Fuel Pump Gone Bad – How Can You Start Your Car Now?

The fuel functions as the power for every vehicle. A fuel pump will pump the fuel through the engine, and as the engine burns, it generates energy, which runs the car. The fuel pump supplies fuel as long as the engine is on, and thus the car moves. 

Now, what would happen if this fuel pump were to malfunction? What if you are out somewhere and suddenly realize you are stuck with a bad fuel pump? You need to start your car and get back home or at least go to the nearest mechanic and get the car fixed. 

Role Of A Fuel Pump

You go to the gas station, fill in the fuel, restart your car, and go on your way. Do you ever wonder how the fuel actually helps the car move and do everything else?

Your car has a fuel pump, which is responsible for transferring the fuel to the engine from the gas tank, where you fill the fuel. Once the fuel reaches the carburetor, it is burnt to produce energy, which moves your car.

A fuel pump is a very essential part of the car. Without it, the engine will not receive the required amount of fuel for you to drive uninterrupted.

How Do You Know Your Fuel Pump Has Gone Bad?

A car can have multiple issues. It can be quite confusing to identify where the exact problem is. If you are having trouble with your car, how do you know if it is the fuel pump, the engine, or the other mechanisms?

Here are some tell-tale signs that your fuel pump could be going bad or is already having trouble –

  • You have difficulty starting the engine
  • Engine suddenly surges
  • The engine sputters for no apparent reason
  • The engine suddenly stalls and does not start back again
  • Mileage is low
  • Whining sound from the fuel tank
  • When irrespective of all the above things being fine the engine doesn’t  start

Though we will be telling you how to start your engine despite a bad fuel pump, it is not advisable to drive around with a defective fuel pump. Our tips help you avoid getting stranded on the road in the middle of nowhere.

How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump

So, your fuel pump is going bad, but you are not in a position to get it replaced immediately. If you are on a road trip, you would want to get back home or at least reach the nearest mechanic to get the fuel pump fixed. 

Here are some ideas you can try to start your engine, despite a bad fuel pump:

1. Fuel Pressure Gauge

The fuel pump is responsible for maintaining the pressure in the engine. The fuel supply is dependent on the pressure in the engine.

When the fuel pump does not work properly, the pressure is not well-maintained, thus leading to fluctuation or fault in the amount of fuel supplied.

Take the help of a gauge to find if the vehicle has a fuel pump functioning rightly. Now, attaching this gauge to the engine directly will help maintain the pressure and supply fuel to the engine to start the car and drive.

2. Apply Pressure Manually

Not everyone will own a fuel pressure gauge. If you could buy one, you will most likely find a mechanic close by. You can use an air mattress pump and create some pressure. 

Now pump three or four times to create sufficient pressure. Quickly remove the pump and attach the fuel line. The pressure created will help drive the fuel to the engine. You can now start the car.

3. Maintain the Heat Of The Engine

When the fuel pump is malfunctioning, you cannot let the engine heat up too quickly or cool down completely. Both will cause damage to the engine. 

If you notice the temperature gauge steadily increasing, your engine is overheating. You need to maintain the temperature by not driving too much too fast. 

If you notice the engine to be too hot, you need to cool it. Let the engine cool off, and it might reset the pump and remove the need for pressure. At the same time, ensure you don’t turn off your engine for too long, as it will cool down the engine completely. It can be very difficult to start a completely cooled-down engine when there is a problem with the fuel pump.

How Often Can My Fuel Pump Go Bad

The fuel pumps of the new engines are designed to last a good 100,000 miles. Each manufacturer has its own recommendation for service.

Follow these recommendations to get the best out of your car. Regular service and maintenance can ensure your vehicle’s performance is as promised by the manufacturer. 

Can I Change The Fuel Pump?

The fuel pump of your car is located in one of the trickiest spots – in most cars. It is advisable to let an experienced mechanic handle it so that you don’t cause further damage. However, if you are well equipped to change the fuel pump, you can always try.

What Next?

Ok, so you have changed the faulty fuel pump. If you are keen on preserving the fuel pump a bit longer than the last one or want the pump to last as long as the manufacturer promised, here are a few tips:

  • Always use high-quality fuel. Yes, fuel prices are high, and it can be very tempting to use a cheaper fuel. Cheap quality fuel with impurities can cause the engine to wear out sooner than anticipated. 
  • Never let the tank get too dry. There will be times when we forget to fill the fuel and might drive around with the warning light flashing. However, ensure you don’t let the fuel go below a quarter tank. When the pump is covered with fuel, it will stay cool and prevent the pump from overheating.
  • Invest in good-quality fuel injectors. If there are any impurities in the fuel, these injectors will prevent them from reaching the engine. Fuel cleaners can improve the gas mileage too.


When your engine doesn’t start, you will panic and stress out about how to resolve the issue. With the simple tips mentioned above, you can start your car and drive it to the nearest workshop or even reach your destination.

Liam Dare

As CEO of ReplicarClub.com, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.