For your car to move, it needs fuel. And to be able to use it, the fuel needs to be moved from the tank where it is stored to the combustion cylinder where it is burned.
The fuel pump does this all-important job. This means that for the mechanical reaction that helps move your car from location A to location B to happen, your fuel pump needs to be performing properly.
But like all things mechanical, your fuel pump can break down and, sometimes, at the most inconvenient places. This could happen while you are on the road and far from your mechanic or any other mechanic, for that matter.
Even when it breaks down at the house, replacing it may be quite expensive and out of your budget at the time.
For these reasons, it is important to learn how to fix a fuel pump without replacing it. This life hack will not only save you some dollars but may also be critical to your safety at some point.
You will also learn to know when your fuel pumps need fixing and how long the job will take.
How to Fix a Fuel Pump Without Replacing It
Fuel pumps get worn out all the time. This is both a natural and very common occurrence. The reasons differ according to several factors, yet it happens even to the best of us.
So, if you find yourself by the roadside, needing a temporal fix for your fuel pump and wondering how to go about it. The answer is straightforward.
First, run a quick test to confirm the main problem and then attend to that specific problem or consult the owner’s manual if the issue is more complex.
But this is a simplified and broad answer. The actual work occurs in a linear process, with each step being very vital to the overall success.
What Is A Fuel Pump?
A fuel pump can be defined as the part of your car engine whose primary task is to supply the combustion cylinder in the car engine with fuel from the tank.
The fuel pump is usually controlled by a relay which is, in turn, controlled by the ignition switch. However, the relays can also be controlled by ECM in certain cars.
Conversely, a faulty fuel pump typically fails to support fuel flow to the engine or does so very slowly. Consequently, this can cause the engine to stutter, forcing the car to jerk or even shut down completely.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Fuel Pump?
Luckily for us all, a fuel pump usually doesn’t just suddenly break down. It shows some signs and symptoms that indicate that it is about to give out.
Generally, a fuel pump will start to wear out after working for 100,000 miles or more. Even though this may also depend on the type of car, some signs help us diagnose the bad state of a fuel pump.
Some of these signs include an engine that sputters, overheat, or surges, low fuel pressure, sudden and frequent power loss, a sharp decrease in gas mileage, or even an outright dead engine.
Having difficulty getting your car to start can be a solid sign that the fuel is starting to wear out. This is because the fuel pump is also responsible for creating the pressure that causes the car to start whenever you turn the ignition.
Whining Noise from the Engine
This is a “wirrrrr” sound made specifically from the fuel tank. An aging fuel pump makes this sound usually due to difficulty working. The sound can be due to several things, including bad fuel or even low fuel, but it is an important sign to watch out for.
An improper mixture of fuel and air can be responsible for a sputtering engine, but this generally happens before the car moves. However, if you notice your engine sputtering at high speed, then you may want to step out and check the fuel pump.
Another way to also diagnose a faulty fuel pump is to see if your engine is overheating. When the fuel pump is bad, it gets easily hot, overheats, and transfers this hotness to the rest of the engine.
A faulty fuel pump is characterized by the tendency to send in too much fuel or not enough fuel. When the bad fuel pump sends in too much fuel, you may notice your car suddenly picking up then dropping abruptly. This is what we refer to as an engine surge, and you might need to keep an eye out for that.
Low Fuel Pressure
For this diagnosis, you will need to consult the owner’s manual to find out the recommended fuel pressure of your car. Once you know this, you can rev up the engine and read the pressure gauge to see if it hits the stated level. If the pressure is low, then you need to attend to your fuel pump.
Decreased Gas Mileage
Every car has a defined number of mileages each amount of fuel is supposed to take it. When you observe the gas mileage dropping, you should know that the fuel pump is faulty and sending in more fuel than it normally would.
Loss of Power
A bad fuel pump might not send in enough fuel causing the car to lose power in certain instances. And this is a terrible sign as it can put your safety at risk if the car losses power in places like a steep hill.
The many problems that can occur in your car fuel pump can culminate and kill your engine completely. Thereby causing you to be unable to start the vehicle until the matter is attended to.
How Many Hours Does It Take To Replace A Fuel Pump?
Once you can correctly tell that your fuel pump is bad by observing any of the above signs, the next logical thing to do would be to fix it without replacing it or replace it completely if you see that the entire assembly is damaged.
To fix a faulty fuel pump, you would need between 3 – 6 hours if it is your first time or 30 -45 minutes if you are already skilled in this area.
Car owners agree that the task of fixing a fuel pump is not so much in the time or cost (as it would cost about $20 – $150) as it is in the effort and labor involved.
How To Fix a Fuel Pump Without Replacing It
You might get caught in a place where hiring a mechanic to do the job is totally out of the question. For this reason, you will need to know how to do it yourself. But before you get straight to the fuel pump, be sure to first check with the following units:
- Confirm that the fuel level is optimal and that there is enough fuel in the tank
- Check to see if your car is making any unusual sound, then use the owner’s manual to confirm that it is, in fact, due to a faulty pump.
- Check the fuel filter to know whether it is blocked or not
- Pull out the fuel pressure regulator to confirm whether there is fuel on it
Once you have confirmed all the above parameters and are sure that the fuel pump needs fixing, you can then follow these simple steps to get the job done:
Step 1: Check with your owner’s manual to know what you are looking for and be sure you are doing the right thing.
Step 2: Open the fuel pressure and find the vacuum line that connects to it. Then remove the line and confirm if there is fuel on it. If there is then, we can conclude that the regulator is faulty.
Step 3: Connect the vacuum line and replace the regulator.
Step 4: Look for the protective cap and remove it before attaching the fuel pressure gauge using its hose.
Step 5: Test for fuel pressure by fitting the fuel gauge with the right adapter and test port. The test port might differ according to the vehicle’s make, so consult with your owner’s manual to be sure. You might even need to use a fuel filter adapter if you can’t find the fuel test port.
Step 6: Next, start the ignition and read the gauge. If the gauge rises to 45 – 58 PSI and the throttle body injector goes as high as 13 – 17 PSI, you can surmise that the pump is working properly with the electrical parts.
However, if the gauge doesn’t reflect any pressure, you will need to check the fuse and fuel pump relays.
Step 7: If the pressure then drops to 52 PSI and remains there during warm-up, then rises to 57 PSI when you accelerate, then you will know that the turbocharger is working at optimal conditions.
Step 8: Allow the engine to continue running for some time. If the pressure remains steadily at 52 PSI, then we can conclude that your fuel is not the cause of the problem.
Step 9: You will know that the fuel filter is clogged if you notice the pressure drop lower than 52 PSI as the engine continues to warm up.
When this happens, you will need to work on the filter using the previously connected hose to push or suck out the impurities clogging it. Or you may choose to replace it with a new one if you have been using it for too long.
Step 10: Place a thick cotton towel under the test gate so that it can soak up the excess fuel that will pour when the hose is pulled out.
Next, place one end of the hose into the towel until the fuel in the tube runs out, and it is empty.
Step 11: Finally, replace the dust cap and clean it up with a towel. Also, check to be sure there is no leakage before closing the bonnet.
Summarily, your car won’t work unless your fuel pump works. We already explained that it is what supplies the engine with the fuel to move.
Therefore, every driver must learn how to take care of this important component of their car.
Knowing how to fix a fuel pump without replacing it is a skill that you need to have. No doubt, it will take you some effort and many hours to master it at first, but once you get the hang of it, it will take you less than an hour to get this problem sorted.