Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Air Pump

Air pump

Bad or Failing Air Pump Inspection

by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office

An air pump, also commonly referred to as a smog pump, is an emissions component that is part of the secondary air injection system. It is responsible for pumping clean air into the vehicle’s exhaust stream to promote a cleaner and more complete burn before the fumes exit the tailpipe. By injecting clean air into the exhaust, the amount of hydrocarbon pollutants produced by the vehicle is reduced, as the entire system is finely tuned to run with the air provided by the air pump.

When it fails, the overall performance of the engine may suffer due to the lack of air. Many states also have strict emissions regulations for their road going vehicles, and any problems with the air pump or the air injection system can not only cause performance problems, but also cause the vehicle to fail an emissions test. Usually, a failed air pump will produce a few noticeable symptoms that can alert the driver that the vehicle requires attention.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get an $80 diagnostic
by a top-rated mechanic at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

1. Engine is running rough

One of the first symptoms of a bad or failing smog pump is a rough running engine. When a smog pump fails the finely tuned air-fuel ratios can be upset, and it will negatively affect the performance of the engine. The engine may have trouble idling, and may drop in engine speed, or stall when the pedal is pressed.

2. Reduced horsepower

Another common symptom of a bad air pump is a reduction in power output from the engine. Again, a failed smog pump can upset the tune of the vehicle, which will negatively impact overall engine performance. A failed air pump may cause the engine to hesitate or stumble on acceleration, and in more serious cases, cause a noticeable reduction in total power output.

HAVE SYMPTOMS OF CAR TROUBLE?
Get your car fixed at your home or office.

Get a quote · Book an Appointment · Our expert mechanics come to you.

3. Check Engine Light comes on

Another symptom that may be indicative of a bad air pump is an illuminated Check Engine Light. This will usually only occur after the computer has detected the air pump has completely failed, or an electrical problem with the air pump circuit has occurred. A Check Engine Light can also be caused by other problems, so it is important to have the computer scanned for trouble codes before making any repairs.

The air pump is an important component of the emissions system, and necessary to keep your vehicle running in proper order so that it can meet the proper emission requirements. If you suspect that your air pump may be having a problem, or your Check Engine Light has come on, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic. If necessary, they will be able to replace the air pump and restore proper performance to your vehicle.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.
P0684 OBD-II Trouble Code: Glow Plug Control Module to PCM Communication Circuit Range/Performance
P0684 code means there is a failing connection within the Glow Plug Control Module often due too corroded wires and solenoid failures.


Related questions

Q: A.I.R. pump whistling

The air injection pump is the most common failure of the air injection system on this vehicle. The system would need to be checked to make sure the pump is the cause of the noise. I recommend you have a...

Q: Engine light on

Hi there. A code P0401 indicates that the EGR system is not working properly. The EGR, or exhaust gas recirculation system, is used for emissions to reduce the NOX emissions. If it's not functioning and opening as it should, then...

Q: Car independently downshifts on startup

There seems to be a problem inside the transmission and the code that has turned on the Check Engine Light may point to it. Other vehicles having similar symptoms have had faulty torque converter clutch solenoids or line pressure solenoids....