If your engine is the equivalent of your car’s heart, your fuel pump is pretty much the heart of your car’s fuel injection system. Its function is to pump the fuel from your gas tank to your car’s injectors, and to generate enough pressure so the injectors can deliver the right amount of fuel necessary for any driving condition.
If a fuel pump does not meet the minimum pressure requirements for your car, it can cause emissions problems, and also impair driving. Your engine could literally be starving for fuel, and this can cause hard starting, lingering when accelerating, loss of speed, etc. Bad pressure can also cause lean misfire, producing much more HC (hydrocarbon) emissions. (Many times, cars with this condition don’t pass enhanced emissions tests.) And like almost every issue, low fuel pressure will usually trigger a dashboard warning light to come on.
Fuel pumps, like your heart, are running constantly. After years of service, they will naturally experience wear. Such wear is exacerbated if rust or debris happens to get past the inlet filter sock. Sometimes, a pump stops working because sediment has jammed it, making it burn out its motor. Other times, driving with a next-to-empty gas tank will damage the pump; your fuel pump needs gasoline in order to remain lubricated and cooled. Depriving the pump of enough gas will damage it.
If your fuel pump stops working altogether, check the pump’s electrical connections. Sometimes a loose wire or a blown fuse may be the issue. A low battery, too, will impair the pump. If one of these easy fixes is not the culprit, a static pressure test usually follows, as well as examination of the fuel flow volume. If either of these values is less than your car manufacturer’s specifications, it’s time for a new fuel pump.
If your fuel pump did fail, be careful when replacing it; make sure your new fuel pump meets all of the OE fuel performance requirements. You’d be surprised, but many brands of fuel pumps do not! These cheaper pumps can cause additional harm to your fuel injection system, so be aware. A quality service center like MOTEC Auto Care Clinics in San Diego can quickly and easily perform free diagnostic tests on your vehicle, plus install a proper fuel pump if necessary–one that meets OE requirements! When in doubt, consult the professionals. Your car will thank you for it.