The fuel pump in your car’s fuel system is very good at sending gas in your engine’s direction. But it’s not so good at keeping tabs on how much fuel that your engine needs at any given moment. It’s why your car needs a fully-functioning fuel pressure regulator in it. This part is responsible for ensuring that your engine gets the right amount of fuel sent to it at all times.
The fuel pressure regulator in your fuel system should last for as long as your car does. Unless you expose it to grueling conditions on a daily basis, you should be able to keep it around for the long haul. You may, however, find that your fuel pressure regulator will go bad on you for one reason or another before the end of your car’s life. So you’ll need to know how to tell whether or not you may have a bad fuel pressure regulator on your hands.
Learn more about what a fuel pressure regulator is below before finding out more about the 8 signs that’ll show you that your fuel pressure regulator is on its last legs.
What Is a Fuel Pressure Regulator?
The fuel pressure regulator plays a very important part in the overall well-being of your fuel system. But it’s not all that difficult to understand what it does. It essentially helps to control the fuel pressure that is built up in a car’s electronic fuel injection system so that the right amount of fuel is always flowing towards your engine. Without a working fuel pressure regulator, too much fuel might get to your car’s fuel injectors and find its way into your engine.
Here is a very basic breakdown of how the fuel pressure regulator in your car works:
- Your fuel pressure regulator receives all of the fuel pressure that is delivered throughout your fuel supply line by your fuel pump
- Your fuel pressure regulator figures out whether or not the fuel pressure is too high
- If the fuel pressure is too high, your fuel pressure regulator limits how much of it can pass through
- Your fuel pressure regulator will help to send any fuel that’s not needed back to your fuel tank through your fuel return line
As you can see, there isn’t anything all that complicated about your car’s fuel pressure regulator. But if yours isn’t working, it could spell trouble for your engine and your car as a whole. It’s why you need to know some of the signs of a bad fuel pressure regulator. We’re going to discuss them next.
What Are the Top Signs of a Bad Fuel Pressure Regulator?
More often than not, a fuel pressure regulator that has gone bad will become more restrictive than it should be. It’ll stop the right amount of fuel from flowing through a fuel system and rob fuel injectors of the fuel that they need to send to your engine.
Since this is the case, it’s not going to be all that challenging to figure out when the fuel pressure regulator in your car might be bad. There are so many signs that will start to pop up when you have a faulty fuel pressure regulator on your hands. Here are the most obvious signs of a bad fuel pressure regulator.
1. Your Car Isn’t Getting Good Fuel Efficiency
One of the very first things you’ll usually notice when you have a bad fuel pressure regulator is decreased fuel efficiency. You’re going to begin burning through fuel way quicker than you would otherwise when your fuel pressure regulator isn’t working properly.
Why? Well, the cylinders in your engine won’t get access to enough fuel when your fuel pressure regulator is bad. This will result in your engine working harder than it should have to, which will result in more fuel being sent in its direction. It’ll lead to your car burning through more fuel than normal.
If it feels like you’re filling your car up with gas more than you should have to, it’s a sign that something is going wrong in your fuel system. And that something could potentially be a bad fuel pressure regulator that’s wreaking havoc on your car.
2. You Have Black Smoke Shooting Out of Your Exhaust System
Is there anything scarier than the sight of black smoke coming out of your tailpipe? It can make you feel like your car is going to catch fire at any moment. Fortunately, black smoke isn’t usually an indication that that’s going to happen. But it might be an indication that you have a bad fuel pressure regulator!
When you have a bad fuel pressure regulator, it’s going to result in your engine receiving the wrong air-fuel mixture in most cases. That mixture could very well produce black smoke in your engine that is then sent through your exhaust system and out of your car. It’ll let you know that it’s time to think about swapping out your old fuel pressure regulator for a new one.
You might also want to see if there are any problems with your air filter or your fuel injectors when you have black smoke coming out of your car. A clogged air filter or damaged fuel injectors could be to blame for the black smoke that you see.
3. Your Car Is Leaking Fuel
Your fuel pressure regulator might be designed to last for a really long time. But the seals that are situated on both sides of it are, unfortunately, not! If one or both of those seals breaks, it’s going to lead to fuel leaking from your car in many instances.
To be clear, there are also many other things that can lead to fuel leaking from your car. Something as simple as contaminants getting into your fuel can lead to leaking occurring. But you might want to at least consider the possibility of you have a bad fuel pressure regulator if you have a fuel leak. And you’re going to want to get the situation straightened out as soon as you possibly can to prevent any more fuel from leaking.
