The fuel pump maintains pressure in the fuel lines so there is always a constant flow of fuel into the engine. This ensures that the injectors work correctly, and it also allows storage of fuel in a tank below and several feet from the engine. Without a fuel pump, your car simply wouldn't run properly. If the pump starts to fail, there are several warning signs to look out for.
Loss of Power
The most common symptom of a fuel pump failure is a loss of power while driving. This occurs because there is less pressure in the fuel lines, and the engine is actually receiving less gas or intermittent streams of gas. This may happen while driving on the highway at high speeds, climbing up a hill or when you press the gas to drive away from a standing stop. A loss of power may also be attributed to faulty oxygen sensors or engine problems, but often it is the fuel pump, especially in older cars.
Engine Misfire at Startup
Another sign of a bad fuel pump is a misfiring engine which results in lurching car movements. This most often occurs when driving on the highway or at higher speeds above 50 miles per hour. The engine is actually lacking fuel so it is dying and then starting back up again. The drop in fuel pressure is the cause. Sometimes moisture and condensation will get into the tank, and cause a similar problem. Don't be fooled, however. More often than not, this is a sign the fuel pump is dying.
A no-start condition may be one of the most commonly confused symptoms of a failing fuel pump as many mechanics will tell you this could be due to the solenoid or spark plugs. However, it is often a sign the fuel pump is going bad. If your battery is charged and the car starter is firing (you hear the engine straining to start), but the engine does not turn over and start, it is probably due to a lack of fuel from the pump. To be certain, check your spark plugs and replace them if necessary. Then have the fuel pump inspected and replaced.
Empty Gas Tank
Pay special attention to the fuel pump if your car has stalled due to an empty gas tank. When the gas tank runs empty, it strains the pump and can cause it to fail. Always keep the car filled up and never try to drive on an empty tank.
- Photo Credit Saving fuel image by Katja Sucker from Fotolia.com
Symptoms of a Fuel-Pump Problem
Most of the fuel pumps used on present-day vehicles are electric and located in the fuel tank. Some vehicles use two fuel...
What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Electronic Fuel Pump?
Even for a well-trained mechanic, a weak and failing electronic fuel pump can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are easy to...
How to Troubleshoot Honda Civic Steering
The Honda Civic uses a steering rack and tie rod to help control the steering. When the steering fails or seems diminished,...
Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pump Relay
When an engine is losing power or refusing to start, the problem may be with the fuel delivery system. The fuel delivery...
What Are the Symptoms of Electric Fuel Pump Failure?
Common symptoms of electric fuel pump failure include a car that simply dies on the road, and a car that may stop...