There are several warning signs that your fuel pump may go bad before it actually does. If you’ve noticed some of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to check your fuel pump and filter to determine that everything is in good working order before something eventually gives.

  1. You can’t hear your fuel pump engaging when attempting to start the vehicle. Fuel pumps will generally make a whirring, motor sound when they start. Some electric fuel pumps may also make a clicking sound when it engages. If you don’t hear this sound, the fuel pump may not be operating properly.
  2. The engine shuts down whenever your vehicle is putting out more effort, such as when going up a steep incline or pulling a trailer. This can be a sign that your fuel pump can’t keep up with the need for additional gasoline or that something is wrong with your fuel pressure regulator or fuel lines.
  3. Your vehicle is accelerating slower than normal or you notice that your speed drops occasionally while accelerating. If your fuel pump is going bad, it won’t be able to supply enough fuel fast enough or at a consistent rate to accelerate.
  4. The vehicle won’t start. If your vehicle will not start, it could be a sign of a bad fuel pump, but it could also be a sign of a bad battery or other engine components. Check the starter and battery first, as these are more common issues.
  5. Your vehicle sputters on the road. This can occur if the fuel pump is providing fuel but not at a consistent rate. You could also experience the engine dying while the vehicle is still in motion as though it has run out of gas, even though you have a full tank. An engine stalling out suddenly while in motion could be due to an issue with the fuel system.
  6. The fuel pressure gauge shows that not enough fuel is getting to the engine. Using a fuel pressure gauge is one of the fastest and most direct ways to diagnose a fuel issue, though it may not be able to diagnose problems that occur while driving.

There are some other problems that may imitate issues with your fuel delivery system including a malfunctioning fuel pressure regulator or dirty fuel lines. Remember, if you need to replace your fuel pump, always be safety conscious and do so in a well-ventilated area.