There are many systems on later model cars that will sometimes give you early warning signs, alerting you that a problem is looming on the horizon. If you pay attention to items like minor fluid leaks, odd noises or odors, it may save you from a costly breakdown.
However, there are some vehicle components that will fail without much warning! One such component is the fuel pump. When it fails, your vehicle will not run. Therefore, I like to do whatever I can to maximize its durability.
You can extend the life of your fuel pump by always maintaining at least a ¼ tank of gas. These tank mounted pumps are cooled by the surrounding gasoline and low fuel levels can overheat and overwork the pump, causing them to fail prematurely.
Another tip to get over 100,000 miles out of the fuel pump is to replace your fuel filter more often. Modern fuel systems have filters that are very effective at protecting expensive fuel injectors, but when they begin to get restricted, they tax the pump excessively which can lead to early failure too! I replace my vehicle’s fuel filters at 20k mile intervals and I recently passed 100 k miles on my vehicle with the original pump. Unfortunately, some vehicles have non-serviceable filters. Some people call that progress. I call it planned obsolescence.
Given the fact that most fuel pumps are modular components that are serviced as assembly, they can run you more than $900 as well as leaving you stranded.
A few more trips to the gas station doesn’t sound that bad after all (given the benefit). Besides, who can resist those giant fountain drinks at the mini-marts!
If you have a car question or comment, please email me through the Contact page at http://www.yourautonetwork.com
Cary Lockwood of YourAutoNetwork.com is an automotive consumer advocate, and host of the “Calling All Cars” radio show heard in Phoenix on KXXT 1010 AM and KXEG 1280 AM. Cary has over 30 years in the auto industry.