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8 Common Symptoms of Faulty Fuel Pump

Cars with a conventional internal combustion engine or ICE under the hood require fuel, usually gasoline, to power the drivetrain. However, you might have noticed, the engine for most commuter and passenger cars is at the front, whereas the tank itself is at the rear of the car, buried deep beneath the chassis. This necessitates the use of fuel pumps, which are imperative in carrying the fuel from the tank to the engine. Obviously, without a pump, there is no way that fuel itself would travel to the engine, and it is these fuel pumps that keep the car well-fueled even when the level of gas in the tank might be extremely low. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the common symptoms of a faulty fuel pump that can tell you when it might be time to switch or swap it out for a better or new one. 

Starting with its utility and usability, it’s important to note here that fuel pumps also regulate fuel pressure to the engine, which helps with regulating the acceleration and the consumption of the engine. Therefore, while it seems logical that a faulty fuel pump might not allow a car to start at all since there wont be any fuel to power the engine, it doesn’t usually happen, and a faulty fuel pump will present with the following symptoms. 

Also Read: The Impact of Fuel Quality on Engine Performance

Eight common symptoms of faulty fuel pump

While fuel pumps are designed to be long-lasting and effective across the lifetime of the vehicle itself, it is entirely possible that either bad fuel or manufacturing defects may cause it to malfunction. Since cars usually don’t have sensors to let the driver know that the fuel pump might be experiencing issues, these common symptoms will help you gauge whether or not the pump will have to be replaced. 

Power loss

The first and most obvious sign, which is usually shared with a myriad of problems affecting both the fuel system of the vehicle as well as the drivetrain, is power loss. This is when the engine stops performing at all due to the unavailability of the fuel. Now, whether that might be due to a faulty fuel pump or due to any other reason, it’s hard to tell just by that symptom alone. However, with a fuel pump issue, power loss is usually also accompanied by a power surge, which is the exact opposite of power loss. This is when it becomes obvious that there might be something wrong with the fuel pump of the car and it might need to be swapped out for a new one. 

Sputtering engine

A spitting engine is a common occurrence, especially if you have an older car or have recently swapped or rebuilt an engine. However, with fuel pump issues, an engine will sputter, and that is usually because of the fact that the fuel pump is unable to provide a steady stream of fuel to the engine to keep it running. It is usually accompanied by a jerk as power monetarily goes out and the engine essentially restarts once enough fuel is provided to it. If it happens during power-intensive driving or under high-speed conditions, there is a good chance that there might be an issue with the fuel pump, and it might need repairs or to be replaced altogether. 

Car doesn’t start

While a faulty fuel pump will only momentarily affect the performance of the engine, a failed or dead pump wont be able to function at all, which means that once you go to start the vehicle, it wont crank and start, since the engine is being deprived of fuel. While you may hear the click of the ignition and other electrics, since there wont be any fuel in the engine and nor any way for the fuel to be supplied from the gas tank, the engine wont turn over and start, and while an engine not starting can be indicative of things that could be wrong with the car, if all else is okay and working fine, it might be the fuel pump. 

Fuel efficiency issues

A fuel pump regulates the flow of fuel from the gas tank to the engine, depending on how much fuel is required by the engine at any given moment. Should the gas pedal be pressed lightly, it will deliver less fuel to the engine, correlating the requirement of the driver with the positioning of the gas pedal. This means that fuel pump will also be very relevant when it comes to fuel efficiency, and should you notice a sudden drop in the fuel efficiency of the engine, there might be something wrong with the fuel pump. When it malfunctions, it might start feeding more fuel to the engine, absolutely decimating fuel economy. In this case, it might be time to replace the fuel pump. 

Sudden acceleration/ deceleration

In a similar vein as some of the other issues delineated beforehand, it is also possible for a malfunctioning fuel pump to cause sudden acceleration or deceleration when the gas pedal is pressed. This is because the fuel pump is a sensitive, calibrated instrument that releases fuel as per the input from the driver. When it is damaged or isn’t performing properly, it may malfunction, causing sudden acceleration when pressed, or, if it isn’t able to supply fuel properly to the engine, the car will suddenly decelerate since it won’t have any fuel to work with. Should this happen regularly, it’s time to get that fuel pump checked and preferably replaced if it can’t be repaired. 

Acceleration issues

When you press the gas pedal of your car, the car lunges forward since it gets more fuel to work with, consequently delivering more power. With a faulty fuel pump, that isn’t the case, since when you push the accelerator, the pedal seems to have little effect. Now, there might be debris lodged within the fuel pump, or it may be damaged. Whatever the case might be, acceleration issues usually only surface when the fuel pump of a vehicle might be damaged, and even if it has just some debris lodged in it, it might be time to get it cleaned out. 

Engine misfire

In extreme cases, where a fuel pump isn’t working correctly and the driver continues operating the vehicle with a faulty fuel pump, the engine may develop a misfire. This is when fuel isn’t supplied to a cylinder properly, and it either fails to fire at all or fires too late, affecting both the balance and the performance of the engine. In this case, a misfire can be costly fix, requiring a lot of labour. If your car has developed a misfire, it might be due to the fuel pump, which will need to be replaced as soon as possible. 

Mechanical noises from tank/ pump

If it isn’t working properly, there is a good chance it’ll make some noise it isn’t supposed to make. While modern fuel pumps have fewer moving parts than their older counterparts, a fuel pump is still a mechanical device, and should you hear noise coming from either the tank or the pump during operation, it might be a symptom of a faulty fuel pump that isn’t performing adequately. 

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Magnum Autoclub treats your car to a special level of care, one that makes it feel like new again. For those of us who treat our cars like the machine that gets them from point A to point B, they can get a bit hairy, and maintenance for our cars is something that eludes most of us. However, Magnum Autoclub returns that new car feel to you and treats your car to another level of care. From engine maintenance to tires, oil and fluid top-ups, Magnum takes your car to the next level. Trust us with your car and get ready to drive home in a brand-new-feel car.

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