How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your car just won't start, or your car's performance is lower, and you suspect it might be because of a bad fuel pump? Well, fear not! Even though fixing a faulty fuel pump is a job for the experts, there are a few tricks you can try to get your car running temporarily.

A person must accept the fact that the tricks are only temporary solutions, and he must be fully aware of this. It is just like having a plaster on a small cut, waiting for the doctor to arrive. The fuel pumps won't be actually repaired here, but we'll try to ignore it somehow. Reframe it as a car metaphor for the interaction between you and your car, and imagine how you talk to it with little attention, give it a boost, and help it move faster. Let's learn how to start a car in a pinch with a bad fuel pump.

Fuel Pump 6

Weak Fuel Pump Symptoms

A fuel pump works perfectly if there is no issue. However, it will show some signs that you can recognize. If you are wondering what happens when the fuel pump failure goes out while driving or becomes weak, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Weird Noise: A fuel tank usually produces a quiet hum, but when there is any issue, that gets turned into a loud, strange, and bad fuel pump sound. If you spot this symptom in your car, it means the gas tank is not receiving adequate fuel, and the fuel pump needs an urgent fix.
  • Difficult To Start: A defective fuel pump makes it challenging to start the car, or it might crank when you try to do so. This often happens when the mechanical fuel pumps are wearing out. Typically, a pump requires replacement after traveling 100,000 miles at maximum.
  • Less Power: Another indication of a worn-out fuel pump is that your car will feel weak to drive when you try to speed it up or take it uphill.
  • Worse Gas Mileage: If your vehicle suddenly starts using more gas than usual and its mileage is also dropping simultaneously, the pump has likely gotten weak. A damaged fuel pump lets fuel escape from the tank unnecessarily, leading to this sign.
  • Stalling In Hot Weather: In case your vehicle sputters or stops suddenly on hot days, the fault is likely to be in the fuel pump.
Fuel Pump 5

How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump Relay

In case your fuel pump suddenly gets out of service with no mechanic nearby, you can follow the tricks below to make your fuel pump work. The very first step is to attach a fuel pressure gauge to your vehicle’s engine to know whether the fuel pump is causing the issue or if something else is wrong with your car. If it’s the fuel pump, then you can follow the below method to fix the problem:

Apply External Pressure To The Fuel Pump Manually

Here’s how to apply external pressure to the electrical fuel pumps. But before you proceed, remember the process requires careful attention to detail for accurate results. Also, a minor mistake can lead to severe consequences like fires or explosions. Thus, it’s better to let a professional handle this task.

Fuel Pump 4

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1- Take Proper Safety Precautions

It’s crucial to ensure you are working in a well-ventilated region, which must be miles away from anything that might source flames, sparks, or ignition. Also, do not forget to wear appropriate safety gear like gloves and eye protection for added security.

2- Disconnect Power

Next, you need to remove your car’s battery, as it can ignite during the process of applying external pressure to the electric fuel pumps.

3- Relieve Pressure

Look for additional pressure in the fuel system of your vehicle and release it before proceeding. You can do so by carefully loosening the relevant components, like the pressure regulator or the Schrader valve that is found on the fuel rail. Make sure to use a container to collect any fuel that might spray out during this process.

4- Identify Test Points

Finally, look for the areas where you need to apply external pressure. This is displayed by the pressure gauge you connected earlier to the fuel system.

Fuel Pump 3

5- Select Pressure Source

Use a pressure pump or a compressed gas source for this step. The type of your vehicle influences the right choice of equipment.

6- Apply Pressure Carefully

Now, start by applying pressure slowly to the fuel system using the chosen tool while keeping a close eye on the pressure gauge. Do not exceed the recommended pressure levels for your vehicle that are mentioned in the manufacturer's instructions manual.

7- Inspect For Leaks

As you apply external pressure to the fuel pump manually, it’s crucial to check the system for any leaks. Pay special attention to hoses, fittings, and connections for this purpose. If leakage is detected, remove the pressure you had applied earlier, fix the problem, and then repeat the steps mentioned above.

Finally, release the extra pressure carefully from the system yet again and reconnect the vehicle’s battery. Also, make sure all the components of the fuel setup are in place before testing it.

Bonus Tip: A bad or broken fuel pump might be showing the engine overheating, leading to multiple issues. All you need to do in this scenario is turn off the engine and open the hood so all the heat can dissipate. Give some time for the engine to cool down naturally before checking the coolant level.

