How to Change the Fuel Pump on a Cavalier

by Jennifer ElrodUpdated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Level parking space

  • Wrench

  • Siphon

  • Fuel canister for short storage

  • Mechanic's ramps

  • Crawler

  • Socket wrench and extension

  • New fuel pump

The fuel pump on a car pumps the fuel up to the car's engine where it is taken to the fuel injection system. From here, the fuel goes through a series of steps to make your car run. When a car fuel pump needs replacing, it can be a difficult task. Here are a few pointers to help you get through the process of replacing the fuel pump on your car.

How to Change the Fuel Pump on a Cavalier

Park your vehicle on a level parking space, and disconnect the positive terminal of the car battery. You do this by using a wrench to loosen the battery terminal bolt.

Siphon the gas tank. To do this, open the gas tank door and insert the siphon into the gas tank. Place the other end of the siphon into a gas can. You can purchase siphons at any auto parts store. Be sure to follow the directions that come with your siphon. Make sure the gas can is big enough to hold the amount of gas that is in your car, because once the siphoning process starts it will not stop.

Back your car up onto two mechanic's ramps. This will allow you to get under the car comfortably so you can pull the fuel pump.

Lay down on a crawler facing up and roll underneath the back of the car until you reach the gas tank. The tank will be a large, black plastic tub located underneath the backseat of the car.

Locate the two metal straps that hold the gas tank up and trace these back to where they are bolted to the car.

Use a socket wrench with an extension to remove the bolts. The gas tank will start to fall as you remove the bolts. Since it is empty is should be light enough to set on the floor or on your chest if the tank won't reach the floor because of wires.

Disconnect the fuel lines and wire harness by pushing the white buttons on the fuel lines and wire harness.

Pull gas tank out from underneath the car. Clean the debris off the top of the gas tank.

Remove all the bolts that are holding the fuel pump to the gas tank. You will know it is the fuel pump because the top of the pump will be a cylinder with two tubes coming out of it.

Gently free the fuel pump from the fuel tank, being careful not to allow any debris to fall into your gas tank. Hold up the gas pump and on the end is a sock that needs to drain. Place pump out of the way. Clean the hole in the gas tank, scraping the edges to remove debris.

Take the new fuel pump and place it in the hole where the old pump was. Bolt the new pump into place on the gas tank.

Slide the tank underneath the car and position it where it should go. Reconnect the wire harness and two fuel lines. Place a jack underneath one side of the fuel tank and go to the other side of the fuel tank to tighten the metal straps and insert bolts. Tighten all bolts at the fuel tank.

You can add the fuel you took out of the fuel tank earlier and pour it back into your car using the canister. Reconnect the positive battery terminal and drive off the ramps.


Have shop rags handy for when your hands get dirty.


Avoid injury by using precaution when disconnecting the positive terminal of the car's battery. Working underneath a car is dangerous, so use as many safety precautions as you can. Ramps are usually a safer alternative to jack stands.

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