In decades gone by, exhaust systems were not all that complicated. Emissions controls were not a concern, and any gases that were spent during the operation of your car were simply vented through the manifold, into the exhaust pipe, and finally, out into the atmosphere via the muffler. Today, though, the environmental regulations are considerably stricter, and that means that your exhaust system is very different.

There is a variety of new components that are designed to ensure that your engine emits no more harmful elements than are absolutely necessary for the operation of your vehicle. One such component is the air pump, also known as the smog pump. It works to deliver air into your exhaust system so that no fuel is left unburned. If the air pump fails to work, then your vehicle will be emitting more than the acceptable amount of pollutants.

Because the air pump is an electronic component, it is vulnerable to damage, including short circuits and corrosion. Although it is used every day, there is no set life expectancy for an air pump – simply stated, it lasts as long as it lasts. That could be the life of your vehicle, or it could fail prematurely.

Signs that your car’s air pump needs to be replaced include:

  • Check Engine Light is on
  • Engine lacks pressure and runs rough
  • Sluggish acceleration
  • Poor fuel economy

If you think that your air pump needs to be replaced, have it checked by a professional mechanic. They can diagnose issues with your emissions control, replace the air pump if necessary.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Air Pump Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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