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Do you want to try troubleshooting your fuel pump but don't know where it is located? If you're a car owner, then you know that the fuel pump is an essential part of your vehicle. But what do you do if it starts to malfunction?
In this blog post, we'll discuss the location of the fuel pump and how to troubleshoot any potential problems. We'll also provide some tips on how to keep your fuel pump in good condition.
What is a Fuel Pump?
Before discussing where the fuel pump is located, let's first understand what a fuel pump is. This knowledge will help you when troubleshooting any problem. So what exactly is a fuel pump?The fuel pump is an important component of a car responsible for delivering gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine. So once the pump starts having problems, your car won’t run properly or even start at all.
Where is the Fuel Pump Located?
As car owners, we should at least know where the fuel pump is located as it is necessary for future diagnoses. The fuel pump is located on the side of the engine, near where the fuel lines enter and exit. It is usually mounted on the side of the tank or the bottom. If you're having trouble finding it, then you can always consult your car's owner manual or ask a mechanic.
Why Should I Know Where My Car's Fuel Pump Located?
Our vehicle is not always in good shape; there are times when we accidentally hit something while driving, and it may cause damage to different parts of the car. So, it is best to know where each part is located to troubleshoot or repair them accordingly.
The same goes for the fuel pump. Our car's fuel pump is not always in good condition as we sometimes experience troubles with it. So, it is essential to know where it is located to troubleshoot the problem and see if there are any possible repairs that we can do.
Engine Dies After Running in a Few Minutes?
When the engine dies after running for a few minutes, you can try these steps as soon as the engine cools down.
- To begin, locate the spark plug and pull its wire.
- With insulated handles, grab the wire with a pair of pliers.
- Place the wire tip against a bare metal engine or a metal bracket to ensure it is properly grounded.
- Have an assistant crank the engine.
- Check if there's a spark coming from the wire.
- If there's no spark, the problem could be with the coil, ignition module, or crankshaft position sensor.
- If there's a weak spark, faulty spark plug wires or plugs might be the issue.
- A quick way to test if the problem is with the plugs is to swap them out with new ones.
How Do I Know If I Have a Bad Fuel Pump?
The fuel pump runs continuously with your engine, delivering high-pressure fuel to the fuel rail and injectors. If it fails, it may experience the following symptoms:
- Your car's engine stalls or sputters when trying to start it.
- Whining noise coming from the gas tank.
- Your car's engine is misfiring.
- You experience a decrease in fuel economy.
- Your car hesitates or stumbles when accelerating.
- Engine stops every few miles of driving.
- Poor engine power at highway speeds
If you believe that your fuel pump has failed, you can do a few simple tests to confirm. But to perform the troubleshooting effectively, you need to know what components you should test. Here is the checklist of what you need to check:
- Fuel pressure
- Strange noise
- Fuel sufficiency
- Bad fuel pump
- Blown fuel pump relay
- Bad inertial fuel
- Open wiring in the fuel pump
- Fuel tank
- Bad/contaminated gas
- Clogged fuel filter
- Leak in fuel pressure regulator
- No power fuel injectors
- Vacuum leak/ Open EGR valve
How to Troubleshoot Fuel Pump Problems?
When you experience all those indications mentioned above, you should first troubleshoot the fuel pump problem. Testing the fuel pump's relay and the fuse is good to start. But before doing those, there are steps that you need to do.
Testing the Fuel Pressure
Performing a fuel pressure test is best to troubleshoot a weak or failed fuel pump. You will need a mechanical fuel pressure gauge and some basic hand tools.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable and remove the air cleaner assembly from the throttle body.
- Locate the fuel pressure test port on the fuel injector rail and screw in the mechanical gauge.
- Start the ignition and let it idle for a few minutes. The reading on the gauge will give you an idea of how well the fuel pump is working.
- Check your gas tank pressure and compare it to the requirement in your car's repair handbook (if the vehicle won't start, turn the ignition key to the ON position and check fuel pressure).
