When Should I Replace My Car’s Fuel Pump?

Your car’s fuel pump is the intermediary part between the gas tank and the engine. It’s simply responsible for delivering fuel to the engine and it can typically last for the life of the vehicle. However, fuel pumps have been known to malfunction, especially in older cars. Here is when you should replace it.

Warning signs that your car may need a new fuel pump

A woman driving her silver Suzuki Swift car to the petrol station.
A woman driving her silver Suzuki Swift car to the petrol station. | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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Since there is no exact mileage interval that you need to change your car’s fuel pump, you’ll have to pay attention to some of the warning signs that appear when the pump is on its last legs. According to Kelley Blue Book, here are some of the tell-tale signs:

  • The inability for your car to maintain speed: When driving your car, you may feel some hesitation or struggle for it to maintain speed. It can feel like you’re running out of gas when in fact the tank is full.
  • Overheating: A fuel pump may end up overheating when it fails, which can in turn cause the engine to overheat. After allowing the car to cool down, you might find that it runs for a short time but ends up overheating again.
  • Sputtering: If the engine makes sputtering, misfiring, or backfiring noises, a bad fuel pump may be to blame. This is typically from an inconsistent fuel flow from a failing pump.
  • The check engine lights comes on: If any of these problems are present, then the check engine light on the dash will illuminate.

How does a fuel pump operate?

Every modern car today uses an electronic fuel pump that is located inside the gas tank. It uses a direct current to force the fuel through the fuel lines and into the injectors. From there, the fuel is misted into the engine. As we can see, a failing pump is a culprit can be a culprit of many engine issues.

How is a fuel pump replaced?

A customer prepares to pump fuel into her car.
A customer prepares to pump fuel into her car. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In most cases, a qualified mechanic will need to access your car’s fuel filter through an access panel in the rear seat or cargo area. After the pump is located, the mechanic will then unhook the electrical connections and mounting points to pull the fuel pump out of the tank and replace it with a new one. This is also a good time for the fuel filter to be replaced while everything is taken apart.

If the mechanic is unable to get to the fuel pump from an access door, then he may need to drain the fuel and drop the gas tank in order to access it.

How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump?

According to iSeeCars, it can cost around $100 to $200 for the new fuel pump and anywhere from $400 to $600 with the labor charges included. While that might sound like a hefty bill, consider the time and effort that it takes to replace the pump, which can cost more if the gas tank needs to be dropped.

Cost aside, it’s important to pay attention to how your car drives. Although, if the issue is a failing fuel pump, you’ll likely know right away.

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