How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump?

To start a car with a bad fuel pump, use an alternate fuel source like starter fluid or jumper cables. Then, get the faulty fuel pump replaced by a professional mechanic.

As a car owner, having a bad fuel pump can be quite frustrating and inconvenient. The car won’t start, and you’re left stranded in the middle of nowhere. But there are ways to get your car up and running again even with a bad fuel pump.

We will discuss some tips and tricks to help you start your car with a bad fuel pump and buy yourself enough time to get it fixed. In this article, we’ll go over the signs of a bad fuel pump, steps to starting the car with a bad pump, and precautions to take while driving with a bad fuel pump. Remember that these techniques are temporary fixes and the fuel pump needs to be replaced as soon as possible by a professional mechanic.

The Causes And Symptoms Of A Bad Fuel Pump

What Is A Fuel Pump And How Does It Work?

A fuel pump is an essential component of your car’s engine system, responsible for transporting gasoline from the fuel tank to the engine. Its main job is to maintain consistent fuel pressure and deliver the required amount of gasoline through the fuel injectors.

The fuel pump works by suctioning gasoline from the fuel tank and transporting it through the fuel lines and the injectors.

Signs That You May Have A Bad Fuel Pump

It’s essential to understand the common symptoms of a bad fuel pump to prevent your vehicle from breaking down due to a failed fuel system. These signs may include:

  • Engine fails to start: If the fuel pump isn’t able to transfer the required fuel volume or pressure to the engine, it may fail to start or may take longer to start.
  • Sputtering: A sputtering engine may be an indication of a fuel pump that’s about to fail. A faulty fuel pump may not provide adequate fuel to the injectors, making the engine stutter or misfire.
  • Stalling: If your engine suddenly stops running for no apparant reason, the fuel pump could be failing. A bad fuel pump cannot provide the engine with sufficient fuel supply, causing it to stall.
  • Loss of power: A failing or bad fuel pump can affect your vehicle’s performance, causing it to lose power even at full throttle.
  • Fuel pressure: A sudden drop in fuel pressure may indicate a failing fuel pump.
  • Loud noise: A failing fuel pump may begin to make unusual sounds like whining or squeaking.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take your vehicle to an experienced mechanic to get the fuel pump checked and replaced if required.

Temporary Fixes To Start The Car With A Bad Fuel Pump

Starting a car with a bad fuel pump can be a real challenge. Although there is no denying that you need to replace the fuel pump, it is possible to start the car on a temporary basis until you can get it fixed.

Let’s take a look at some of the temporary fixes you can try to start a car with a bad fuel pump.

Check The Fuel Gauge And Fuel Filter

It’s essential to check the fuel gauge and filter before you try anything else. A faulty fuel gauge or clogged fuel filter often mimics a bad fuel pump. Have someone turn the key to the “on” position while you listen for a buzzing sound from the fuel pump.

If you hear it, it could be another issue, and the temporary fixes will not work. However, if you don’t hear anything, it’s time to move to the next step.

  • Check the fuel gauge to ensure you have enough gas.
  • Inspect the fuel filter and replace it if it is clogged.

Using Starter Fluid To Get The Engine Running

Using starter fluid is an age-old method to start a car with a bad fuel pump. You can pick up a can of starter fluid from any auto parts store.

  • Locate the air intake for your car. It’s usually on the top of the engine.
  • Remove the air filter from the top of the air intake.
  • Open the can of starter fluid and spray a small amount into the air intake.
  • Replace the air filter and try starting the car.

Using A Hammer Or Mallet To Bang On The Fuel Tank

Believe it or not, sometimes a bang on the fuel tank can get the fuel pump going.

  • Locate the fuel tank. It’s usually located near the rear of the car.
  • Using a rubber mallet or a hammer wrapped with a towel, bang on the fuel tank.
  • Have someone turn the key to the “on” position while you bang on the tank.
  • If the fuel pump starts, the car should start.

Activating The Fuel Pump Manually

If nothing else works, it’s time to manually activate the fuel pump. Be sure to check your car’s manual to see if you can do this on your specific make and model. There should be a fuel pump relay that you can activate to run the fuel pump.

