Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuel Pump Relay

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The fuel pump relay is an electronic component that is found on virtually all vehicles equipped with an internal combustion engine. It is often found in the fuse box located in the engine bay and functions as the primary electronic switch that controls power to the fuel pump. The fuel pump relay is usually controlled by the ignition or Powertrain Control Module, and when switched on, will provide current to the fuel pump so that it may function. As the fuel pump relay controls power to the fuel pump, any faults with it can cause issues with the fuel pump, which can cause drivability problems for the vehicle. Usually a bad or failing fuel pump relay will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of the issues.

1. Engine stalls

One of the first symptoms of an issue with the fuel pump relay is an engine that suddenly stalls. If the fuel pump relay has an issue while the vehicle is operating it will cut off power to the fuel pump, which will cause the engine to stall. A faulty relay may allow the vehicle to be restarted a short while later, while a completely failed relay will not.

2. Engine does not start

Another symptom of a faulty fuel pump relay is an engine that does not start. If the fuel pump relay fails the fuel pump will be left without power. The engine may still crank when the key is turned, however it will not be able to start due to lack of fuel. This symptom can also be caused by a wide variety of other issues, so having the vehicle properly diagnosed is highly recommended.

3. No noise from the fuel pump

Another symptom that may hint at an issue with the fuel pump relay is no noise from the fuel pump when the key is switched on. Most fuel pumps will produce a low volume hum or whine which can be heard from the inside the vehicle if listened for closely, or from the outside of the vehicle, near the fuel tank. If the fuel pump relay fails, it will cut off power to the fuel pump which will render it inoperable, and therefore silent, when the ignition is on.

While the fuel pump relay is a very simple component, it plays a very important role in the proper operation of the vehicle. If your vehicle is displaying any of the symptoms above, or you suspect that your fuel pump relay is having an an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the component should be replaced.


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Travis

16 years of experience
92 reviews
Travis
16 years of experience
Toyota Corolla - Car is stalling - Charleston, South Carolina
Travis did a thorough inspection of my car, and showed me one of the major problems with how my car was running. He also gave me advice on how to remain proactive in my automobile maintenance.
Chevrolet Captiva Sport - Car is stalling - Charleston, South Carolina
Very experienced and knew what he was doing! Can’t wait to use him again in the future! 10/10 recommendation!!

James

28 years of experience
587 reviews
James
28 years of experience
Ford Mustang - Car is stalling - Orlando, Florida
Great guy , very friendly and knowledgeable. Highly recommend. To all of my friends. Will always request James 

Peter

41 years of experience
1259 reviews
Peter
41 years of experience
Mitsubishi Montero - Car is stalling - Scottsdale, Arizona
Was supposed to change alternator coz a shop blames it for stalling when AC on max. He diagnosed it and MAF was the culprit but after a week it happens again. We’ll see.

Dia

30 years of experience
63 reviews
Dia
30 years of experience
Nissan Titan - Car is stalling - Ellenwood, Georgia
Thank you man, you helped me a great deal. You taught me some things about my truck I didn't know. Great service. Thank you so much.

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