Depending on the application, a typical fuel system generates between 15 and 40 psi (pounds per square inch) (100-280 kPa). So if your reading is outside of specs, there's a chance you have an issue with the Fuel Pressure Regulator (FPR); keep reading.
Can't find the FPR on your vehicle? If your car is newer, it may not have one. Many newer vehicles have a returnless fuel system, which doesn't require an FPR because it uses the pressure in the fuel line to regulate flow back to the tank.
Listen for Strange Noises
If troubleshooting the fuel pump problem doesn't seem to be working, the other thing you could do is listen for the fuel pump. By starting your car, you should hear the fuel pump running.
If you can't, that's a good indication that something is wrong. So what are the things you can do to troubleshoot and address the issue?
- Remove the fuel filler cap.
- Put your ear next to the gas filler opening.
- Ask someone to turn the ignition key to the ON position, but don't start the car engine yet.
- If you hear a whirring sound, the fuel pump is working. That sound indicates that the pump is receiving power and responding.
- If you don't hear the fuel pump start up, but the engine cranks when you try to start it, there's a possibility that there's an electrical fault in the fuel pump circuit. Check for any damaged wires or sensors linked to the engine control module (ECM-car computer) and attempt to turn on the gas again.
- Also, check for diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) that indicate the problem.
- If you believe that the electrical circuit is okay and the fuel pump fuse is good, try replacing another similar relay in your automobile with the fuel pump relay and start it.
Check the Fuel Tank
This is something we often overlook when troubleshooting fuel pump problems. We assumed that since the engine was not running, there was no way you could have used up the fuel. But it could be just that. Your car may have run out of gas, and now the only thing you need to do is refuel it.
Checking for a Faulty Fuel Pump
If the problem persists, your fuel pump has likely gone bad. There are a few ways to test this:
- Disconnect the fuel line from the fuel pump and start the engine. If it starts, then you know the problem is with the pump.
- If the engine refuses to start, you will need to check the wiring to see a problem.
- Once you have determined that the fuel pump is the problem, you will need to replace it. A professional mechanic can do this or do it yourself if you are mechanically inclined.
Check the Inertial Fuel Pump (IFP)
The IFP is a pump that pressurizes the fuel system and is located on the high-pressure side of the fuel rail. If this pump fails, it can cause problems with the engine. Most vehicle manufacturers use an inertia switch to shut off the fuel pump when the car is involved in a collision.
However, it is not just the reason why your fuel pump may have stopped working. It also happens when:
- Your vehicle hit a rock.
- You have been driven on a pothole-filled road.
- You have run over something on the road.
If any of these things happen, it can cause the IFP to fail. You will need to troubleshoot the fuel pump to see if it is a problem. In most cases resetting the inertia switch will solve the issue. So, check your vehicle owner's handbook or auto repair manual for the location of the switch and how to reset it if necessary.
Check for Open Wiring in the Fuel Pump
Another reason the fuel pump might not be working is an open wire in the fuel pump. In this case, you might need to get a new fuel pump.
Check for Bad/Contaminated Fuel
Another possibility is that there might be bad or contaminated fuel. Gasoline vendor stations are not always as reliable as you might think. If you suspect the fuel might be bad, have it tested or drained and replaced.
To check if the fuel is bad, pour a little gasoline into a clear container and let it sit for about 24 hours. If there are any contaminants, they will settle at the bottom of the container.
Inspect the Timing Belt
Another common repair for fuel pump problems is a bad timing belt. A broken or slipped time belt can easily stop the electric motor on the fuel pump from turning. In most cases, checking the timing belt is a free and easy procedure that could save you money. This is how checking the timing belt is done:
- First, locate the timing belt. To do that, you will need to follow the path of the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt is the large belt that goes around all of the pulleys on your engine.
- If you can't find it, consult your car's owner manual or look online for a diagram of your engine.
- Once you have located the timing belt, check to see if it is loose or has any cracks in it.
