By on July 29, 2011


Your fuel pump is a hard working and often ignored piece of equipment. They are mondo expensive too. When a fuel pump fails it can cost anywhere from $600 to $1200 depending on how hard it is to get to the pump itself.

First, let’s talk a little about the pump itself and the differences in repairs from one shop to another.

If your vehicle is an 1985 or newer you probably have an electric fuel pump. Yes, a little electric motor that sits in the gas tank itself. This pump is usually part of a larger assembly which contains the fuel float. That is the part that tells your fuel gauge how much fuel you have on board. There is normally a pick up screen which strains the fuel before it goes into the pump as well.

Many shops will replace just the little motor when a fuel pump fails.

I cannot recommend against this enough.

   That pick up screen, the wiring within the assembly and the float all effect how well that new pump will work. Also, I often insist on changing the main fuel filter because this little unsung hero is what causes many fuel pumps to fail in the first place.

You see it is not enough to just replace the part that failed. You also need to holistically look at the system and see what CAUSED the part to fail. This is very important and when price shopping these details are often overlooked. Personally, I would rather pay once and be done than have to pay over and over again when the cheaper job fails.

My partner has a saying that I like:

The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

So now, what can you do to avoid this headache altogether? Here you go:


 1.  Never let your fuel level go below ½ a tank.

   I know this is a pain in our busy lives but this tip can save you time, aggravation, and most importantly, MONEY. The fuel pump is cooled by gasoline. And as we all know, electronics hate heat. When the fuel level drops below ½ a tank the electric portion of the pump is often exposed and in the summertime it can get quite warm in the tank. In the wintertime keeping the fuel above ½ tank will prevent condensation or water build up in the tank. Both your engine and your fuel pump will thank you for that.


2.  Change your fuel filter every 15k miles.


Unless you have a really good shop to remind you about this you may never think about it. Your repair facility is not trying to bilk you for more money. If they recommend a fuel filter by miles they are really trying to save you money in the long run. Let them.

The reason the fuel filter is so important is when it gets clogged it restricts the flow of gasoline. This causes the computer to call for more and more fuel making your fuel pump run harder and faster. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.

We also have the worst fuel in the country here inAlbuquerque,NM. This stresses the fuel filter and causes it to clog faster. The only way to maintenance the fuel filter is to replace it.

   I have been driving for close to 30 years now and I have never had to replace a fuel pump on my own vehicles. But I see the frustration and inconvenience of my customers every summer.

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