The fuel pump is responsible for getting fuel out of the gas tank and up to the engine. The pump itself is usually located inside the gas tank. There are a handful of symptoms to look out for that could indicate a problem with the fuel pump:

  • Slow startup: If the engine takes a while to turn over once the key is turned in the ignition, the fuel pump may be having an issue getting enough fuel to the engine.

  • Struggling to accelerate: While the engine may still run with a failing fuel pump, it may take longer than usual to accelerate. Acceleration may feel noticeably weak.

  • Surging or bucking: A faulty fuel pump may also be delivering fuel inconsistently, causing the engine to lag from not getting enough gas then immediately surge forward when the right amount enters the cylinders with the throttle open. This is the most dangerous symptom as the power surging could cause the driver to lose control.

  • Whirring noise: If there is a buzzing, humming, or whirring noise coming from the area of the gas tank, there may be a problem with the fuel pump.

What can I do if I think my fuel pump is failing?

First and foremost, if the vehicle is bucking or having surges of power due to fuel delivery problems, the issue needs to be attended to immediately. This is a serious hazard for the driver and others on the road.

With any other symptoms, it is a good idea to get the issue looked at by a qualified mechanic. If the fuel pump fails completely, the car will be immobile. Treating the issue while the car runs will save time and money.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Can You Tell That Your Fuel Pump Isn’t Working? and was authored by Ian Swan.


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