The fuel pump of your vehicle is crucial for proper delivery of fuel to your vehicle’s engine. An engine needs spark, fuel and compression in order to operate. There are two kinds of fuel pumps in vehicles, mechanical and electrical fuel pumps, most of today’s cars are equipped with the electrical fuel pump.

The fuel pump is responsible for pressurizing fuel from a vehicle’s gas tank and sending it to the engine. The mechanical fuel pumps are mounted on the engine and are usually driven by the camshaft. They use a form of vacuum in which to deliver the fuel to the engine. This type of fuel pump is found in carbureted vehicles that are becoming obsolete or are found in specialty cars.

The electronic fuel system has injectors that squirt fuel into the combustion chambers of the engine. A computer controls this system and it monitors the position of the throttle, the air-fuel ratio and the contents of the exhaust. The fuel pump is generally located on the inside or next to the fuel tank. This type of fuel system does not use vacuum to draw the fuel along the lines. The fuel pump is powered and controlled electronically. You can sometimes be able to identify the soft humming sound of the fuel pump when standing near the rear of the vehicle, when it is running or being started.

The fuel pump does not often fail in vehicles that are equipped with electronic fuel injection. But when it does fail, it can begin as an intermittent problem, or the engine will sputter and die, or it will just crank and not actually start up and run.

The best way to maintain your fuel system and get longevity out of your fuel pump is pretty simple:

1) Replace your inline fuel filter on an annual basis or approximately every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, whichever comes first.
2) Keep your fuel system clean by having the throttle body and fuel injection system cleaned approximately every 20,000 to 30,000 miles.
3) Follow the rule of avoiding the level of your fuel, falling below a ¼ of a tank

These simple steps can help to avoid restrictions, helps maintain proper air fuel ratio mixture and reduces undue strain on the fuel pump. Following these steps can also improve throttle response, smoother idle, improved fuel economy and lessen harmful emissions.

Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive in Historic Downtown Gresham. Happy Motoring!

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