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Signs that Your Fuel Pump Is Failing

Educational  ·  January 17, 2022

Signs that Your Fuel Pump Is Failing

What Is a Fuel Pump?

Fuel pumps are critical function in ICE vehicles. It is a fuel pump function to feed the internal combustion engine (ICE) with fuel at the appropriate pressure to ensure smooth operation. 

When you turn the key on, you will hear the quiet whine or hum of an activated and pressurised fuel pump. Most modern cars have an electric fuel pump, while older models will likely have a mechanical type.

How Do These Types of Fuel Pumps Differ?

Mechanical fuel pumps are located on the side of an engine and found in cars using carburettors. The pump suctions the fuel from the bottom of the fuel tank and supplies it into the combustion chamber.

On the other hand, electric fuel pumps are mounted inside fuel tanks and used in cars with fuel injection systems. They are equipped with an electromagnetic motor that forces fuel to the engine at high pressures. 

Mechanical pumps are reliable and generally easy to diagnose and fix since they have few moving parts. They are activated by the motion of the engine.

Conversely, electric pumps tend to fail more as they are connected to an electronic control system and have more moving parts than their mechanical counterpart do. If your car uses the electric type and one of its components fails, the whole pump will likely stop working, too. 

Signs that Your Fuel Pump Is Failing

Regardless of type of fuel pump your car has, they manifest the same signs of failure. We've listed fuel pump symptoms below, so if you notice your car acting up and showing these signs, waste no time and head to your trusted mechanic. 

1. Loud whining 

An inordinately loud whine or droning often signifies a problem, such as lack of fuel, a damaged pump, or spoiled fuel inside the system.

This audible warning is your car's way of telling you that you have a bad fuel pump. If it has clicked over 160,000 km, it's highly likely that you need a fuel pump replacement. 

2. Struggling to start 

The wear and tear of the pump will be parallel to the aging of your vehicle since you send it to work each time you turn on the ignition key. Over time, it weakens and causes the car to have a difficult start. It will still work in this condition, but your vehicle will require more cranking than usual.

3. Sputtering engine

When you drive at high speeds and notice your engine sputtering, it's a sign of fuel pump problem and possibly impending failure. It could mean that the pump is incapable of supplying the engine with a stream of fuel at the appropriate pressure. 

4. Frequent stalling

If your car frequently stalls and this happens at high temperatures, it’s very likely a fuel pump problem. 

5. Losing power

When you load up your car, accelerate it, or drive it up a hill, you're placing increased fuel demands on it. A weakened pump will not be capable of keeping up with these demands and thus cause the car to lose power. 

So, if your vehicle loses power every time you place it under these situations, it's high time to make that repair shop appointment.

6. Sudden surging

If you notice sudden surging when you drive, it could be caused by irregular resistance inside the fuel pump motor. Take note of these situations, and if they happen too often, it calls for a visit to the mechanic. 

7. Frequent refilling

Are you refilling more often than usual? If so, the problem could be a valve in the fuel pump that does not open completely, causing fuel to spill over the engine system and get wasted.

8. Failure to start

Have you earlier noticed all those symptoms yet turned a deaf ear and ignored them? Well, you certainly can’t ignore your car this time – when your car refuses to start. 

You can turn the key all you want, but the engine will stubbornly refuse to start because there’s not enough fuel to run. 

It can be caused by a fuel pump failure, although other issues may also cause an engine to falter this way. So, it would be a good idea to have your car seen and diagnosed by a pro. 

The Takeaway

Generally, a fuel pump may last up to 160,000 km, so problems with it and fuel pump replacement will usually occur beyond this mark. 

If you're looking for a new fuel pump or other car parts, you can check out CarPart AU. You may search our classifieds or just send us a request about the auto parts you need so that we can link you to our suppliers nationwide. 

By Andrijana Pavlovic

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