When your car begins acting oddly, such as not starting smoothly or occasionally stalling the problem could be related to a number of different issues—one of which is a bad fuel pump relay. In this article we’ll talk about what the fuel pump relay does, the signs that it could be failing, and what to do next.


What does the fuel pump relay do?

The fuel pump relay plays an integral role in getting fuel to your engine for combustion. Powered by the ignition and/or powertrain control module (PCM), the fuel pump relay’s main function is to provide the fuel pump with enough power. When the fuel pump relay isn’t working, then the fuel pump cannot either. This leads to significant issues with vehicle performance and reliability. Fuel pump relay failure will lead to a few common symptoms that you should look out for in your own car.

Common symptoms of fuel pump relay failure

Paying attention to how your car is driving daily is critical to ensure that your car remains reliable and safe at all times. If you begin noticing any odd changes in your car’s behavior, it is important to follow-up with an automotive specialist right away. Here are the most common signs of fuel pump relay failure that you should be aware of:

Engine starting issues

Since a faulty fuel pump relay will leave you without a working fuel pump, fuel cannot reach the engine for combustion. Trying to turn your engine when the fuel pump isn’t able to perform will prove to be difficult, and often impossible. Issues starting your car can be attributed to a number of different problems with other engine components, so it’s best to have it evaluated and diagnosed by a professional as soon as possible to rule-out other serious causes first.

Engine performance issues

The fuel pump relay may seize to function gradually or all at once. If the relay fails slowly, then you might notice engine performance symptoms over time. For instance, as the fuel pump relay begins to falter, its ability to power the fuel pump dampens, which can lead to engine stalling when the engine cannot receive enough fuel for combustion. Engine stalling can be dangerous, so it’s important to have the problem assessed right away.

How to prevent fuel pump relay problems

The best way to ensure that your fuel pump relay functions well over time is to undergo frequent and routine inspections. Recommended ongoing care and maintenance procedures can be found in the owner’s manual for your vehicle and are designed to promote optimal running conditions. As we mentioned before, at the first sign of any troubling symptoms in your car, it is essential to bring it to an automotive specialist so that the problem doesn’t worsen or create a chain reaction of damages and failures. Fuel pump relay problems aren’t always preventable; electrical issues can occur at any time, but are treatable.

What to do when the fuel pump relay fails

If you are encountering issues that seem to be related to a fuel pump relay, your automotive technician will begin by performing a series of tests to determine where the problem lies. When the fuel pump relay fails, you may notice one of several dashboard lights come on that detect where the problem occurred. For instance, since the fuel pressure sensor can detect when the fuel system isn’t operating or generating pressure to propel fuel to the engine, your dashboard warning light may illuminate. Upon reading the diagnostic code associated with the light, your automotive shop will have more of a direction for treating the issue. Usually the relay will need to be replaced. The cost of such a process will vary depending on the type of car you drive and what automotive shop you choose.

What we can do to help

At Dell’s Service Center, we serve clients from all over the areas of Green Bay, Manitowoc, and Sturgeon Bay, WI. For repair and maintenance services on Volvo, Saab, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, BMW, and other European imports, we are the leading dealership alternative in the area. Our level of expertise combined with our affordable pricing keeps clients coming back who want the best for their cars. If you’re experiencing a fuel pump relay issue, we can diagnose and treat it quickly and accurately; please don’t hesitate to request an appointment through our website or contact us directly.

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