3 Ways to Tell a Fuel Pump Needs to Be Replaced When You Become an Auto Mechanic

become an auto mechanic
A vehicle’s fuel pump has a very important job: to pump fuel from the tank to the engine. Obviously, if fuel isn’t getting to the engine, then the vehicle either won’t start or it will stall out. Fortunately, fuel pumps are designed to last a long time and problems with them can usually be detected well before the entire engine fails.
When you become an auto mechanic, knowing the signs of a fuel pump problem can help your customers avoid having their vehicle stalling or experiencing engine failure. Let’s take a look at three indications that a fuel pump may need to be replaced.

1. Auto Mechanics Know That Bad Fuel Pumps Can Cause Engines to Sputter

A sputtering engine is among the most common signs that something is wrong with the fuel pump. Typically the sputtering will occur when the vehicle is being driven at a constant high speed. The sputtering will usually only last for a few seconds before returning to normal. This sputtering often means that the fuel pump is having trouble providing a constant flow of fuel to the engine and the pump will need to be inspected and probably replaced. If this problem isn’t taken care of promptly, the sputtering could lead to engine failure.

If the engine sputters at high speeds, the fuel pump may be experiencing problems
If the engine sputters at high speeds, the fuel pump may be experiencing problems

2. Watch Out for a Whining Engine When You Become a Mechanic

Fuel pumps are the source for that classic purring or humming sound that is a normal part of any car that runs on an internal combustion engine. When you become a mechanic and a customer complains that their vehicle’s purring sounds more like a loud whining, then the fuel pump may be to blame. Chances are it is having trouble getting enough fuel from the tank to the engine. If the fuel pump is really old and needs replacement, this whining can even sound like a loud howl. Alternatively, a whining or howling sound can also be the result of not enough fuel in the tank rather than a problem with the fuel pump itself.

3. A Vehicle That Suddenly Burns Through a Lot of Gas May Have Fuel Pump Problems

Fuel pumps are equipped with a relief valve that helps ensure only the necessary amount of fuel is being pumped from the tank to the engine. If the relief valve isn’t opening properly, more fuel than necessary will be transferred to the engine. This in turn can cause damage to the engine if not taken care of quickly. So, if a vehicle suddenly starts requiring a lot more trips to the gas station than normal, the problem may be due to a faulty fuel pump.

A faulty fuel pump can cause a vehicle to suddenly burn through a lot more gas
A faulty fuel pump can cause a vehicle to suddenly burn through a lot more gas

However, a sudden drop in fuel mileage can also be caused by many other factors, including clogged or damaged air filters. In fact, most of the signs that a fuel pump needs to be replaced are the same as the signs that an air filter needs replacing. You’ll want to use your training for mechanics to help determine whether a vehicle’s problems are related to the fuel pump or the air filter. While replacing an air filter typically costs less than $100, the cost of a new fuel pump can be in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
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