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Signs Of A Bad Fuel Pump Relay – What Causes A Fuel Pump Relay To Go Bad?

Signs Of A Bad Fuel Pump Relay

There are many parts of a car, one of the most important part is the fuel pump relay. The fuel pump relay is like the heart of the vehicle. It allows the vehicle to start up and shut down. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

It is important to keep an eye on the fuel pump relay, if you keep up with your inspections, you should be perfectly fine. If you experience any of the signs of a bad fuel pump relay, you need to get it inspected immediately. 

Costs can range from high to low, it all just depends on where and how you get your fuel pump relay replaced. 

This article will introduce you to understanding what a fuel pump relay is and what it does. It will also allow you to understand  the five signs of a bad fuel pump relay. It will explain the cost, and how long it will last. 

What is a Fuel Pump Relay, and What Does it do? 


A fuel pump relay is a plastic covered part connected to the fuel pump. It is one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Without the fuel pump relay, you won’t even be able to drive your vehicle. The fuel pump relay allows the fuel pump to power up when you turn on your vehicle, and allows it to shut down when you turn the ignition off. 

The fuel pump relay can be found in different locations depending on your car’s make, model, and year. You can figure out where it is by either looking through your owner’s manual or searching it up online. You can locate it in places like on the firewall, under the hood, next to the steering columns,or on one of the fender covers. 

When you start up your car, the fuel pump relay gives your vehicle enough energy until your fuel pump is ready for use. When the fuel pump starts up, the fuel pump relay turns off. It stays off until you shut down your car. Once the vehicle is shut down, the fuel pump relay forces the fuel pump to stop.

Signs of a Bad Fuel Pump Relay


Now that you know how the fuel pump relay works, and what it is made up of. Now you must understand the signs of a bad fuel pump relay to avoid complicated problems with your combustion system. 

There are multiple ways to know if you have a bad fuel pump relay. In this section, we summarize the most common signs of a bad fuel pump relay, according to professionals and experts recommendations.. 

If you encounter any of these signs, you should get in contact with a professional, and get it fixed immediately. It is recommended that you get the bad fuel pump relay fixed as soon as possible; even if it takes you a lot of time and effort, still, it’s better than dealing with complicated issues with your combustion system.


  • Losing Power



Loss of power can occur due to many different problems with your vehicle, including a bad fuel pump relay. Well, if your fuel pump relay goes bad, the first thing you will notice is a loss of power.


For instance, if you are driving a vehicle with a bad fuel pump relay, the vehicle might shut down without any warning signs. Furthermore, things get more complicated if your vehicle shuts down on the highway. Think about the risk of getting involved in accidents. Thus, losing power due to a bad fuel pump relay is very critical and you must get it repaired as soon as you can.


Therefore, you must maintain regular maintenance for your fuel pump relay to avoid getting into these situations.



  • Engine Not Starting



Another sign of a bad  fuel pump relay  is your engine not starting. When you first fire the engine, it will require fuel to create the combustion explosion. If the fuel pump relay is bad, the pump will not send the required fuel to the engine. As a result, the engine will not start. 


Engine not starting could be due to many different reasons, not only the fuel pump relay. To confirm the cause, you must get your vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic



  • Pump not making sounds



The fuel pump usually makes a certain sound when you start up your vehicle indicating that it’s functioning. When you hear these sounds, it means electricity is being pumped properly and smoothly into the fuel pump. 

On the other hand, if you don’t hear these sounds when you start up your engine, it could be a faulty fuel pump relay. While the fuel pump relay might be the culprit, there are other causes for the pump not functioning including a damaged pump.

Again, the best way to confirm is to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. 



  • Engine Stopping 



The vehicle’s engine requires constant supply of fuel to function.You may experience a situation where you are about to go to a destination and your vehicle suddenly stops. This may indicate that either your fuel relay, fuel tank, or fuel filter is not working..When the fuel pump relay stops working, it’s like driving without fuel, and engine stopping suddenly is not surprising. To avoid getting into such a situation, and even if it can be hassle at the time, you must maintain a working fuel pump relay by performing regular maintenance and repair it when needed.



  • Check engine illuminating



Your vehicle’s internal computer uses the check engine light to indicate problems that needs your attention. While some of these problems can easily be fixed, many could lead to significant vehicle problems leading to a complete failure.


One of the very common check engine light error codes is P0231. This code indicates a malfunction  within the fuel pump internal circuit. 



  • High vehicle mileage



While the high mileage is not a direct sign of a bad fuel pump relay, as your vehicle gets older, it is more likely for the for the fuel pump relay to malfunction like any other part of your vehicle. 

