Fuel Pump Failure Symptoms

Fuel pump failure

If cars could talk like KITT from the show Knight Rider, we'd have no problem diagnosing fuel pump issues. Instead of pulling engine codes or reading sensors, you could just say, "Hey Car, what's bothering you?"

Unfortunately, cars don't speak English or any other spoken language for that matter. However, if you know the signs, a car will tell you when its having fuel pump or delivery issues - you just have to know what to look for. These symptoms are not absolute, of course, and can indicate problems other than a bad pump. But if you're already suspicious about your fuel pump's "health", here are some things to watch out for:

Engine Sputters Or Hesitates On The Highway

While any number of things can can cause engine sputters or hesitation at highway speeds, this symptom can indicate a fuel delivery problem. A faulty fuel pump will not maintain adequate pressure in the fuel lines. This can cause sputtering and hesitation. A fuel pressure test both at idle and “under load” (high RPM) conditions can help to narrow down the culprit, as can a test of the fuel pump’s circuit.

Jerky Acceleration

Fuel pump fail highway

Similar to sputtering, jerky or delayed acceleration can indicate fuel isn't getting delivered to the engine. A pressure test of the fuel system and a circuit check for the pump will help diagnose the issue.

Hesitation Starting, Long Turnover Times

If the engine turns over but takes several rotations to fire and begin running, the problem could be fuel delivery. Each time a vehicle with an electric fuel pump is started, the fuel system has to be "charged" or brought up to full pressure by the fuel pump. When the pump is operating normally, the pressure is built up quickly and there are no issues when starting.

But, if the pump isn't getting the fuel system up to the correct pressure - or isn't doing so quickly - that can indicate a problem.

On most gas powered vehicles, the engine shouldn’t crank (turn over) more than twice before starting if everything is working well. To verify that the problem is fuel delivery, test the timing and spark and then test fuel delivery through fuel pressure tests. Also run this test after the engine has started and is idling.

What To Do If You're Experiencing These Symptoms

Fuel pump fail repair

If Wu-Tang Clan were technicians, they'd tell you faulty fuel pumps ain't nothin' to mess with. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms and the tests show fuel pump failure, we'd recommend purchasing OEM quality fuel pump parts, such as those offered by Auteria.