On older engines, the fuel pump was mounted on the engine itself and driven by the camshaft. Today's vehicles are fuel-injected and require a more pressurized fuel supply than a mechanical fuel pump can deliver - as a result, they use an electric fuel pump or fuel module mounted in the gas tank itself. Shop our selection of fuel pumps from brands like Carquest and Delphi.
If your vehicle has a failed fuel pump, you're going to be shut down cold as no fuel can make its way to the engine from the fuel tank. A failed fuel pump on a modern vehicle usually means dropping the gas tank, since the pump is mounted inside the tank itself. That's a repair best left to an experienced do-it-yourselfer or a professional. Note that it's a good idea to not let your fuel tank get below the 1/4 mark; gasoline serves as a lubricant to help keep the pump running properly.
How long should my fuel pump last?
Most fuel pumps last at least 100,000 miles with proper maintenance, fuel pumps can last more than 250,000 miles up to the lifetime of your car.
What can I do to keep my fuel pump in good condition?
Keeping your gas tank at least one-quarter full at all times will help extend the life of your fuel pump. Letting your gas run too low on a frequent basis will shorten the life of your pump. Fuel acts as a coolant for your fuel pump, and when your gas tank runs too low, your pump is subject to overheating. The weight of fuel also helps add pressure to push liquid through your pump, and without this pressure, your pump has to work harder, shortening its lifespan.
If your vehicle has a replaceable fuel filter, changing it regularly (every 10,000 to 15,000 miles) can also extend the life of your fuel system. Impurities and debris from gas, dust and dirt can accumulate on the bottom of your gas tank, and if they get sucked into your fuel system they can damage it. Your filter protects your fuel injectors, so it's important to change it regularly. So you'll want to read up on how to change your fuel filter.
Make sure your gas cap maintains a good seal. A poor seal can allow fuel vapor to escape as well as allow impurities and debris to get in your tank. You should also avoid refueling at gas stations that are not well-maintained. Water in gas or corrosion on pump nozzles can get into your fuel system and damage your fuel pump.
How often should I replace my fuel pump?
Normally, you should not need to replace your fuel pump before it starts showing symptoms of wear. However, if you've been using your pump for more than 100,000 miles and if you're taking your car in anyway for another type of maintenance that involves removing your gas tank, it may be efficient to replace your pump during the same service trip.
Buy a replacement fuel pump online or visit your local Advance Auto Parts store and have one of our knowledgable Team Members help you.
How can you tell when you need a new fuel pump? Here are some signs to look for:
Fuel pumps come in two types: mechanical and electric.
Mechanical fuel pumps
Mechanical pumps are more common on older vehicles. These are driven by the camshaft or by a shaft attached to the crankshaft, which opens a diaphragm to create suction and draw fuel in through a one-way valve. Mechanical fuel pumps are usually located near the carburetor and engine. Leading mechanical fuel pump providers include Bell & Gossett, Airtex, and Carter Fuel Systems.
Electric fuel pumps
Most newer cars have electric fuel pumps. Electric fuel pumps became popular after cars began using electronic fuel injection, which works more efficiently at higher pressures than standard mechanical pumps can generate. Electric pumps work similar in principle to mechanical ones, but instead of using a shaft to open and close the diaphragm, electric pumps use an electromagnetic switch called a solenoid. Electric fuel pumps are usually located inside fuel tanks, although they may be mounted outside them. Our leading electric fuel pump supplier is Carquest Premium.
For most vehicles today with an electric fuel pump, the process of replacing your fuel pump involves removing your fuel tank, removing your old fuel pump from the tank, attaching your new pump and then reinstalling the tank. To avoid injury and to avoid voiding your manufacturer's warranty due to improper installation, the best practice is to have a professionally licensed mechanic install your fuel pump. If you have enough experience and want to install your own fuel pump, follow these step-by-step instructions for replacing in-engine electric fuel pumps.
Here are some of the most common fuel pump problems and their remedies:
Can I replace my fuel pump myself?
While it's possible to replace your fuel pump yourself, it's not recommended unless you're a licensed auto mechanic. For one thing, pressurized fuel is highly flammable; you risk serious injury or death. Also, improperly installing your pump can void your vehicle's warranty.
How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump?
Replacing a fuel pump can cost from $100 to $1,000 depending on the make, model, and year of your car.
Can I install a different brand of fuel pump than the one my car came with?
Yes, usually, but check your manufacturer's website for specs on sizes and compatibility.
Can ethanol damage my fuel pump?
Most newer cars are designed to tolerate ethanol levels up to 10 percent (E10), but research by U.S. oil refiners and auto manufacturers has found that E15 can damage fuel pumps. Check with your manufacturer to find out what ethanol level is safe for your pump.