How Fuel Pumps Work

Step by step explanation on how an automotive fuel pump works. This article pertains to most fuel injected vehicles.

Step 1 - A fuel pump starts by being submerged inside of a fuel tank which is common among all fuel injected vehicles. The sump holds fuel near the pump inlet.

Fuel Pump Sump

Step 2 - A connector is located near the top of the fuel tank, which is used to supply power and ground for the fuel pump and sensing wires of the fuel level sender.

Fuel Pump Wires

Step 3 - A corrugated fuel tube is used to connect the pump to the top of the tank through the cap plate.

Fuel Tube

Step 4 - Sometimes held in by clips the fuel pump can by mounted to the top plate and be serviced as a unit.

Fuel Pump In Tank

Step 5 - The pump body is where an electric motor is mounted to a small vein pump which picks up gas and then pressurizes the fuel system.

Fuel Pump Body

Step 6 - The fuel level sender is attached to the fuel pump housing. This float rides on the fuel level while the sensing resistor provides feedback data for the computer.

Fuel Level Float

Step 7 - A pre-filter is used to keep large debris from the pump inlet which would hinder pump performance.

Fuel Pump Pre Filter

Step 8 - Once the fuel has been pressurized, the fuel filter cleanses it before traveling into the fuel injection system.

Fuel Filter

Step 9 - A fuel pressure regulator is used the control pressure maintained in the system.

Fuel Pressure Regulator

Helpful Information

A fuel injection system is more efficient than its predecessor, the carburetor, and can better operate in extreme conditions. Electric fuel pumps can experience wear and tear on the armature, brushes or bearings, which causes a gradual loss of pressure. An inlet filter sock is designed to block tank sediments. Running the fuel pump out of gas can cause premature failure.

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