Fuel Pump Issues – Excessive Heat – Contamination, Dirt, Rust

Fuel Pumps - Deliver The Fuel, From The Fuel Tank, To The Engine
Fuel Pumps - Deliver The Fuel, From The Fuel Tank, To The Engine

The fuel pump should deliver fuel, from the fuel tank to the engine, at the appropriate pressure.

So, fuel pumps on most modern vehicles, are electric and are mounted, in the fuel tank. However, older ones were just mechanical.

Consequently, when the key is turned or the button is pressed, the fuel pump is activated and should be pressurized. But, if you have fuel pump issues, it may not even make it that far.

One of the clearest indications that your vehicle is having, fuel pump issues is, the engine jolts and stutters. Usually, while you drive at a steady speed.

Fuel Pump Issues - Cracking And Leaking
Fuel Pump Issues – Cracking And Leaking

So, it’s normal for a fuel pump to make, a low humming noise as it runs. But, as the fuel pump begins to fail, the sound can change, into more of a loud whining or droning.

Warning Signs Of, Fuel Pump Issues:

  • Whining Noise, From The Fuel Tank
  • Difficulty Starting
  • Engine Sputtering
  • Stalling at High Temperatures
  • Loss of Power Under Load
  • Engine Surging
  • Poor Fuel Mileage
  • Engine Will Not Start

How Can That Affect Driving Conditions

So, any problems with how the fuel pump works, will affect the flow of fuel to the engine. In a worst case scenario, if you have a fuel pump that no longer runs at all. Then, you won’t be able to start your engine, because of fuel pump issues.
Fuel Pump With Hoses And Connections
Fuel Pump With Hoses And Connections

However, a fuel pump will sometimes operate for a while, at a lower level of efficiency, before complete failure. That’s when you’re likely to notice, trouble starting your engine. You may also have to hold the ignition on, for longer than normal. And, you may have to try more than once.

And, since the engine is being starved for fuel, it probably will start to sputter, cough and occasionally stall.

The lack of fuel, can cause the engine to misfire, which you’ll hear and feel. You’ll feel a difference in performance, with weaker acceleration and worse fuel economy. On the other hand, you may experience, sudden surges in power. This could happen, as the fuel pump’s performance, changes unexpectedly.

The Two Most Common Reasons For, Fuel Pump Issues Are:

#1- Over Heating The fuel Pump By, Running Low On Fuel

Overheating is among the top factors, in causing a fuel pump to wear out. Automakers know this, and they take advantage of the pump’s location to help. Remember, the fuel pump is generally, mounted on the bottom of the fuel tank. As a result, it’s submerged in fuel.

This keeps the pump cool. But, only if there’s enough fuel to keep the pump covered.

Additionally, if the fuel level gets too low, the pump can begin, sucking in air with the fuel. To avoid this issue “never let your fuel level get down, below a quarter-tank full.”

#2- Contamination From Dirt and Rust

You should keep an eye on your engine’s main fuel filter as well. Most fuel pumps will have some sort of filter to prevent dirt or debris, from getting into the pump. Because, that can cause fuel pump issues. But, here we’re talking about, the traditional external fuel filter.

It’s more focused on keeping dirt, from getting into the engine.

If this filter becomes clogged or dirty, it will be tougher for the pump to push fuel through it. Then, the harder the pump works, the shorter its life. Also, many of the problems, caused by a bad fuel pump, can also be a bad fuel filter. Namely, not enough fuel is getting to the engine.

A major difference is that a fuel filter, is a lot easier and less expensive to replace, than a fuel pump.

Common Automotive Electric Fuel Pump
Common Automotive Electric Fuel Pump


So, there are certain guidelines to follow, to keep your fuel pump healthy. And, there are certain symptoms, that can tell you if it’s not. Finally, always remember the two most important causes of fuel pump issues, heat and contamination.