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

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in Malaysia
CraigBurrows / Shutterstock.com Malaysia is a popular destination for many tourists today. The country has amazing sights and attractions that you will want to explore....


Related questions

Q: Engine vacuum pump and centrifuge is leaking.

Hi there. All parts on a car are designed to have a longevity date to them, but it is normal for parts that are more than 5 years old to fail. The vacuum pump and centrifuge could be leaking for...

Q: Jeep takes has trouble starting initially and now has a cylinder 6 misfire

The misfire could be caused by a lack of fuel pressure. Cylinder 6 is usually the last cylinder to be fed by the fuel rail, and when the pressure is low, it can suffer from a lack of fuel. But,...

Q: Draining battery and blowing air sound when car is turned off 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Hello - based on your symptom information, your Jeep has the air suspension, and the noise you hear is air leaking, with the compressor continuing to run, draining your battery. This could be due to a failed switch in the...