How Can You Troubleshoot a Fuel Pump?


Quick Answer

Troubleshoot a malfunctioning fuel pump by listening for telltale sounds and testing the fuel pressure. The most obvious sign of a failing fuel pump is the vehicle's failure to start. When all of the elements necessary for combustion to occur are not present, the engine cannot fire.

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How Can You Troubleshoot a Fuel Pump?
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Full Answer

Other symptoms of a bad fuel pump include sputtering, stuttering or stammering when trying to start the car or when the car is under load. This happens when a car’s engine is not getting an adequate amount of fuel. Because sputtering can be caused by other problems, turning the vehicle to the "on" position without starting it fully and listening for a buzz or clicking sound is a secondary test for whether the fuel pump is working. The buzzing noise is the sound of the fuel pump actually turning on.

The second method used to troubleshoot a fuel pump is to perform a fuel pressure test. This can be done by an auto mechanic or at home by purchasing a fuel pressure gauge from an auto parts store. Attach the gauge to the fuel pressure valve, typically located near the engine, in order to compare the reading from the gauge to the recommended fuel pressure for that specific make and model vehicle. A low pressure reading indicates a possible issue with the fuel pump.

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