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What Are the Most Common Diesel Fuel Injection Pump Problems?

Every diesel-powered vehicle requires fuel to run, but problems with its diesel fuel injection pump can have a significant impact on the fuel system’s operation and efficiency. Unless you’re a diesel mechanic yourself, you don’t have to know all the ins and outs of diesel repair and maintenance.


That being said, every diesel owner should be aware of a few maintenance tips that can keep a diesel vehicle running smoothly. Today, we’ll walk you through what a diesel fuel injection pump does, some of the common problems associated with pump failure, and how you can prevent injection pump problems.


What does a diesel fuel injection pump do?

To understand the role of a diesel fuel injection pump, simply take a close look at this part’s name. It’s a pump that injects diesel fuel into the internal combustion chamber of a diesel engine. The fuel enters the injector under pressure and exits as a fine mist through a spray tip.


What causes fuel injection pump failure?

Typically, diesel fuel injection pump problems are caused by 4 things:


  1. Contaminated diesel fuel – Dirty or subpar fuel can cause debris to build up inside your vehicle’s fuel system. When it does, the residue often impacts the performance of the fuel injector’s spray tip. A buildup of grime, grease, or debris inside the spray tip can lead to engine sputtering or hesitation when you have your foot on the gas and are trying to speed up.
  2. An empty fuel tank – Are you one of those diesel drivers who only fills up when the tank is nearly empty? If so, you might want to change your habits. Driving with a tank that’s low on fuel can quickly cause diesel fuel injection pump problems. That’s because with little fuel in the tank, the system pushes air through instead of fuel. That can wear out the fuel pump bearings and leave the fuel injectors not getting adequately pressurized diesel fuel.
  3. A dirty fuel injector – Today’s vehicles are complex machines with high-precision parts. A diesel vehicle’s fuel system is no exception. When dirt, debris, or another foreign object makes its way inside, it can wreak havoc on the fuel injector and compromise its performance.
  4. Faulty timing – When the fuel system’s timing is off for any reason, problems ensue. Bad timing of the fuel transfer process could be due to several causes but most often, it’s from faulty O-rings or ball seats.


3 ways to prevent common fuel injection pump problems

The good news is that diesel fuel injection pump problems can often be prevented if you keep 3 simple things in mind:


  1. Pay attention to the diesel fuel you use. Find a source for clean, reliable diesel fuel and stick with it. What you put in your diesel vehicle will certainly affect its performance.
  2. Have the fuel filter changed regularly. We recommend fuel filter replacement every 40,000 miles. As with any vehicle, preventative maintenance can help stave off problems down the road.
  3. Don’t let your fuel tank get too low. Whenever possible, aim to keep a ¼ tank of fuel or more at all times. Doing this can help prevent diesel fuel injection pump problems and also ensure you’re not left scrambling to find a gas station that sells diesel fuel.


Using the right fuel and keeping the right amount of it in the tank are two things YOU can do. When you need diesel repair or maintenance, WE are happy to help! With expert mechanics and top-of-the-line tools and technology, our Tempe auto repair shop is equipped to handle all your vehicle repair and maintenance needs. Simply give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

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