What happens when the fuel pump fails?
If the fuel pump
is not delivering adequate fuel pressure and gasoline to the engine, the engine may not start or run properly. Low fuel pressure can cause hard starting, a rough idle, misfiring, hesitation, and stalling. A faulty fuel pump
will prevent the engine from starting, or can cause the engine to quit running if the fuel pump fails while driving. In modern cars, most fuel pumps are located in the gas tank and are powered by electricity. In older vehicles, the pumps are located on the engine and use the moving parts inside the motor to pull fuel from the tank.
Fuel injected engines are very sensitive to fuel pressure as well as fuel volume. Low pressure will cause starting and drivability problems. A fuel pump that can deliver adequate pressure but not enough volume may allow the engine to start and idle normally, but it will starve the engine for fuel and cause a loss of power when the engine is under load, accelerating hard or cruising at highway speeds. What is the role of the air filter?
The air that eventually gets mixed with the gas passes through an air filter
that works to keep out the road debris, bugs, and other contaminants that can cause damage to the engine. At the same time, the air filter must allow enough air to reach the engine so that it can perform effectively.
Over time, the air filter can get clogged and the lack of air can affect the overall performance of your car. The following are common signs that you may need a new air filter: lower fuel economy, misfiring engine, unusual engine sounds, your service engine light comes on, air filter appears dirty, reduced horsepower, black sooty smoke or flames exiting the exhaust, or the smell of gasoline when starting the car. What is the maintenance schedule for air filters?
Auto makers recommend that you change your vehicle's air filter
every 10,000 to 15,000 miles, or every 12 months. However, if you typically drive in dusty or rural areas, you might want to check and change it more frequently, or every 6,000 miles or so. Driving in crowded areas where there is heavy traffic causing you to stop and start more often also requires you to replace the air filter sooner. When should I change my fuel filter?
Debris can also clog your fuel filter
over time. This clogging can cause the fuel pump
to work harder, which can in turn lead to it breaking down. If debris enters the fuel injector
, it can clog the fuel passages and damage the injector itself. This may also result in a dripping of fuel instead of a fine spray mist that is required for efficient combustion. You may want to think about changing the fuel filter if your car has difficulties starting, idles rough or stalls, has sluggish acceleration, decreased fuel economy, or has a tank of bad gas. How does the oxygen sensor work?
Another component that upon failure often causes drivability problems is the oxygen (O2) sensor
. These sensors are located in the exhaust system and monitor the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust and produces a voltage signal that is sent to the vehicle’s onboard computer.
If an O2 sensor
fails, it can cause your check engine light to turn on due to a failed emissions code. A high percentage of vehicles that fail emissions tests failed because of a bad oxygen sensor. Bad O2 sensors can hurt your fuel economy and are one of the leading causes of Catalytic Converter failures. Replacing an aging O2 sensor for preventive maintenance is recommended not only to restore peak fuel efficiency and to minimize exhaust emissions, but also to prolong and protect the life of the converter.