Preventing fuel pump failure – the most common cause of no-start problems in cars

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What does an electric fuel pump do, well, apart from stopping when an accident occurs it delivers the right volume of fuel to the fuel injection system at the right pressure.

Any experienced mechanic will tell you that the most common cause of no-start that he has encountered is the in-tank electric fuel pumps not working properly.

The most common reason for the electric fuel tank tanking is neglecting scheduled maintenance and cleaning the fuel filter. A choked filter impedes the flow of fuel from the pump, thereby damaging it. A filter should ideally be replaced every 24 months or 24,000 miles. Fuel filters do not cost more than $100-$110. A fuel pump replacement can be almost 7-8 times more expensive.

A filled tank helps to keep the fuel pump cool. You should try and keep the tank more than 1/4th full at all times and anytime you happen to run the pump with an empty tank, be prepared to shop for a new pump. A full tank also prevents the pump from sucking in sediments from the bottom, if the strainer at the pump inlet gets clogged, it will reduce the flow of fuel into the pump, which can lead to overheating of the pump and subsequent failure.

Keep your eyes and ears open for tell-tale signs that all is not well with your fuel pump. The pump may emit an uncharecteristic whine, the car may stall or the engine may not start at all. Head for the nearest service station without delay if you do not want to aggaravate the problem.

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