How to Troubleshoot Fuel Pump Ticking


An electric fuel pump is standard equipment on most new vehicles today. They are manufactured for aftermarket applications as well. This is good because on many older vehicles you can no longer find a replacement fuel pump. Sometimes the electric fuel pump will make some funny ticking sounds. You can troubleshoot the ticking sound from your fuel pump right at home using a few basic tools from your local hardware store.

Things You'll Need

  • Vehicle keys
  • Flashlight
  • Screwdriver set
  • End wrench set
  • Park your vehicle in a comfortable place to work and set the parking brake.

  • Lift the hood on your vehicle and locate the fuel pump. You can use your flashlight to help you if it is dark. An easy way to locate the fuel pump is to turn the key to the first position and you will hear the fuel pump ticking.

  • Examine the fuel pump and notice the fuel line. A fuel pump will always make some noise when it is working to pump fuel. It will tick loudly if it is not pumping fuel properly. Look for a kink in the fuel line. A kink in a fuel line will keep the fuel pump from getting the fuel pumped through.

  • Look at the location of the fuel pump. If you installed an after market fuel pump in too high a location, then the pump is working harder to pump the fuel. If the fuel pump is located much higher than the engine, it can cause it to tick loudly.

  • Locate the fuel filter. The fuel filter is usually near the fuel tank or under the vehicle in a fuel line. You can locate the fuel pump by following the fuel line back to the tank from the fuel pump.

  • The fuel filter is normally attached to the fuel line with hose clamps or removable nuts. Use your screwdriver set to remove the clamps or your end wrench to remove the bolts. Remove the front clamp or nut first and see if fuel is flowing through the fuel filter. A clogged fuel filter will cause the fuel pump to tick because the pump is not getting fuel. It will tick loudly until fuel is flowing through. If none of the above fix your fuel pump ticking then it is time to replace it with a new one.

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  • Dan Marsh; Dan the Tire Man; Julian, California
  • Photo Credit fuel cover image by Kim Andreas Jönsson from
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