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Can I drive with a bad fuel pump?

Published by: James
Date of Publish:

What is a fuel pump and what are its main types?

The engine of the vehicle requires the proper mixing of fuel and air for internal combustion in the engine. Due to this combustion, the vehicle starts. Without the burning of the fuel, the engine will not work. Now, the fuel, which can be diesel or petrol is in the fuel tank of the vehicle, to be shifted to the combustion chamber of the engine. The device which takes the fuel from the fuel tank and delivers it to the combustion chamber as per the demand of the engine is called a fuel pump. The engine of the car works properly if the proper amount of fuel is delivered to the combustion chamber. So, the proper working of this pump ultimately means the proper working of the car. For more detailed info please refer to How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump in a car

The fuel pumps are mainly of two types. It can be mechanical or it can be electrical. Nowadays, most drivers use electrical fuel as compared to mechanical fuel pumps. Before the extensive use of electric fuel pumps likewise these days, in carbureted engines, mechanical fuel pumps were used widely. Mechanical fuel pumps are also known as puller pumps. They have an excellent suction ability and transferred fuel from the fuel tank to the bowls of carbureted where after mixing of fuel and air, combustion takes place.

As far as the electric fuel pumps are concerned, they are situated in the fuel tank, and in the fuel lines, they create positive pressure to push the fuel from the engine to the combustion chamber. With the placement of the pump inside the fuel tank, it is easier to handle the fuel vapor for combustion as compared to handling the vapor away from the fuel tank. The higher pressure in electric fuel pumps causes an elevation in the boiling point of the fuel. This results in less usage of fuel and moderate efficiency.

Placing the pump inside the fuel tank decreases the risk of setting it afire. Whereas the sparking and ignition of fuel vapors are possible but the liquid itself cannot be exploded. The required amount of fuel is sent to the combustion chamber, while fuel that is not used is sent back. Electric pumps, on the other hand, work constantly, and there is a chance of wearing and tearing in amature bushings, brushes, or in the commutator after years of service. The amount of fuel in the fuel tank also greatly contributes to the efficiency of the pump. The greater amount of fuel in the fuel tank results in the good performance of the fuel pump. A low fuel level in the fuel tank makes the fuel pump work hard and contributes in happening the combustion inside the fuel tank.

fuel pump and types

What makes the fuel pump faulty?

Most of the common problems among vehicles is a fault in the fuel pump. The fuel pump delivers fuel at the required pressure. Any fault in the fuel pump causes a fault in the vehicle's efficiency. The most common things that create a fault in the fuel pump are given as follows:

· Contamination of the fuel pump:

Impurities in the fuel pump are the major causes of any fault in the fuel pump. Any dirt in the fuel system is the major source of contamination. The dirt comes up with the fuel inside the system while refueling or by using low-quality fuel. The sludge in the fuel tank can also occur in the fuel tank by rusting or hydrocarbons present in the fuel. Prevention of water from the fuel is necessary. More water in the fuel causes more contamination, the reason is that water allows the microorganism to thrive in the fuel which ultimately causes the contamination. There is a greater risk of happening fault in the fuel pump if low-level fuel is constantly being used. Putting high-quality fuel in the tank keeps the risk lower of a bad fuel pump.

· Electrical issues

Electrical fuel pumps are mostly found in smaller and larger vehicles. These are placed inside the fuel tank. As the car is started by the ignition process, that is the moment when the fuel pump starts working. So any fault in the electrical components of the fuel pump may cease the process or can cause difficulty in working. The faults in the electrical components of the fuel pump usually happen due to loose connectors or due to rusting process. It is also possible that wiring and connectors within the fuel pump get melted and hence make the fuel pump ineffective.

Wear and tear of the fuel pump can occur if the car covers a lot of miles. Generally, fuel pumps work for almost 100,000 miles.

· Clogging:

If the fuel tank is filled with contaminations, then it is most likely that with very few passages of time, the whole contaminations will damage the system throughout. Besides the contaminations, the bad filters or clogged strainers also cause the inefficient working of the fuel pump. Blocked or low-quality filters do not allow the flow of fuel at higher pressure which ultimately affects the car. If the dirt enters the engine. it can be fatal. The dirt can enter inside the cylinders and can cause the piston t ring against the walls. This affects the piston and walls of the engine as well.

What are the indications of failure of a fuel pump?

It is easy for a professional mechanic to come to know about the failure of the fuel pump. But some indications let you know about the failure of a fuel pump. For more you may want to check out How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump in a car, Which type of pump is used in diesel engine, and What is a fuel pump control module

Some of the important indications are as follows:

· Car jerking at high speed:

With the failure of the fuel pump, the car starts jerking or sputtering at high speed. The reason is that there will be no proper fuel supply from the fuel tank to the combustion chamber. Due to this, adequate combustion will not take place due to a car will start getting jerks.

· Loosing the power while driving uphill:

As the car moves upwards, i.e., towards an uphill, it losses its power if the fuel pump is not working correctly. The reason is that while going uphill, the car requires energy from fuel combustion. In case of failure of the fuel pump, there will be no proper fuel supply, causing the car to lose its power.

· Surging:

Wearing out of the fuel pump can cause surging. Failure of this device causes inconsistent fuel pressure in the fuel lines. In this scenario, the driver may find out the acceleration in the car while there is no pressure on the accelerator of the car.

· No start of the engine:

Once the fuel pump is completely out of order, there will be no supply of fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. No supply of fuel means that there will be no combustion inside the engine. No combustion inside the engine means no power supply. Ultimately, the engine of the car will be jammed and will never start. The solution to this complexity requires a professional mechanic.

· Lose of power of car while accelerating:

The loss of power in the car when it is accelerated is an indication of the failure of the fuel pump. The reason is the same the inconsistent supply of fuel cannot allow the car to gain power.

Can I drive with a damaged fuel pump?

If the fuel pump is faulty, it will not deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. as discussed earlier, this can cause surging, stalling, or complete shut down of the car at any time. Despite this, driving a car with a bad fuel pump can cause wear and tear in the engine which will affect the overall condition of the car. The car can be driven for up to 30 minutes with a bad fuel pump. So driving on the highway with a bad fuel pump can cause safety issues for the driver. So, it is not safe to drive a car with a bad fuel pump. Fuel pumps can be replaced by themselves or the services of a professional can be taken.

 On the safer side, it should be replaced by a professional mechanic. Replacement of the fuel pump is a not difficult task but it should be done right and time should be taken for this. On average, almost 2 to 3 hours are required by a mechanic to install and check the fuel pump in the vehicle. However, depending upon the model and variant of the vehicle it could take longer and could take some less time than mentioned as well. It is good to hire a mechanic as fuel is flammable and could be dangerous if the replacement is done by a stranger. If someone decides to replace the fuel pump by themselves, it is mandatory to take care of all the precautionary measures and have a fire extinguisher on hand.

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