Problems With a Fuel Pump Relay

by Andrea Stein
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Classic Car Engine Refurbished image by Janet Wall from

Vehicles rely on a fuel delivery system to maintain a proper level of engine fuel. This system consists of such components as the gas tank, fuel filter, fuel pump and fuel pump relay. The fuel pump relay, a device typically mounted beneath the dashboard that switches the fuel pump on and off, can develop problems that negatively impact vehicle operation.

Failure to Start

The fuel pump relay, if faulty, may not activate the fuel pump when the key is turned into the “start” position. This can result in the engine cranking but failing to start. Replacing the faulty fuel pump relay typically corrects the problem.

Delayed Start

A malfunctioning fuel pump relay may take longer than normal to activate the fuel pump. This causes a delay in engine starting and possible erratic functioning of the engine after start-up.

Quiet Fuel Pump

Fuel pumps make a buzzing noise during operation. A nonworking pump, resulting from a failed fuel pump relay, remains silent. A driver with a trained ear can often notice the lack of pump noise during engine start-up, which can help lead him to the underlying issue.

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