How to Troubleshoot a Cavalier Fuel System

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If you have a full tank of gasoline and your Cavalier just stops running, you could have an issue with the fuel system. Most of the fuel system problems come from the fuel pump located in the gas tank of the Cavalier, but it can be a fuel filter as well. You can troubleshoot the fuel system on the Cavalier with a few tools right at home and save yourself the cost of taking it in to the auto shop.

Things You'll Need

  • Pliers
  • Friend
  • Ignition key
  • Small container
  • Two wood blocks
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stand
  • Pop up the hood on your Cavalier and set the parking brake. Locate the fuel line that enters the injector system. You will find the line on the top of the engine. You can follow the line back under the car and see it continues back to the fuel tank if you have trouble locating it.

  • Remove the fuel line from the injector unit with the pliers by squeezing the clamp and pulling the clamp back on the line. Have your small container there to catch any fuel.

  • Have your friend turn on the key and notice if fuel starts to flow. Have your friend turn off the key quickly. If you did not have fuel flow, then move on to the next step.

  • Place two wood blocks at the left rear tire. You will place one block in front, and one behind the tire. This will keep the car from rolling.

  • Jack up the passenger rear tire with the floor jack by positioning the jack under the frame and pumping. Once the passenger rear side of the car is high enough to slide under, place the jack stand under the frame to hold the car in position.

  • Slide under the car on the passenger rear and find the fuel filter. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line under the passenger side of the Cavalier. Remove the fuel filter connection on the front side of the filter by pulling back the clip on the line with your hand. The front side of the filter is the side closer to the engine.

  • Have your friend turn the key on and off again quickly. Notice if any fuel flows out the filter. If no fuel flows out, then you have an issue with the fuel pump or the fuel filter. Remove the other side of the filter clip and remove the filter completely. Have your friend turn the key on and off again. If fuel still does not flow, then you will need to replace the fuel pump unit in the fuel tank. If fuel flows through the line, then you need to replace the fuel filter.

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References

  • Sam Smith; La Brea Tire; Los Angeles, California
  • Photo Credit pumping gas image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com
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