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Why Fuel Pumps Fail

As winter approaches, it’s good to note that one of the leading causes of fuel pump failure is running on a low fuel tank, especially in cold weather. Frequent driving with a low fuel level can starve the pump for lubrication and cooling by plugging up the strainer with contaminants inside the tank, which can lead to accelerated wear or even pump damage. However, fuel pumps can fail due to a number of other reasons:

Loss of current or low voltage.
The pump can’t run without electricity, so anything that prevents current or voltage from reaching the pump will make it stop or not perform efficiently. This includes corroded, loose or broken wiring.

Dirt.
Sediment or other debris in the tank can clog the pick- up strainer, accelerate pump wear, damage the pump and/or cause the pump’s check valve to stick open.

Rust.
Corrosion inside the tank produces rust which can plug the pickup strainer?and have the same damaging effects on the pump as dirt. Rust is caused by condensation, which occurs during cool, humid weather when the fuel tank is low.

Normal Wear.
Most pumps are designed for long-term durability and performance, but their lifespan depends on lubrication and cooling provided by the fuel itself.

We all know that just replacing an electric fuel pump won’t solve a no-fuel complaint because the pump itself is only part of the fuel delivery system. A good technician must diagnose the no-fuel problem in order to properly service the vehicle.

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