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Sam Memmolo


In this era of record high gasoline and diesel fuel prices, combined with the soaring costs of many amenities including food, most every working family’s budget is strained. Refueling a vehicle has always been a bother and an inconvenience, but now it’s a costly and disturbing task for most of us.

Now more than ever, it seems like many drivers are driving around with their fuel tanks very low. This is neither surprising nor unusual, but it can be very costly in the long term.

Most all vehicles have been equipped with fuel injection since the mid to late nineteen eighties. Electronic fuel injection with its computer controls delivers better fuel economy, performance and reliability, while also helping to reduce exhaust emissions.

These efficient fuel injection systems require a very stable, constant flow of pressurized fuel in order to perform effectively. An electric fuel pump was the answer to providing the pressure and volume needed for most all driving conditions. Engineers placed the high pressure fuel pump directly inside the vehicle’s fuel tank. This was done for several reasons.

Locating the electric fuel pump directly inside the vehicle’s fuel tank has several benefits.
These benefits include fewer fuel lines, safer connections, lower noise levels, and better cooling of the pump’s electrics. The electric fuel pump is literally submerged in the liquid fuel. Here’s where the problem arises.

Driving with the fuel levels very low makes the pump work harder to “pull” the fuel through itself, and when the level is low enough, the pump lacks sufficient cooling.

Running any electric motor in high temperature conditions can shorten its service life, and may even make it require more current (amperage) to operate it. All of these conditions can contribute to reduced fuel pump life. In some extreme cases, the extra current draw required to operate the pump may cause damage to the electronic control unit or even the relays. This may be costly, and also could potentially be a roadside breakdown in the making.

What can vehicle owners do to help extend the life of their electronic fuel pumps?
Simply maintain a fuel level of at least one-half of the tanks capacity. This may not always be possible, but the more fuel in the tank, the cooler the pump runs. Anyone who has had one of these in tank pumps replaced knows all too well how expensive this repair can be. The average vehicle’s fuel pump replacement can top $500.00 parts and labor.

This tip may save you some time, money, and inconvenience.

Happy motoring!
Sam Memmolo

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