When is it Time to Dump Your Pump?
Whether you drive a massive diesel machine or an eco-efficient hatchback, your car fuel pump can succumb to years of use. And because it’s hidden away in the crevices of a gas tank, many drivers don’t think about the condition of their fuel pump until a total pump replacement is needed.
However, a fuel pump replacement isn’t like an oil filter where routine monitoring and maintenance is expected, so this will likely be a one-time fix. Because pumps can easily last for more than 100,000 miles, most people can take advantage of a vehicle’s long lifespan without ever worrying about installing a new pump. But, like the rest of your vehicle’s combustion system, excessive heat and contamination can degrade the quality of your pump and lead to inefficient driving. While it is possibly a major inconvenience if it gives out, our NAPA experts offer five tips to help you tackle this DIY fuel pump repair project and alleviate replacement costs.
1. Recognize the Warning Signs
Sluggish or faulty ignition, engine misfires, lowered gas mileage, weak acceleration and whining noises can all point to a fuel pump issue in need of investigation. Because a healthy fuel system relies on a correct range of pressure, you should check the status of your pump by using a specialized fuel system pressure tester.
If you suspect a problem, address it as soon as possible. A failed fuel pump won’t support the fuel system, and can leave you with a vehicle that simply won’t start, or even worse, can stall out at any point.
And remember that a vehicle’s fuel system is more than its pump! Dirty fuel injectors, clogged fuel filters and broken fuel lines are all possible contributors to a faulty fuel system. Double check that your fuel pump is the culprit before investing in any repair kits.
2. Read the Manual
While most fuel pumps are located within a gas tank, pump accessibility can vary. Diesel vehicles often have two fuel pumps, a lift pump inside the tank and an injection pump at the engine. Consult your vehicle’s manual to determine if you have a fuel pump access port underneath your rear seating or trunk floor. If so, you can replace your faulty pump without raising your vehicle, which simplifies the process.
If you find yourself without a handy access port, don’t give up! A proper pump replacement is still possible with the help of a jack and jack stand combo and some DIY gusto.
3. Always Put Safety First
Whenever you’re dealing with flammable liquids like gasoline, there are certain precautions needed to minimize risk. If you’ve decided to take on the task of replacing a fuel pump yourself, remember to wear cotton clothing, use LED light tools and avoid anything that could spark any lingering fumes, which can happen even with an “empty” gas tank.
Stock up on safety gear by shopping NAPA’s selection of face and skin protection before getting down and dirty with your fuel system.
Most fuel pumps aren’t designed to be rebuilt; they typically require a full-on replacement of the stock pump. Whether you’re looking for an in-tank electric fuel pump or a good old fashioned mechanical pump, NAPA offers a variety of fuel pumps and parts from which to choose. Browse popular fuel pump repair kits to make sure you’ve got everything needed to remove your old pump quickly and safely.
While you’re replacing a faulty pump, you should go ahead and switch out your fuel filters and clean your fuel injectors. A faulty pump is often the result of a dirty, clogged fuel system, so changing out other important components will improve the lifespan of your new pump.
5. Know When it’s a Job for the Experts
Trying to diagnose, inspect and repair automotive troubles that you’re unsure about can lead to frustration, unnecessary costs and safety risks. If you aren’t comfortable tackling fuel pump repair yourself or you simply don’t know where to start, trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for expert pump maintenance.
However, if you’re a “do-er” interested in a challenge, there’s no better way to grow your automotive skillset and confidence (while saving money) than by performing your own vehicle maintenance. If willing to set aside some time and patience to understand the process of replacing your fuel pump, our NAPA Network is right by your side to equip you with everything needed to get the job done right.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.
More than 90 years ago, the National Automotive Parts Association ("NAPA") was created to meet America’s growing need for an effective auto parts distribution system. Today, 91% of do-it-yourself customers recognize the NAPA brand name. We have over 6,000 NAPA Auto Parts Stores nationwide serving all 50 states with a unique inventory control system that helps you find the exact part that you need.