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What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pump?

by xuxiaomin 26 Feb 2024

A fuel pump transfers oil to your motor; without it, the motor would stop running instantly. A fuel pump is essential in all modern diesel and gas cars, though in older cars, this function relies on gravity to supply the fuel. 

When it comes to the symptoms of a bad fuel pump, there are several, which we will cover later on in this article. But what damages a fuel pump? Several reasons including the continuous use of polluted or poor-quality fuel. 

Here are seven surefire signs of a bad fuel pump:


Trouble Starting Your Car


If you trigger the ignition, but your vehicle won’t start, or it starts then halts suddenly, it ensures you hear the pump turn on when you first start the ignition. Many pumps buzz loudly as the fuel pumps supply the fuel to help start the vehicle. 

Some cars activate the fuel pump once you unlock the vehicle or open the door. This isn't standard for all vehicles, and the process differs depending on the fuel pump manufacturer




If you're driving, the engine shuts down suddenly, and the fuel pumps could be damaged. It could be particularly inconvenient if you halt at a stoplight with other vehicles behind you. Similarly, it would be dangerous if this happened on the freeway. Have your car checked by a mechanic the moment you notice this. 

Furthermore, if your vehicle drives well normally but begins stalling when you're carrying something heavy, the culprit could be a failing fuel pump since it's unable to withstand the stress.

Rough Running or Sputtering 


A rough running or coughing engine while driving slowly or when the car is idle could be a symptom of a bad fuel pump. This could result from engine misfires because of a lack of balance with the cylinder function. 


Low Power 


A bad fuel pump could lead to slow acceleration when driving. In this case, the pump is unable to deliver sufficient output, so the car's motor struggles. This issue will be more prevalent and dangerous if you're driving up a slope. 


Engine Surges 


When driving your car at a steady speed, and the engine unexpectedly revs up, which increases your speed regardless of not stepping on the acceleration pedal, then your fuel pump could be damaged. 

If this occurs, ensure you leave a generous following distance to avoid hitting the car in front of you by mistake when on the road. Also, make sure you have your car checked out by a mechanic. 


Check the Engine Light


Modern vehicles feature complex but effective sensors which should notice the issue with your fuel pump before more perilous signs start showing. Unsatisfactory fuel pressure or flow via the injectors will be prevalent in the system and should trigger the check engine light. Also, engine malfunction should activate this light. 

For this reason, if you notice that your check engine light is on, ensure you have your car checked and fixed. 


High Pitched Noise 


If you notice a loud whining or whirring from the car's rear section where the fuel tank is situated, it's time to check your fuel pump. Typically, it is supposed to produce a soft sound, which shouldn’t be audible when driving the vehicle. 

So, check the fuel pump and ensure it is adequately functional, you can listen to it when you start your vehicle. Take a short drive and listen if you hear a buzzing or whining noise. Alternatively, you can start your vehicle, go to the car's rear, and listen to the sound the fuel pump produces. 

If it whirrs, you have to get it checked. On the other hand, if it produces a soft hum, it’s perfectly alright. 




You can find fuel pumps on all engine-equipped cars in different shapes and sizes. Most of them are built durably. All the same, as the car reaches increased mileage, it is typical for the fuel pump to need replacing. 

What are the symptoms of a bad fuel pump?

  1. Trouble starting your car.
  2. Stalling 
  3. Rough running or sputtering. 
  4. Low power. 
  5. Engine surges.
  6. Check the engine light. 
  7. High-pitched noise. 

So, if you notice any of these signs, take your car to a mechanic and have them fix or replace the fuel pump. 

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