Fuel Pump: What You Need to Know

FuelPump1-Gudella-iStock-Thinkstock.jpg Fuel Pump | Gudella/iStock/Thinkstock

The fuel pump sends fuel from your car’s gas tank to its engine. Fuel pumps are usually electrically powered and located directly in or on the fuel tank. The ease and cost of replacement depends on the car’s design, and the decision to replace it should be undertaken only after determining that the problems aren’t electrical or related to the fuel lines.

How do I know if my fuel pump is bad?
The most obvious sign is that your car won’t start because fuel isn’t getting to the engine, though there are many possibilities for a no-start situation. One way to tell if the fuel pump is at fault is that when you turn the ignition on you can’t hear the pump motor activate inside the gas tank. Another is intermittent loss of driving power, particularly during acceleration or while driving at highway speeds. If the pump appears to be OK, the problem might be that the fuel pickup in the tank is clogged and can’t deliver enough gas.

How often should I replace my fuel pump?
With luck, the fuel pump will last the life of your vehicle. Fuel pumps are not a regular maintenance item, so they generally are replaced only on an as-needed basis. Some owners replace them before they fail as preventive maintenance, but unless the pump is showing signs of failing, there is little reason to do so. Many vehicles have fuel filters that can clog, so the filter should be checked (and replaced if needed) when diagnosing issues with a fuel pump.

Why do I have to replace my Fuel pump?
If the pump is showing signs that it may fail it should be replaced – the vehicle won’t start or intermittently loses power — or you may find yourself stranded.

How much should I pay?
The cost of repairs can depend on where you are as much as it does on what you need fixed. To get an estimate for your repair, go to our estimator, plug in your car’s year, make and model information, add your ZIP code, and choose the repair you need. We’ll give you a range for what your repairs should cost in your area.

Latest expert reviews