Therefore, if your vehicle has high milage, you might need to consider performing regular maintenance to the fuel pump relay along with the other vehicle parts that you check. 


  • Burning



The most dangerous sign of a bad fuel pump relay is when it starts to light on fire due to high current or voltage. While there is a potential to get your vehicle on fire due to a bad fuel pump relay, this situation is very rare. However, if it happened, you must get help from a professional mechanic and no attempt to fix it on your own unless you have the required mechanic skills. If you do not have these skills, you might introduce more complicated problems putting your life in dangor or completely damage your vehicle.

How much does it cost to replace a fuel pump relay?


The cost of a fuel pump relay is around $90 to $150, it may look expensive at first site, but it is a really cheap machine compared to other parts of a vehicle. The actual price of the part ranges between $20 and $50. 

If you dont already know, vehicles repairs costs are divided into two categories: parts costs and labor costs. Thus, getting the same work done at a dealership will require much higher costs than getting it done at a small repair shop as the labor cost varies significantly. 


While having the repairs done at a small repair shop is cheaper, some people prefer to repair their cars at the original manufacturer’s dealership. This is because dealerships have professional mechanics with deep experience in certain vehicle’s makes. As a result, there is no risk for introducing new problems while working on the current repairs.

Other people prefer to use DYIs when it comes to vehicle’s repairs. While DYIs might be a great option, you want to make sure that you fully understand the process to avoid dealing with complicated problems requiring higher repair costs. 

 The fuel pump relay is a simple machine to achieve. You may get it at many places such as walmart, ebay, amazon, and almost any store. You can also achieve it at a mechanical shop, which is the most reliable place to shop for parts of a vehicle.

How Long Does a Fuel Pump Relay last?


The fuel pump relay is one of the most durable vehicle parts; it is supposed to last as long as your vehicle lasts. It is not very rare, however, for the fuel pump relay to get damaged or broken.

Usually, the fuel pump relay’s coil and contact points get damaged first due to tear, oxidization, rust and wear over time of use. While the fuel pump relay is not usually checked in regular maintenance, once the problem is introduced, you must get it replaced by a professional mechanic. 

Therefore, there is no clear time estimate of how long will a fuel pump relay last. This is because it depends on your driving style, the type of fuel you are using, and the environment you are driving in.

How to test fuel pump relay with multimeter?


Problems with fuel pump relay can easily be diagnosed and fixed using available online DIYs. Here are some steps you can do to test your fuel pump relay using a multimeter:

  • Pull out the fuel pump relay from the fuse box.
  • Use a wire brush to clean any dirt or debris on the fuel pump relay
  • Use the multimeter to test the resistance in your fuel pump relay. Before you do that, you must know which prong should be connected to the power by reading the circuit diagram on the relay.
  • Using the multimeter, ensure that it is set to ohm setting. Otherwise, you will not be able to get the correct measurement 
  • Connect the relay to the vehicle’s battery using a jumper wire
  • Using the other side of the jumper, connec the positive and negative wires to the correct relay terminals.
  • If you hear a ticking sound, it indicates that the relay is still functioning
  • Using the two probs of the multimeter, connect them to the prongs of the relay
  • The multimeter reading should show a zero measurement to indicate a perfectly working relay. If the number is greater than zero, then the relay is not working properly and you must get it replaced by a professional mechanic. 
  • Disconnect the multimeter probs and the jumper from both the battery and the pump relay.
  • Put the pump relay back in the fues box if it is working just fine. Ohterwise, install a new pump relay.




The fuel pump relay is a small part connected to your fuel pump. It is responsible for triggering your fuel pump to start as you fire your engine, and forces it to stop as you shut down your vehicle. 

While the fuel pump relay is a durable vehicle part and it can last as long as your vehicle lasts, it can tear, wear, or get completely damaged. 

A faulty fuel pump relay prevents your engine from running as the fuel is not supplied. There are many signs of a bad fuel pump relay including loss of power, engine not starting, pump not making the common noise, and vehicle getting on fire. 

While all listed signs could happen due to many other issues in your vehicle, the fuel pump relay might be the culprit. 

Whatever the cause was, if you noticed any of the signs we mentioned above, you must get your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic as soon as possible to avoid getting involved in more complicated issues that will require high repair costs and could lead to a complete vehicle failure.

The fuel pump relay can easily be diagnosed and replaced if you have the required mechanical skillsets. Therefore, many people find it easy to replace their fuel pump relay on their own. 

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