How To Diagnose Fuel Pump Issues Before Shipping The Car Cross Country

Shipping The Car Cross Country

Shipping your car cross country is always a nerve-wracking process. You want to ensure your vehicle is in top shape to handle the journey safely. One potential issue you’ll want to check for is a failing fuel pump. A bad fuel pump can easily strand your car partway through the trip. So it’s important to diagnose any fuel pump problems before loading up the car and hitting the open road.

Understand How a Fuel Pump Works

The fuel pump is a key component of your car’s fuel delivery system. Located in the gas tank, it uses an electric motor or engine vacuum to push fuel under high pressure from the tank to the engine. As the engine demands more fuel, the pump operates to maintain adequate fuel pressure. Over time, the mechanical and electrical components of the pump can wear out, reducing its effectiveness.

Signs of a Failing Fuel Pump

  • Hesitation or stalling when accelerating from a stop
  • Loss of engine power during acceleration
  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Rough idling
  • Reduced fuel mileage
  • Gas odor inside the vehicle

These symptoms occur as the pump struggles to maintain sufficient fuel pressure for the engine’s needs. The most obvious symptom, of course, would be your car stalling on the highway in the middle of nowhere! So it’s crucial to address any possible fuel pump issues proactively.

Test Your Fuel Pump Before Departure

Here are a few simple tests you can do yourself to check fuel pump function:

Listen for the Fuel Pump Hum

With the engine off, have an assistant turn the ignition to the “ON” position but don’t start the engine. You should hear the electric fuel pump turn on momentarily and make a humming noise. If you don’t hear it, the pump may be faulty.

Check Fuel Pressure

Use a fuel pressure gauge to directly measure pressure at the fuel rail with the engine running. Specs vary by vehicle but typical is around 40-60 PSI when running. Low pressure indicates pump issues.

Test Drive Acceleration

Do a few hard accelerations from a stop and listen for any signs of sputtering, hesitation or loss of power. This creates high demand on the fuel pump. Issues surfacing now could manifest as a problem later on the road.

Replacing the Fuel Pump If Needed

If any of these tests uncover low pressure or other suspicious signs, it’s best to replace the fuel pump preemptively rather than risk breaking down on your trip. Most pumps are relatively inexpensive parts that can be swapped by a DIYer or mechanic in a couple hours with basic hand tools. Just be sure to prime the new pump with fuel before restarting the engine.

Catching a problematic fuel pump early is well worth the time and money investment versus getting stranded far from home with a dead pump. Don’t let your cross-country voyage be cut short due to something as preventable as a faulty fuel delivery system. Take some time to thoroughly inspect your car, especially key components like the fuel pump, before hitting the open road.