Starting Car Without Working Fuel Pump Relay

Take Proper Safety PrecautionsAlleviate risk by working in an airy environment, reserving potential ignition sources, and wearing necessary safety gear.Work in a well-ventilated area, avoid ignition sources, wear gloves, goggles, etc.
Disconnect PowerDisable ignition during fuel pump pressure testing to reduce the spark going to the battery.Turn off the car's ignition and disconnect the car's battery.
Relieve PressureRelease regulator pressure by unplugging/removing the Schrader valve and containing fuel spray.Unplug/remove the Schrader valve, and collect fuel spray in a container.
Identify Test PointsLocate areas for external pressure application shown by the connected pressure gauge.Identify areas indicated by a pressure gauge.
Select Pressure SourceChoose a pressure pump or compressed gas source based on vehicle category for external pressure application.Select a pressure pump or compressed gas source depending on vehicle type.
Apply Pressure CarefullyApply pressure carefully to the fuel system, monitoring the pressure gauge and avoiding exceeding manual recommendations.Apply pressure carefully, monitor the gauge, and avoid exceeding manual recommendations.
Inspect For LeaksInspect the fuel system for leaks while applying external pressure to hoses, fittings, and connections.Inspect hoses, fittings, and connections for leaks while applying external pressure.
Release Pressure and Reconnect BatterySlowly release excess pressure, reconnect the car's battery and re-assemble fuel system components.Slowly release pressure, reconnect the battery, and reassemble fuel system components.
Fuel Pump 2

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How To Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump Using Starter Fluid

Hitting a fuel pump to start the car is not a good idea. Instead, you can try using starter fluid-like ether for a temporary fix. Here’s how to do so:

  • Ensure your car has a fuel-injected engine (most modern cars do).
  • Locate the air intake system, typically found near the engine.
  • Remove the air filter cover and element.
  • Have someone crank the engine while you spray a small amount of starter fluid into the air intake.
  • Be cautious not to overdo it; a quick spray is enough.
  • Attempt to start the car.
  • If the engine starts briefly but doesn't stay running, repeat the process.

How To Make A Car Run Without A Fuel Pump

Starting a car without a fuel pump is certainly not a practical solution, especially if you own one of the modern models. This pump is a crucial component of any vehicle’s setup to ensure a constant supply of fuel to the engine so the car keeps moving. Thus, if you try to bypass the absence of a fuel pump, it can lead to some severe consequences, including engine damage and safety hazards. However, if such a situation arises where the car's fuel pump suddenly fails and you need to move the car temporarily, the below methods can help.

Fuel Pump 1

Tow Or Push Start

If your car comprises a manual transmission, one option that can potentially work is to tow or push it so the vehicle gets the initial momentum. As it starts moving at a steady rate, you can then pop the clutch to engage the engine and kick-start it.

Gravity Feed

In a few older car models, you can use gravity to supply fuel to the engine. All you need to do is grab a clean container, fill it with gas, and disconnect the fuel line near the engine. Next up, attach a hose from the container to that fuel line. Make sure the container is higher than the engine so gravity can help the fuel flow. Now turn the ignition key to 'On' and try starting the car. If it starts, head to a mechanic right away for a permanent solution.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is The Fuel Pump Located?

Its location varies by vehicle make and model. It is commonly found inside the fuel tank. You have to consult your vehicle's manual or seek professional advice for accurate information.

What Is The Engine's Air Fuel Ratio?

It typically ranges from 14:1 to 15:1 for gasoline engines under normal operating conditions.

Can You Still Start A Car With A Bad Fuel Pump?

Yes. It is possible to start a car with a damaged fuel pump, and there are several methods to do so. For example, you can use a fuel pressure booster or apply external pressure to the fuel tank. Even utilizing a vacuum gauge or a fuel pump jump can help.

How Do I Temporarily Fix My Fuel Pump?

To temporarily fix a fuel pump issue, you can try tapping the fuel tank gently or checking for blown fuses and loose wires. However, these are not permanent solutions, and it's best to go for the fuel pump repair or even replace it as soon as possible.

Can You Jump Start A Bad Fuel Pump?

No, you cannot jumpstart a bad fuel pump. Jumpstarting refers to boosting a vehicle's battery to start the engine, which is unrelated to the fuel pump's function.

Will A Vehicle Start Without A Fuel Pump?

A vehicle with a bad fuel pump will typically not start because the fuel pump is responsible for delivering fuel to the engine. Without fuel, the engine won't run, thus hindering the functionality of the car.

How To Jumpstart A Fuel Pump?

To be precise, you can not jumpstart a fuel pump because it is only possible for components that have their own battery.


Dealing with a damaged fuel pump can be a real headache. Thus, I have tried to help you through this comprehensive guide on how to start a car with a bad fuel pump. I hope the information provided here will help you. However, these might be temporary fixes, and it's essential to prioritize long-term solutions for your vehicle's safety and performance.

For this, I would highly recommend consulting a professional mechanic who can accurately diagnose and address the issue, ensuring your car runs smoothly and reliably. If you've had experiences with a bad fuel pump, please share your insights in the comment box below. Your firsthand knowledge can be a valuable resource for others facing similar challenges.

Emma James

A distinguished writer with an impressive 8-year track record of contributing to various prominent informational websites.

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