How do I know if it's my fuel pump or the fuel filter


Asked by dayrous Aug 08, 2007 at 01:08 PM about the 1993 Toyota Camry

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have dummy written on my forehead.  I'm stuck trying to make sure a mechanic isn't taking advantage of me. I have gotten 3 guestimates as to what's wrong it's just that they all say that if it truly was the fuel pump it should have given me some type of warning. Which it didn't. My son (14yrs old) was sitting in the car with it running while i ran into the store. When i came out the radio & everything was still on, but i could tell the car wasn't actually running. my son said he didn't turn it off. when i tried to start it, it wouldn't start. i checked the battery, starter, & it so happened i had a full tank of gas.. how can i verify that it's my fuel pump?

46 Answers


You can check for power to the fuel pump, but that will require some disassembly to get at it. It's certainly not a fuel filter as I have never seen one on a modern vehicle get so clogged as to cause a no-start situation. You can attempt to listen when you put the key in the ignition and turn it to the "Drive" position -- the fuel pump relay will energize the pump and it will run for a few seconds to pressurize the system. If you don't hear this, either the fuel pump or the relay is bad. And it's not true that a bad fuel pump would "give you some warning." When they go, they go, and they won't necessarily extend you the courtesy of acting up before they stop working.

82 people found this helpful.

I had simular problem took me a week to figure out. Thought the same thing fuel pump pulled line off to relive pressure let it drain hook back up try to crank it up un hook fuel line if line has pressure fuel pump good. Ended up being the ignition coil. This is an internal coil that is located inside the distributer cap. Got the part at Auto Zone fixed it myself. hope this helps and not to late.

44 people found this helpful.

to rull out fuelpump take gas cap off put your ear close to opening ,have someone turn key switch on and off 3 or4 times if you hear a buzzing sound not f.p if no sound a bad f.p. also check ecm fuse in fuse box.

57 people found this helpful.

Did the car start and run for a few seconds and then turn off?

224 people found this helpful.

I am having the same problem. I changed the fuel pump twice.My son said that fuel filters don't get clogged.So i would think it would be the fuel pump.

48 people found this helpful.

Hey Mick, it is most likely the fuel pump. The fuel pump will sometimes allow you to be driving and will keep going until the RPMs drop and it starts to idle it will die because the pump wasn't working it was the pressure that was allowing you to keep going but when you stop and start idling it will die because the pump stopped and the pressure died as well. I hope this helped.

52 people found this helpful.

i pulled my fuel filter off and brackish brown fluid came out of the lines and the filter. does this mean i need to replace my filter or should i put it back on and try to start the truck?

65 people found this helpful.

Your son is wrong fuel filters get clogged. The answer to the other question is yes the fuel should be a clear green/yellow color, the black brown stuff is the trash it has picked up over the years/miles.

20 people found this helpful.

whats happing to me,is that my car starts up every morning, but if i stop for coffee and that takes about five mins, my car won't start. so i have to sit for about three till i could start it up again.

146 people found this helpful.

my car will only go to 40 then it will die. the RMP will go down then when you step on the gas it wont go past 45

46 people found this helpful.

There are two causes that make your car to stall out & die! First ignition system, second fuel related. By taking the guess work out you need to buy or rent a fuel pressure gauge so you can check for fuel pressure and volume and compare it with the spec's of your vehicle(if you replace a bad fuel pump you also need to replace the fuel filter). If your fuel pump pressure and volume is within spec's then you need to trace down what cause your ignition to fail(this could be ignition module, ignition coil, injector pulse,etc.

24 people found this helpful.

One sure easy way to check if it's your fuel pump. Have someone bang on the gas tank pretty hard while your trying to start the car works everytime for me.fuel filters should be change ever so often because there filtering out the junk in the fuel line an build ups can often cause blockage.

15 people found this helpful.

My problem is a fuel gauge which is off most of the time, it shows full tank even when i have half a tank or quarter of a tank. So what is the problem, is it Fuel Pump, Relay, floater or anything else.