- If the timing belt is loose, you will need to tighten it. If the timing belt is cracked, you will need to replace it.
- You can find a replacement timing belt at most auto parts stores.
- Once you have replaced the timing belt, start the engine and let it idle for a few minutes.
- If the engine is still making noise, consult a mechanic.
Check the Fuel Filter
The fuel filter is another component you should be checking when troubleshooting your fuel pump. Ask yourself, when did you last replace the fuel filter? If it's been a while, go ahead and replace it. You can find fuel filters at most auto parts stores. So how do you do it?
- Locate your fuel filter; it is located between the fuel tank and the fuel pump.
- Use a wrench to loosen the old filter and remove it.
- Put the new filter in place and tighten it with the wrench.
Inspect the Fuel Pressure Regulator's Vacuum Line
The FPR is a small, round metal device with a vacuum line coming out of it. This device is mounted on the fuel rail and helps maintain the correct fuel pressure in the system. The FPR’s vacuum line connects to the intake manifold - usually near the throttle body. If this line is disconnected or is damaged, your engine will not run correctly.
To check the FPR, first, make sure that the vacuum line is connected and not damaged. Also, check if the line has no trace of oil on it while the engine is idling - if it does. If the inside of the vacuum is wet, it is probably because the diaphragm inside the FPR is damaged and needs to be replaced.
How to Replace a Fuel Pump
If all else fails, a new fuel pump is your best option. This is why it is important to know where the fuel pump is. It will save you time looking in your manuals to see where it is. As we all know, getting your car fixed at a garage may not be the most cost-effective method, nor do it yourself if possible. The video below will show you how to do it properly.
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Tips on How to Avoid Damaging your Fuel Pump
If you have found out that a failed fuel pump is the cause of your troubles, it is important to know how to avoid damaging the new fuel pump again. Here are the do's you should follow:
- Ensure that the fuel filter is clean before installing the new fuel pump. A clogged fuel filter will put unnecessary strain on the new pump and can cause it to fail prematurely.
- Do prime the fuel system before starting the engine. You can do this by cranking the engine over with the ignition off until you hear the fuel pump begin to hum.
- Do bleed the air out of the fuel line. This is done by loosening the line at the fuel rail and allowing any air bubbles to escape.
- Do not use starting fluid or other volatile chemicals to start the engine. These can damage sensitive parts in the fuel system.
- Drain the fuel tank into a safe container. This will remove any water or contaminants that may be in the fuel.
- Do not use gasoline that has been sitting for more than 30 days. The gas will have deteriorated and can cause damage to the fuel system.
Fuel Pump FAQs
1. How often should I inspect my fuel pump?
It is recommended to inspect your fuel pump every time you change the oil.
2. What should you do if your car doesn't start after putting gas in it?
If your car doesn't start after putting gas in it, the fuel pump fuse is the first thing to check. If the fuse is good, check for a spark at each of the four plugs. If there is no spark, then the ignition coil may be bad.
3. Is it challenging to replace a fuel pump?
The answer may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle, but in general, it is not difficult to replace a fuel pump. It also depends on your automotive skills.
4. Do I need to take the car to a mechanic?
Again, this may vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. However, it is possible to replace yourself with a few basic tools in most cases. If you are uncomfortable repairing it yourself, most mechanics should do it for you at a reasonable price.
5. How much is the cost to replace the fuel pump?
The average fuel pump replacement cost ranges from $220 to $1,062, with labor fees ranging from $124 to $260 and parts costing anything from $95 to $854.
Knowing where your fuel pump is can help you troubleshoot some common engine problems. If you are confident doing it yourself, this guide will show you how to locate and replace your fuel pump.
However, if the thought of even looking at your car's engine makes you break out in a cold sweat, we recommend taking it to a mechanic. They will have the tools and expertise necessary to get your car up and running again in no time.
Have you ever replaced your fuel pump? Did it go smoothly, or did you run into any trouble? Let us know in the comments below!