  • Locate the fuel pump relay in your car’s fuse box.
  • Remove the fuel tank fuse from the fuse box.
  • Straighten a paper clip and insert one end into the fuel pump fuse slot and the other into the ignition fuse slot.
  • Turn the key to the “on” position, and the fuel pump should begin to operate.

These temporary fixes should get the car running until you can replace the faulty fuel pump. Remember that these fixes are only temporary, and you should not rely on them for an extended period. A bad fuel pump can cause dangerous driving conditions, so it’s essential to replace it as soon as possible.

Permanent Solutions To Fix A Bad Fuel Pump

If you’ve been struggling with a bad fuel pump, you may be wondering about permanent solutions to fix the issue. Fortunately, there are a few options available depending on your circumstances. Follow this guide to discover the best options for you.

Replacing The Fuel Pump

If your fuel pump is beyond repair, the most permanent solution is to replace it entirely. Here are the key steps:

  • Consult your vehicle’s manual for the location of the fuel pump.
  • Gather the appropriate tools, such as a socket wrench and fuel line disconnect tool.
  • Disconnect the fuel lines and electrical connectors.
  • Remove the old fuel pump.
  • Replace it with a new one.
  • Reconnect the fuel lines and electrical connectors.
  • Turn the engine on and test the new fuel pump.

Installing A Fuel Pump Bypass Kit

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you may want to consider a fuel pump bypass kit. This option is suitable if you’re dealing with a broken fuel pump wire or faulty control module. Here are the steps:

  • Gather the appropriate tools, which may include a wire stripper, crimping tool, and screwdriver.
  • Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the kit you purchase.
  • Disconnect the fuel pump’s electrical connector.
  • Install the bypass kit according to the instructions provided.
  • Reconnect the electrical connector and test the engine.

Cleaning The Fuel System

In some cases, a bad fuel pump can be the result of a dirty fuel system. If this is the cause of your issue, cleaning the fuel system can lead to a permanent solution. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Gather the appropriate tools, such as a fuel system cleaner and a fuel filter.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the fuel system cleaner, but generally, it involves pouring the cleaner into the gas tank.
  • Replace the fuel filter.
  • Drive the car for at least 30 minutes.

Preventative Maintenance To Avoid A Bad Fuel Pump

The most effective solution to a bad fuel pump is preventing it from happening altogether. Here are some tips:

  • Always use high-quality fuel.
  • Follow the vehicle’s maintenance schedule, including replacing the fuel filter according to specified guidelines.
  • Monitor the fuel levels and avoid driving the car when the fuel tank is nearly empty.
  • Avoid using an older car for long periods without being driven.

By following these tips and solutions, you’ll be better equipped to deal with a bad fuel pump. Keep them in mind to help you tackle the issue efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump?

Can You Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump?

Yes, it’s possible to start a car with a bad fuel pump using some methods.

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Fuel Pump?

The common signs of a failing fuel pump include engine sputtering, low fuel pressure, and a whining sound.

How Do You Diagnose A Bad Fuel Pump?

One way to diagnose if your fuel pump is bad is by checking the fuel pressure with a gauge.

How Long Can You Drive With A Bad Fuel Pump?

It’s not recommended to drive with a bad fuel pump, as it can cause permanent damage to your engine.

Will A Bad Fuel Pump Cause The Check Engine Light To Come On?

Yes, a failing fuel pump may trigger the check engine light to come on due to low fuel pressure.


To sum it up, starting a car with a bad fuel pump is not an easy task, but with the right knowledge and preparations, you can make it happen. Remember to check the battery, electrical system, and fuel system before attempting to start, and consider using starter fluid if necessary.

Always prioritize safety when dealing with car problems, and seek professional help if needed. Keeping your car well-maintained and replacing the fuel pump when necessary can prevent this issue from occurring in the first place. With these tips in mind, you can avoid getting stuck on the road and enjoy a smooth driving experience.

Stay safe and happy driving!