These are the most common causes of a bad fuel pump


No one wants to have car trouble, but unfortunately we do. What makes matters worse is that it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time.

Loving your car is one thing, but that doesn’t mean you have an intimate knowledge of how and how they work. Knowing what to watch or what to listen to can go a long way in keeping your car on the road.

A common vehicle problem that can throw a wrench in the works is a bad or failing fuel pump. The fuel pump supplies your gas to the engine at the required pressure.

Without this important piece of the puzzle, your car or vehicle can have major performance issues. But what are the symptoms, and how can you prevent a bad fuel pump from happening in the first place?

Let’s take a closer look at the most common causes of a bad fuel pump.

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Contamination of the fuel pump is a major problem


Via Wikimedia Commons

One of the main causes of a bad fuel pump is contamination. This can happen if debris or dirt gets into your fuel system when you are refueling or using poor quality gas. It is also possible to accumulate sludge in your tank because of the rust and hydrocarbons present in the oil.

The more water there is in your fuel, the more likely it is to have contaminants in it. This is because the water allows the microorganisms in the fuel to grow.

If you regularly drive with a low level of gasoline in your car, you could increase the risk of a bad gas pump. With the fuel level so low, any dirt or debris in your gas tank can get into the pump and wreak havoc on the system. Putting high quality gasoline in your car and keeping it full should help reduce the risk of a bad fuel pump.

Electrical problems cause bad fuel pumps

Check engine light

Via Wikimedia Commons

The fuel pumps found in most modern cars are electric and placed inside the fuel tank. By the time your ignition brings your car to life, the fuel pump should be doing its job. However, an electrical fault in the fuel pump means it will not work properly or it may stop working at all.

Most often, fuel pump electrical failures are caused by rusted or loose connectors. However, it is possible that your fuel pump’s wiring and connectors will melt, rendering them ineffective.

Fuel pumps are generally good for over 100,000 miles, so wear and tear will only come into play if you travel a lot of miles.

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A clogged fuel pump is a bad fuel pump

Mechanic working on the engine

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If your fuel tank is contaminated with bad fuel or a lot of debris, it’s only a matter of time before all that gunk finds its way through the system. Besides contaminated fuel, clogged strainers or filters are one of the main causes of bad fuel pumps. The more clogged areas of your fuel pump, the less efficient it will be.

Clogged filters and strainers prevent fuel from being delivered at the correct pressure, which affects the handling of your car. The longer you drive with these issues before you repair your fuel pump, the more long-term damage can be caused.

Dirt and debris that gets into your engine can be fatal as it can get into the cylinders which will cause the pistons to crush against the cylinder walls. This degrades both the piston rings and the walls, which can ultimately lead to an incredibly expensive repair bill.

Symptoms of a bad fuel pump

Broken down car

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Knowing the causes of bad fuel pumps is only half the battle; spot when you have one is the other. There are several symptoms of a bad fuel pump that should make you take a closer look at how your car is performing.

Fortunately, driving your car every day means you get used to the sounds and vibrations it makes. Chances are, if your car is doing something out of the ordinary, you’ll spot it a mile away.

If you hear a whine coming from the fuel tank, this is usually the first indication that there is a problem with the pump. On the other hand, if you turn on your car and put your ear to the fuel cap, you can listen for any sign of life. If there is no noticeable noise coming from the tank, your fuel pump is probably not working.

Other symptoms of a bad fuel tank include difficulty starting the vehicle or it spits up, especially at high speeds. These symptoms indicate that the fuel pump is weak and is not pumping enough fuel to the engine or is doing so irregularly.

If you notice that you are making more frequent trips to the gas station than usual, this also indicates a faulty fuel pump. More fuel than necessary can be used with a faulty fuel pump; usually caused by an improperly closed valve. Your car’s fuel efficiency will be lacking and this should be a cause for concern.

Another common sign that your fuel pump is faulty is if your car breaks down when you turn it on. This may be due to loading up to its towing capacity or driving at high speed. If the power to your car is cut off under these circumstances, a lack of fuel pumped into the engine is a likely cause.

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