Did you know that the fuel pump is one of the most important components in your car? Unlike other problems that may cause various running issues, a faulty fuel pump will stop your car all together. However, these components rarely go bad, thanks to their robust design and the simplicity of the task they perform. It is because of this that many drivers never give much thought about this important part of their cars. In this article, we will explain how the fuel pump works and how to tell if you have a bad one.

How does the fuel pump work?

The fuel pump is a simple device whose job is to transfer the fuel from the tank to the engine. While older cars used a mechanical assembly connected to the engine, modern cars have an electrical pump inside the fuel tank. Every fuel pump has a powerful electric motor, which starts spinning when you turn on the ignition. While it passes through the interior of the pump, the gasoline also lubricates and cools it down. As fuel can contain dirt or rust, there is a strainer on the pump inlet that prevents these contaminants from entering. At the outlet side, there is a fuel filter that removes any remaining dirt traces.

What are the symptoms of a bad fuel pump?

If your car cannot start despite cranking strong, there is a good chance you have a fuel pump related issue. However, a bad sensor or ignition system issue can cause similar symptoms, so make sure you have ruled out those possibilities. It is also wise to check all related connectors, wiring and relays before blaming the pump itself. You can check if the fuel pump is working by listening for a buzz coming from the back of your car.  Another possibility is to have a worn pump, which cannot ensure sufficient fuel flow. In a situation like that, the car will start and run fine on low speeds, but will struggle when under load.  

Is it hard to replace the fuel pump?

As the fuel pump is inside the gasoline tank, the replacement difficulty level depends on the configuration of this assembly. This is something that varies between different makes and models. Some cars have a small deck in the trunk floor or below the rear seats, which makes the replacement easy. However, there are vehicles on which you have to lower the fuel tank to gain access to the pump. This makes the entire process more complicated and time consuming.

How important is this?

As we have explained in this article, troubleshooting and replacing a bad fuel pump may not be that easy . Besides possibly confusing symptoms, accessing the pump itself can be difficult. If you don’t have the right tools or don’t feel up to the job, consider hiring a professional. At FixMyCar, we have certified and seasoned technicians that can come to your home and solve any fuel pump related issues. This will ensure that all important components are checked and your car is ready to hit the road.