The function of the fuel filter is pretty self-explanatory: it filters your fuel. The fuel filter is in the fuel line somewhere between the fuel tank and the engine. Both gas and diesel vehicles use fuel filters.
Generally speaking, there’s not a lot of dirt in our Kent WA auto fuel supply, but there is enough that you want to screen it out. The problem actually gets worse the older your vehicle becomes. That’s because dirt, rust, and other contaminants will settle out of the fuel and onto the bottom of the fuel tank. After your SUV is five years or older, it can actually have a fair amount of sediment built up.
That just means that the fuel filter has to work harder as your SUV ages. It’ll get clogged sooner and need to be replaced more often.