30 people found this helpful.

The float has been known to cause this type of issues.but it dont effect the fuel pump.sometimes the float gets filled up with gas.

11 people found this helpful.

i have a 94 camary its dumping to much gas in the engine its making it come out the muffler anyone know where to start i ran codes and it said throttle sensor i changed that but still doing the same thing

13 people found this helpful.

first i make sure all my vacuum hoses and wiring connectors connected to manufacture specification, second i check the charging systems. Then I pull out all the spark plugs to find out which cylinder is flooded, if only one spark plug is wet than that injector could be leaking or control ground to injector/pulse width is short to ground or computer control is bad, if they all wet you may have a high fuel pressure, next i checked wirings, O2, MAF, MAP, ECT

12 people found this helpful.

I am also having a similar problem with my cavalier.. my car wont start, it happened one time about 2 months ago and i hit the tank and it started, then again about a week ago it happened again. I hit the tank again and it started. Now two days later it died on me and it wont start at all., but i hear the fuel pump start when i turn the car on. Can it still be bad?

31 people found this helpful.

I had the same issue in my Ford Bronco, turn the key and heard a noise I thought was fuel pump running, but was actually the fuel pump relay engaging. Took fuel pump out of tank and tryed and it was dead, so make sure what you are hearing is really the fuel pump not the relay

6 people found this helpful.

I have a 2002 toyota camry when I try to start it it don't start it have really low starting pressure

23 people found this helpful.

I have a 98 Camry I replaced the fuel pump on.. not the problem. Fuse seems fine as does the relay(I inserted a like relay in as well, same result. At the five prong harness to the pump, when key is activated I get 12V at the far left of the three prongs, and 7V in the middle..not certain how the float switch interfaces here... 12V direct to the two prongs on the pump assembly runs the pump..

22 people found this helpful.

I am having a similar problem I have a 2002 Ford zx2 and all of a sudden it died my rpm was up then went down then went back up then down. Do I have to change my filter or my pump, if it's my pump how do I actually take it out, I took the case and off and I see the pump the only thing is I try to pull it up and it won't budge how do I pull it out. Please help

12 people found this helpful.

I have a ? Im trying to find out if its my fuel pump or fuel filter when I turn the key I still here the buzzing (2001 Pontiac sunfire) please help someone thanks in advance PS my car won't start

7 people found this helpful.

same sort of thing is happening with my car everything was running well no sign that there was anything wrong with the car then when i stopped at a set of traffic lights the car just started to splutter and die and i cant get it restarted for the life of me it's currently sitting on the side of the road near where it died would appreciate any advice on what could be causing this problem thanks

62 people found this helpful.

Fuel pump diagnostic: FIRST - Before doing anything, use starter fluid in the air intake and attempt to start the car. If it easily starts and runs until starter fluid somewhat immediately burns up and the car dies again, you have ruled out air or spark issues. The car is proven to run if it gets fuel. THEN 1) key power on car without starting and listen for fuel pump to cycle.. may be necessary to have someone actually put ear close to open fuel fill opening as some are very quiet. 2) Check both the fuel pump fuse and fuel pump relay in the power distribution box under the hood. It is a black box with a lid held on by tabs. The under side of the lid usually has the schematic of which fuse is what. If not, Google search for your vehicle. The relay should have a click sound when someone key on the vehicle without actually trying to start it. If the person tries to start it, you won't be able to hear click due to engine noise. 3) Check the pressure on the fuel rail using an appropriate fuel pressure gauge. There is a valve with cap similar to the valve and cap ending on a tire. No pressure means fuel pump not working. *Another quick check is a manual depression of the valve stem to see if a fuel will come out under pressure. 4) But, check voltage near pump. The pump may not be working as it failed, OR there may be a bigger issue of not getting power.This may require some work as the tank often has to be dropped to complete this step. If you are getting power, but no pump noise.. Sorry, it is the pump.

45 people found this helpful.

