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Driving your car consistenty below a quarter tank of gas can result in fuel pump failure because the fuel pump has to work harder adding to wear and tear. How do you know if your fuel pump is going?
Signs Your Fuel Pump Needs to be Replaced
One of the clearest indications that your vehicle's fuel pump isn't working as it should is an engine jolts and stutters while you drive at a steady speed. This stuttering occurs when the pump struggles to provide the adequate amount of fuel to your engine, causing the engine to have difficulty maintaining a certain speed. This fuel pump problem be extremely dangerous because it affects the amount of control that you have over your vehicle. Take your car to a mechanic as quickly as possible.
A damaged fuel pump might make a loud, whining sound that you’ll hear from your gas tank. The pump may also make this noise if you’re low on fuel or the fuel in your tank is contaminated. The normal noise your pump makes is a low hum. Loud whining indicates there is a problem.
Another symptom commonly associated with a problematic fuel pump is difficulty starting. Because fuel pumps constantly run whenever the ignition is turned on, they can eventually wear out and weaken over time. A weak fuel pump may still pump fuel, but the vehicle may experience difficulty starting from the lack of pressure. A weakened fuel pump can cause the vehicle to take more cranks to start than normal, and in more serious cases may even cause the vehicle to require multiple turns of the key before it will start.
Stalling can happen because of multiple problems within a vehicle but pay attention when it happens frequently at high temperatures shown on the car’s thermometer. A rising temperature paired with stalling often indicates a problem with the fuel pump motor. If stalling continues to occur with an increasing temperature gauge, it could indicate the fuel pump’s deterioration and need for replacement.
If your fuel pump is dying it might overheat and this heat causes your engine to overheat. Unlike the radiator, which will overheat until it bursts the cap and spews scalding-hot coolant everywhere, an overheat caused by the fuel pump will stall out the engine. Pullover at the first sign of overheating.
Low Fuel Pressure & Efficiency
Because your fuel pump is pushing too much fuel into the engine you’ll burn more gas than normal. This means more trips to the gas station to feed your car, truck, or SUV. If you track how much mileage you get between fills and notice a drop, it could be your pump.
Your engine might not sputter but you will lose power under certain circumstances if your fuel pump is going out. For example, imagine you’re driving up a steep hill and all of a sudden you lose power. This is a sign the fuel pump is not transferring enough fuel to the engine and it cannot handle the hill’s stress.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you may also experience sudden surges of speed while driving if your fuel pump supplies too much fuel to the engine. Like the problem discussed in the previous section, unexpected engine revving can be dangerous. A fuel pump that puts out too much fuel can even flood your engine and cause your vehicle to stall out while on the road.
Keep in mind that it is possible for your engine to experience both engine stuttering and surging with a bad fuel pump.
If it seems like you’re filling up your car more than usual, it may be because of an issue within the fuel pump. A valve within the fuel pump may not be opening, causing more fuel than necessary to pour into the engine system. Excess fuel in the engine does not get stored or used.
You might end up with a dead engine even if you don’t notice any of the signs above. If the fuel pump gets clogged or dies, it cannot transfer gas to the engine. When this happens, you won’t be able to start your car, truck, or SUV at all. The problem could also be clogged fuel lines.