The fuel pump in your vehicle is the mechanism that is responsible for getting the gasoline or diesel fuel from the tank to the engine. This contraption is generally efficient at keeping the flow of gasoline consistent, but just like any other regularly used part of a car, there will come a time when it is worn out. Knowing the symptoms of a failing fuel pump could help you get the car to a repair shop before you end up stranded on the side of the road.
When you accelerate quickly from a stop, a healthy fuel pump will rush gas to the engine and allow it to gain speed smoothly and quickly. But if your fuel pump is not working properly, this may not be the case. Upon acceleration, if the car tends to experience intermittent loss of power and "sluggishness" then it is a sign that the fuel pump is not doing its job, according to the Pump Tips Online website. There are other possibilities, such as misfiring spark plugs, but the fuel pump would be one of the potential concerns.
Crank But No Start
When you get in your car and attempt to start it up, the car will generally crank for a moment prior to firing up and running normally. Most cars will only have to crank for a brief moment before starting, but a car with a malfunctioning fuel pump may drag out the process. If the car is difficult to start or will not start at all despite normal sounding cranking, then this could be the problem. This is caused by the engine's need for gasoline that it is not receiving. The pump may be unable to push the fuel up to the engine efficiently or the fuel filter could also be clogged, which is a far simpler repair.
The faster your car is traveling the more fuel it typically requires. When your car reaches its cruising speed, especially if it is out on the highway or interstate and the speed is relatively high, it is using considerable fuel and the pump will need to be able to continually push the fuel to the engine. If it is unable to do so, it will result in sputtering in the engine as the car uses the fuel faster than the pump can supply it. Again, a clogged fuel filter could cause this problem as well and should be checked before replacing the fuel pump.
Can't Hear Pump
An easy way to tell if the fuel pump is failing in many cars is to simply listen for it. If you've ever turned the key on halfway to the notch where the lights, radio and air conditioner will come on but the engine doesn't start you may notice a hum that lasts for a few seconds. This is the fuel pump priming and getting ready to feed the engine. If you've noticed this from inside your car before, but the car no longer makes this noise then the fuel pump is likely malfunctioning. This symptom combined with a car that cranks but won't start is probably a car with a bad fuel pump, according to the Auto Education website.