Does Your Fuel Pump Keep Failing? Here's What You Need To Check

There are a handful of reasons for fuel pump failure that are not related to the pump itself, especially if the failures are chronic. Because the factory fuel pumps on most modern vehicles are designed to last the life of the vehicle, a fuel pump failing is a sign of something else gone wrong with the vehicle. Here's what you need to know:

Why Fuel Pumps Fail

Fuel pumps require lubrication and cooling, both of which come from the fuel itself. Fuel pumps are designed to be immersed in fuel when operating. By being immersed, lubrication and cooling needs are met.

Most fuel tanks are designed so that the fuel pump is immersed down to about a quarter of a tank. Once fuel levels fall below a quarter, the pump is exposed. Therefore, it's a good idea to fill up the gas tank once it hits the quarter full mark.

Low fuel gauge

One way to keep from overworking your fuel pump? Keep the tank full.


Fuel pumps become overworked when the engine’s intake or fuel system is malfunctioning. This usually happens when a faulty oxygen or mass airflow sensor tells the engine’s computer that the fuel burn is rich, indicating that not enough fuel is being injected into the cylinders. To make up for this false problem, the engine computer will tell the fuel pump to increase pressure in the fuel lines, eventually overworking the pump.

There are several ways to check if this is your issue:

  • Test for fuel pressure (before and after the regulator)
  • Check for proper spark
  • Check fuel delivery
  • Test oxygen and MAF sensors

Lack of lubrication can also cause an overworked pump.

Low Quality Replacement Parts

Bad replacement parts, usually indicating a cheap repair or low-cost do-it-yourself job, can mean early failure of the replacement part. This is especially true of fuel pumps, which are available in a huge range of quality levels.

Therefore, it's a good idea to buy a different brand of pump if you're experiencing a repeated failure. As a manufacturer of OEM quality fuel system parts, Auteria parts are highly reliable. We offer a 12 month warranty on every fuel pump or fuel system part we sell.

Dirty Fuel

Dirty fuel green handle

Dirty fuel is another common reason why fuel pumps fail.

The fuel pump pulls fuel from the tank before it’s filtered by the vehicle’s inline filter(s). So fuel that is dirty when pumped into the tank will be dirty as it goes through the pump. Pumps will have a filter screen on their inlet nozzle, but those screens can fail and often don’t filter out small particles or debris. Sediment in the fuel or fuel tank can also be sucked into the pump, causing wear or clogs that lead to failure.

The simplest way to diagnose dirty fuel as the culprit is to pump your gas from the same gas station for a period of time. If you've ruled out other causes of failure and it keeps happening, switch to a new station and the failure issues will likely cease.

Whether your fuel pump issue stems from overwork or dirty fuel, it's important to diagnose and fix the problem right away. If you need a replacement fuel pump, shop Auteria's OEM quality selection now and get back on the road.