as those on jet aircraft, also require the use of oil filters. Aside from these uses, oil production, transport, and recycling facilities also employ filters in the manufacturing process.