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How to Avoid Injection Pump Failure

Posted by Scott Goldfarb on

When you stop at a gas station to fill up your vehicle, that fuel goes into the fuel tank. But, for your vehicle to utilize the fuel you just put in there, it needs to be moved from the tank to the cylinders in the engine, where air and fuel are mixed and internal combustion occurs to create the power to move your vehicle.

How does the fuel get from the tank to the cylinder? The diesel fuel injection pump, or diesel fuel pump, is responsible for transporting the fuel to your engine. This pump is critical to the proper functioning of your diesel engine. Because of its integral role, you will want to be sure to recognize injection pump failure in your own vehicle and know the steps you can take to keep your injection pump working at its best.

Symptoms of Diesel Fuel Injection Pump Failure

  1. Sputtering Engine - If your diesel engine starts sputtering while you are driving, it may be a sign of diesel engine pump failure. The sputtering can occur as you are accelerating from a stop, or it may occur on the highway at a high speed after you've driven 50 miles without incident. Either way, a sputtering engine is a sign to have your diesel engine pump evaluated by a trained eye.
  2. A Surge of Power - If a fuel pump has started to wear or even just age, it can have irregular resistance in the motor. Periods of high pressure might occur and cause the vehicle to unexpectedly surge forward.
  3. A Loss of Power - Vehicles that pull or tow large amounts of weight can stress the fuel injector pump. The additional stress may cause components of the pump to fail prematurely, and this failure would manifest itself as a loss of power, potentially half of the power the vehicle was previously giving you.
  4. Refusal to Start - If the engine starts to crank over but won't burst into life on its own when the key is released, you are most likely looking at a failed fuel injector pump.

Causes and Prevention of Diesel Fuel Injection Pump Failure

There are multiple factors that can contribute to diesel engine pump failure. Let's break down some of the causes, and the steps you can take to prevent the pump from failing in your own vehicle.

  • Cause: Incorrect Fuel - Even just putting petrol fuel in your diesel engine can cause damage.
    • How to Prevent: Do your best to fill your vehicle with diesel fuel only. If you realize you made a mistake and put petrol fuel in your tank, don't even start your diesel engine. Contact a professional to tow your vehicle and completely drain the petrol from the engine.
  • Cause: Fuel Contamination - Just as petrol fuel in your diesel engine can cause damage, unclean or contaminated fuel can create problems, too.
    • How to Prevent: Only buy fresh diesel fuel from credible suppliers. The busier the supplier, the fresher (and less likely to be contaminated) the fuel you receive will be. Do not fill your engine with fuel from unknown sources, such as cans or drums where you can't verify its origin (or cleanliness). Keep your fuel tank sealed to prevent water or other particles from entering the tank. Also, keep your fuel tank full as often as possible. If a tank is full of fuel, it does not leave room for contaminants to enter.
  • Cause: A Lack of Filter Maintenance - If filters are not maintained, or if quality filters are not used, fragments from the filters can end up in the fuel and damage the pump.
    • How to Prevent: Fuel filter housings should be drained each year, and the cartridge should be replaced annually.
  • Cause: Running out of Fuel - Some diesel pumps are not able to be run completely dry and then refilled. Using the entire tank of fuel in these vehicles can cause damage to occur.
    • How to Prevent: Never let your vehicle run out of diesel fuel.
  • Cause: Modifications - Certain modifications, such as tuning the engine or using cetane-boosting fuel additives, can negatively affect the wear and tear on the fuel pump.
    • How to Prevent: Consult a professional mechanic about potential problems before performing any modifications to your engine.

If you are concerned about the status of your diesel fuel injection pump, a trained mechanic will be able to help you. If you are in the market for new diesel injection pump parts, we have parts for every type of diesel engine in our extensive online inventory.


Have you ever wondered how your vehicle utilizes the fuel you fill up at the gas station? It goes into the fuel tank and moves to the cylinders in the engine. The diesel fuel injection pump transports the fuel to the engine does this task. It is an integral part of the proper functioning of the engine. That is why keep a keen eye on any issues and recognize an injection pump failure. Here’s how.

5 Ways To Avoid Injection Pump Failure Infographic



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