A Deeper Look at Fuel Pump Issues and Repairs

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When you hear the term “fuel pump,” your first thought might be the pump at the gas station, so may surprise you to learn the fuel pump is actually an essential component in your vehicle.

The fuel pump is responsible for sending fuel from the gas tank to the engine. Just like any other component, fuel pumps can wear out over time. Often, it’s caused by a faulty electric motor, a bad sensor, a valve issue, or a relay. When this happens, the best solution is to replace the pump assembly. Generally, when one component fails, the others aren’t far behind! Having the entire assembly replaced saves time and money.

A Labor-Intensive Process

In most vehicles, the fuel pump is located inside the fuel tank; this means we typically have to remove the fuel tank in order to replace the pump. As you might imagine, this can be a pretty labor-intensive process! There are heat shields to remove, retaining straps, all the EVAP lines, fuel lines, and electrical connections – in addition to draining the fuel safely from the tank. Some vehicles have an external fuel filter that should be replaced at the same time. The fuel tank may also need to be replaced in some vehicles due to design specifications, corrosion, or damage.

How to Make Your Fuel Pump Last Longer

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make your fuel pump last longer. One of the biggest causes of a faulty or worn fuel pump is contamination in the fuel tank. Sometimes the contamination can be caused by the fuel itself, so make sure you’re buying gas at a reputable station. Older vehicles tend to have more sediment in the fuel tank due to years of accumulated rust or corrosion, so you may want to think about having it cleaned or replaced.

Another thing you can do is make sure you refill your tank before it drops below a quarter full. When the tank runs low, the pump has to work harder to pull the fuel from the bottom—and there’s no way to cool it—which leads to premature wear. If your tank stays at a quarter full or above, the fuel pump will stay submerged and lubricated, and the fuel will have the opportunity to cool down.

Signs You May Need a Fuel Pump Replacement

Here are some common signs your fuel pump may be failing:

  • Your car won’t start. There are many reasons why a vehicle won’t start, but if your lights and electronics are working, the fluid levels are appropriate, and you can rule out other common issues, you may have a fuel pump problem on your hands.
  • Your vehicle sputters or jerks when you drive at high speeds. This issue occurs when the fuel pump is unable to deliver a consistent flow of gasoline from the tank to the engine. Sometimes air will enter the engine instead of gas, causing a “hiccup” or sputtering.
  • Decreased gas mileage. This can also be linked to a variety of issues, but if you notice it in conjunction with the other signs, it’s most likely related to the fuel pump. If you’re filling up more than usual and haven’t made any other changes, it’s best to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
  • Loss of power while accelerating or sudden acceleration. A failing fuel pump means the fuel to the engine isn’t being regulated as it should. This can lead to sudden bursts of acceleration as a result of the engine receiving too much fuel. Likewise, it can also mean that not enough gas is reaching the engine, which can cause a loss of power while accelerating. Either situation can be hazardous on the road, so it’s best to have it addressed as soon as possible.

Need a Fuel Pump Replacement?

The average fuel pump should last for the majority of the life of your vehicle, but that’s not to say repairs can’t happen sooner! When the day comes that you need a replacement, you can rely on EuroCar Service to get the job done properly and according to your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.

We’ll perform a complete inspection and replace the entire assembly, taking care to install a pump that’s compatible with your fuel type. For example, if you have a FlexFuel vehicle that can run with up to 85% ethanol content, we’ll ensure your new fuel system components (including the pump) are able to withstand the corrosive effects of high alcohol content fuel.

For high-quality repairs for your Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Land Rover, Mini-Cooper, Smart Car, Saab, Volvo, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Fiat, or other European make, give the experts at EuroCar a call! Schedule your appointment today at (206) 527-8828 or request an appointment online.