4. Your Car Isn’t Accelerating As It Should
A lack of acceleration from your car is another surefire sign that you might have a bad fuel pressure regulator. Because a bad fuel pressure regulator is going to stop fuel from flowing to your engine cleanly, you aren’t going to be able to accelerate in your car like you usually do.
You can step on your gas pedal as hard as you want when you notice that it seems to be having accelerating issues. But the only thing that this is going to do is put your engine in danger since you’ll be overworking it without providing it with the fuel that it needs.
You’re also going to put yourself in danger when your car stops accelerating due to fuel pressure regulator problems. Your car is going to become very unpredictable when the fuel pressure regulator isn’t working since you’ll never know when it’s going to start and stop. You could put yourself and others out on the road into harm’s way if you’re not careful.
5. Your Engine Is Always Misfiring
Your car’s engine can misfire for any number of reasons. In some cases, it may misfire because of a bad spark plug, while in others, it may misfire because of an issue with your ignition coil. But you shouldn’t ignore the fact that a bad fuel pressure regulator could also be to blame for your engine misfiring.
When your engine misfires, it can be very scary. You’re going to hear your engine make strange sounds and feel strange vibrations coming from under your hood. You’re also going to notice a big difference in the way that you’re car drives. You’re going to have to identify the problem at hand to get your engine to stop misfiring ASAP.
6. Your Engine Refuses to Start
Most of the time, you’re going to see signs of a bad fuel pressure regulator while your car is turned on and running. But you might also realize that you have a bad fuel pressure regulator without even turning your car on. That’s because your fuel pressure regulator might prevent you from starting your car at all if it’s faulty.
If your fuel pressure regulator has gone bad on you, it might not be able to push enough fuel towards your engine when you go to start it. This will inevitably lead to you having a tough time cranking your engine and getting it started. You might eventually be able to get your engine to turn over and start, but you should still be concerned about what’s going on with your car. Taking it to an auto repair shop right away should be your only option.
7. Your Spark Plugs Are Black
If you suspect that there might be something wrong with your car’s fuel pressure regulator, you should sneak a quick peek at your spark plugs. If you have a bad fuel pressure regulator, there is a decent chance that your spark plugs are going to be black.
Your spark plugs are going to be black because of the black deposits that can start to accumulate on them due to the rich fuel-air mixture that forms when a fuel pressure regulator is bad. You’re going to see your spark plugs get blacker and blacker over time as these deposits continue to form. They’ll be yet another sign that you need to have your car checked out by a mechanic.
8. Your Fuel Pump Is Making Too Much Noise
You’ve probably started your car up so many times at this point that you don’t even hear your fuel pump anymore when you do. But a fuel pump often makes a humming sound when it starts working shortly after a car is turned out. And it’ll be especially prominent whenever you’re accelerating in your car.
If your fuel pump isn’t making any sounds louder than a gentle hum, that’s not going to be good. It’s going to let you know that there could be an issue with your fuel pump or with the fuel pressure regulator that’s connected to it. Either way, you’re going to want to have your car inspected by a mechanic to see what’s causing trouble with your fuel pump.
How Much Does a New Fuel Pressure Regulator Cost?
You might be able to get away with driving a car around with a bad fuel pressure regulator for a little while. But generally speaking, you should try to replace a bad fuel pressure regulator as soon as you can to avoid putting any unnecessary wear and tear on your fuel pump, your fuel injectors, or your engine.
A new fuel pressure regulator isn’t necessarily going to be the most affordable car part in the world. But on average, you should only have to pay between $250 and $340 for a new one. That includes $150 to $200 for parts and $100 to $140 for labor. You may also want to replace some of the other components of your fuel system while a mechanic is already tinkering around with it.
How to Sell a Car With a Bad Fuel Pressure Regulator
If you have an older car with a bad fuel pressure regulator, paying several hundred dollars to replace it might be out of the question. Instead, why not consider selling your old car so that you’re able to put cash into your pockets as opposed to spending money?
Cash Cars Buyer specializes in purchasing cars that have problems, like bad fuel pressure regulators. We can send you an offer for your car today after you let us know:
- Your name and location
- The make and model of your car
- The year your car was produced
- The number of miles on your car
We can also arrange to pick your car up wherever you would like so that you don’t have to get caught driving around in a vehicle with a bad fuel pressure regulator in it. Contact us today to discover more about selling an old car to Cash Cars Buyer!