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High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure Symptoms

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

The main task of a fuel pump is to deliver fuel to the engine, making it one of the most important components in both petrol and diesel engines. Hence, understanding the high pressure fuel pump failure symptoms will allow you to act immediately and avoid serious damage and costly repairs for your vehicle.

Even if you don’t understand the basic principles of how your vehicle operates, we will help you figure out whether your high pressure fuel pump is failing. But that’s not the only thing we’ll talk about. From our article, you can learn how to test your pressure fuel, and explore the common causes why it fails, while we give you some expert tips on how to prevent this problem from happening in the future.

High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure Symptoms

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Mario Guerriero

High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure Symptoms

As with every other malfunction of both petrol and diesel engine, detecting your high pressure fuel pump is not working properly is of significant importance. The high pressure fuel pump failure symptoms are the following:

  • Atypical fuel tank noises
  • Engine struggles to start or doesn’t start at all
  • Power loss and decreased performance
  • Sudden surging
  • Poor fuel efficiency

Atypical fuel tank noises

When you start your engine, it is normal to hear a low humming sound. That means the fuel circulates through the fuel system, and the engine runs normally. 

But, if your fuel pump malfunctions, you might hear whining noises. If you hear any atypical noises coming from your fuel tank, especially loud ones, you should check your fuel pump and replace it if necessary.

Engine struggles to start or doesn’t start at all

Although there are many other explanations for the engine’s failure, a failing pump is undeniably one of them. For your engine to run, it requires fuel. If your fuel pump is not providing your engine with enough fuel, it’s only natural that your engine will struggle to start. Problems with the fuel circulation might also result in popping sounds when you press the accelerator pedal. You hear spark plugs firing when you try to start the car, but as we said, without fuel, the engine cannot turn over.

There are also cases where the engine starts normally but, later on, begins stalling and shuts off. This might also be a sign that your fuel pump is not working correctly.

Ultimately, if your fuel pump fails to bring any fuel to the engine, the engine won’t start at all. If your engine doesn’t run, your fuel pump has probably failed completely.

Power loss and decreased performance

A faulty fuel pump might be hard to diagnose if you drive your vehicle on level roads. Some malfunctioning fuel pumps can be detected while driving under heavy loads or uphill.

If you notice your vehicle is struggling to keep up with your increased fuel demand and doesn’t provide the same performance as it used to, you might have a faulty fuel pressure pump. Some signs include misfiring and inability to reach or maintain high-speeds while driving

This is especially noticeable when accelerating. If you notice that your car loses power when trying to accelerate from a stop, it may be an indication of a fuel pump failure. Accelerating requires more fuel, which forces the fuel pump to work harder than in other situations. If you have a failing fuel pump, the car won’t be able to reach the designated speed.

Power loss and decreased performance

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Palitsyn Evgenii

Sudden surging

A faulty fuel pump might also cause surging, which is disproportionately functioning between the driving speed and the input on the gas pedal. A faulty fuel pump might also provide excessive fuel to the engine.

In other words, you will notice that there are drastic changes in the revs while you have a constant load and throttle. A faulty fuel pump might inject fuel into the engine unequally and at the wrong time.

Be aware that sudden surging is not a symptom only associated with a fuel pump. If you have such a problem with your vehicle, we advise you to consult with a mechanic because it might also indicate you have problems with your ignition system.

Poor fuel efficiency

Another common high pressure fuel pump failure symptom is poor fuel efficiency. When your fuel pump is not injecting the fuel correctly, the fuel consumption of your vehicle might increase.

How to Test High Pressure Fuel Pump

One more thing you should do before you start looking for diesel fuel pumps for sale, is to test it before making a purchase. There are several ways for testing a fuel pump, running from basic to advanced.

Doing a visual inspection

As you can see, many symptoms may indicate a failing fuel pump. If you notice a failing fuel pump when making a diesel fuel pump purchase, the first thing to do would be to carry out a visual inspection. If you know where the parts of the vehicle are, it will take you only a couple of minutes.

Check whether there are any leaks around the fuel pump. More often than not, you can detect it without additional equipment. However, there are certain cases where you might need to test it with tracer gas so you can check the exact location of the leakage.

Checking the error memory

For this type of testing, you will need a vehicle diagnostic tool, such as an OBD2 scanner. When you run the diagnostic tool, there is an option to read the error memory.

Some of the fault codes for the incorrect function of your vehicle’s fuel pump are:

  • P0251: Fuel injection pump fuel metering control,
  • P0230: Malfunction of fuel pump primary circuit, such as low voltage,
  • P0148: Fuel supply error,
  • P0627: fuel pump “A” control circuit open.

What Should You Do If Your Fuel Pump Is Failing?

If you notice some of the high pressure fuel pump failure symptoms, it’s best to pay your mechanic a visit. He will do a diagnostic on your vehicle and ensure the fuel pump is malfunctioning.

If the fuel pump is indeed the problem, the mechanic will probably continue by determining how severe the damage to the fuel pump actually is. Depending on the damage, there are three options for dealing with a bad fuel pump: installing a new fuel pump, repairing the damaged one, or cleaning the fuel system.

Although in specific cases it might be repaired, it is always recommended to replace your high-pressure pump. Repairing a high pressure fuel pump is only a temporary solution.

How much does a high pressure fuel pump cost?

The average price of high pressure fuel pumps in the U.S. are around $100. The exact price will depend on several factors, including the vehicle model, type, and brand of the fuel pump.

What makes high pressure fuel pump replacements a bit expensive is hiring a professional to replace them. The manual labor might cost you up to $1000 depending on the expertise, location and hourly rates of the mechanic you choose.

What Causes High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

High pressure fuel pumps might show signs of failing due to various reasons. The most common causes are:

  • Mechanical damage to the external parts
  • Internal mechanical damage
  • Fuel leaks
  • Irregular maintenance
  • Poor lubrication
  • Low-pressure system contamination
  • Low-quality or improper engine oil
  • Faulty or failed pressure and temperature sensors

Another common reason why fuel pumps fail is their age and miles you have driven with them. It is a general recommendation that fuel pumps should be replaced after 100,000 miles.

What Causes High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Palitsyn Evgenii

Tips for Preventing High Pressure Fuel Pump Failure

Last but not least, you must know how to prevent your high pressure fuel pump from failing in the future. Here are some expert tips that may prolong the lifespan of both your engine and fuel pump and avoid having high pressure fuel pump problems:

  • Always tank high-quality fuel in your vehicle
  • Keep your fuel level above half,
  • Change the fuel filter on your vehicle regularly


No matter the type of vehicle you are driving, you must know the high pressure fuel pump failure symptoms. You can detect the problem in time and prevent further damage to your engine. If you do need to change your high pressure fuel pump, you should check our inventory and order from the most durable brands.


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