A driver of a large SUV loaded with equipment was heading on a 7-hour work trip when he stopped at a gas station to refuel. When he went to restart his SUV, it turned over but wouldn’t catch. Try as he might, he was never able to get it started again.
Of course there are many things that can cause those symptoms, but the next day he had his SUV towed to a service repair facility. Using their test equipment, they were able to pinpoint the problem. His fuel pump had failed. The pump, which was located in the fuel tank, had to be replaced, and after awhile he was back on the road, delayed, but happy to be up and running again.
What had happened is that the pump was not strong enough to deliver adequate fuel to his engine, vital to being able to start it. It had delivered just enough pressure in the morning to get it started the first time, but it was on its last legs. He had been having trouble starting his SUV in the days leading up to this trip, a clue that something was wrong.
The engine relies on a certain pressure of fuel from the pump to run properly, and there are some other signs to be aware of that your fuel pump may need to be replaced. If you are putting strain on your engine, such as going uphill or hauling a big load, and the engine sputters, it may be a sign that the pump isn’t delivering that consistent pressure. Another warning sign is if your engine is running hot and then stalls. That could mean your fuel pump is getting weak.
Sometimes you might notice your vehicle suddenly speeds up on its own or your fuel economy goes from good to poor in a short time. If your fuel gauge shows you have plenty of fuel in the tank and your engine stalls, that’s another possible sign of a failing fuel pump.
Technicians have special equipment to see where the fuel problems are, and there are many possibilities. Have your vehicle checked before you’re left stranded. Oh, and one more tip to prolong the life of your fuel pump. Since it is cooled and lubricated by the fuel in your tank, make sure you keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel at all times. Avoid your “low fuel” light going on and you may be helping yourself avoid having to replace your fuel pump.