Wow. I now see this problem is pretty common. My 2002 Pontiac Sunfire is turning my hair gray. Was driving fine, but I made a stop at the store then it wouldn't start back up. Had it towed home. Two days later I ran errands ALL day. Went home. Tried to leave back out, but it wouldn't start. Spraying starting fluid into the air intake gets it started then it shuts off 3 seconds later. I'm going to re-read these posts and see if I can figure this out.

3 people found this helpful.

I'm still not sure how to determine if it's the filter or the pump. Of course I'd rather it be the filter (MUCH cheaper to fix) Lol. I don't want to get the pump changed and it only needed a new filter.

12 people found this helpful.

So I don't know if this helps out all but I had a similar problem... Check your spark plug wires. Took a nap in my car one day (had a long break in between a doubel shift and I live to far away) had the car running for maybe an hour, fully turned on but when I woke up, it was quiet. Radio and lights are still on but the engine wasn't. Tried to start the car. Battery was dead. Got it jumped... Assumed that was the problem. Next day I turned on my car, started driving and I felt like the engine had no power. The engine started missing and it acted like it was gonna die. Took it to the mechanic. His code showed a cylinder 4 misfire. I have 4 cylinder engine. He drove it, it drovr just fine, guessed that I just needed a new engine coil. He Put one in. With in the same day it happened again. Car struggled under pressure and would start to miss. Took it back, this time he says he could hear the spark plugs snapping. He replaced my old coil, refunded the money and just charged me for labor and the spark plug wires. It's been about a week now and my car has been fine. I'd check those. It's probably your problem.

7 people found this helpful.

My 1997 Silverado I've changed the fuel pump still here no sound from pump truck just spinding what could it be.

2 people found this helpful.

I'm going to change filter 2 checked all the fuses they all good .

2 people found this helpful.

94 Chevy Camry fuel pump works but how come my car runs a while then dies and gotta wait 35 to 45 min till it runs again

20 people found this helpful.

I have. A 2004 grand marquis it all of a sudden died on me while driving on the loop it's not my battery of alternator what can It be

5 people found this helpful.

What could be the problem I have a 1994 Toyota Camry I was driving on the highway and all of a sudden the rpm died and didn't start again. What could be the problem.

34 people found this helpful.

84 toyota corolla tank only allows 6 gsllons of gas...fuel tank has gone empty abd stranded a couple of times because of my next problem...fuel gauge is off.....and from a stop i have to pump the gas so it wont die but itll go after that.....

5 people found this helpful.

Well had the same problem car was overheating due to the fuel pump relay i replace the filter and the pcv only to find out the relay was bad or going bad some would say because my car was running with a bad relay try the relay and change out the filter just to be safe

1 people found this helpful.

Ps its your filter thats why you have lack of gas going to the engine

3 people found this helpful.

Hey I don't know if u can help me but have a 1998 Pontiac grand Prix and it runs but after awhile it cuts off but started right back up like it ain't never cut off then when I get it home and put it park before I can cut off the car it cut off its self it's not my feul pump had that looked at the computer read mass air sensor got that then I got a idle then a crank sensor but it still cutting off please help me

7 people found this helpful.

Having the same problem as doesn't want to turn on. It was fine then I stopped at a store and didn't want to turn on..I'm waiting to find a truck to tow it home. Not to mention, I was about 1 hr from home :(

3 people found this helpful.

I'm having same problem everytime I run it until theres not a drop of gas in the tank it wont start what the hell is going on please help!!!

3 people found this helpful.

my fuel pump kicks in after i try to start it and shut off car.. any thoughts

8 people found this helpful.

96 toyota 4runner. starts, runs and then go to turn it back on and nope. days later finally turns on and runs. not sure what it is! cranks fine, plugs and wires replaced

6 people found this helpful.

I have a 2002 Toyota Camary. Its not getting any fuel to the injection.But the fuel pump is pumping.Can someone please tell me whats the problem

16 people found this helpful.

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