Starting a car when the fuel pump is not working well is a real challenge. You think it’s impossible, but there are ways to do it.

This article will show you how to start a car with a bad fuel pump. It’s a skill that is very useful in a tough situation.

We will give you easy steps and tips to get your car running, even when the fuel pump has problems. This way, you can keep moving and stay safe on the road.

Let’s get started and learn how to tackle this car issue!

Diagnosing the Problem

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

Listen for Noise

Start by listening for a whirring sound when you turn on your car. This sound usually comes from the back, near the fuel tank. It means your fuel pump isn’t working if you hear nothing.

This is a simple first step to diagnose a fuel pump problem.

Check Fuel Pressure

To check the fuel pump’s health, use a fuel pressure gauge. Attach it to the fuel rail on your engine. When the pressure is lower than what your car needs, it’s a sign that your fuel pump will fail and needs attention.

Test Fuel Pump Relay

The relay is what gives power to the fuel pump. Testing this relay is important. Use a multimeter to see if the relay is working right. When it’s not, replacing the relay is necessary. This can solve fuel pump power issues.

Scan for Error Codes

A code scanner can read error codes from your car’s computer. These codes can show problems in the fuel system, including the fuel pump. Scanning for codes is a good way to determine what part of your fuel system needs fixing.

Temporary Solutions

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Pump Bypass

Sometimes, you can bypass a bad fuel pump to start your car. This involves creating a direct power line to the pump. It’s a tricky method and should be done carefully.

This temporary fix can get your car running until you can repair or replace the fuel pump.

Hammer Tapping

Tapping the fuel tank with a hammer can sometimes get a stuck fuel pump working again. This should be done gently. The vibration can free up parts inside the pump. This method doesn’t always work but can quickly fix urgent situations.

Heat and Ice Methods

Try the heat and ice methods if your fuel pump is affected by temperature. Applying heat with a hair dryer or cooling with ice packs can temporarily solve the issue.

This approach works by adjusting the pump’s temperature, potentially freeing any stuck components.

Use Starting Fluid

For a quick, temporary fix, use starting fluid. Spray a small amount into the engine’s air intake. This fluid acts like a temporary fuel, helping your engine start when the fuel pump fails.

Remember, this is just a short-term solution and needs to be used cautiously.

Towing and Repair Options

Car Fuel System Inspection

Calling for a Tow

Calling for a tow truck is safest if you can’t start your car due to a fuel pump issue. Towing your car to a mechanic prevents further damage.

This is a good choice if you’re uncomfortable trying temporary solutions or if those solutions don’t work.

Fuel Pump Replacement

Replacing your fuel pump is often the best solution if it is bad. A mechanic can do this for you. They will remove the old pump and put in a new one. This fix will get your car running normally again.

It’s a more permanent solution compared to temporary fixes.

Fuel Filter Check

When repairing or replacing the fuel pump, also check the fuel filter. A clogged filter can cause similar problems. Replacing the fuel filter and the pump ensures your fuel system works well.

This can help prevent future issues with your car stopping and starting.


tools to change oil

1. How do You Temporarily Fix a Bad Fuel Pump?

To temporarily fix a bad fuel pump, try hammer tapping, applying heat or ice, or using starting fluid. These methods get your car running for a short time. Remember, these are only quick fixes and not permanent solutions.

2. Can a Bad Fuel Pump Still Work?

Yes, a bad fuel pump can sometimes still work. It functions intermittently or at a lower efficiency. Symptoms like your car stopped accelerating can indicate a fuel pump is working poorly.

It’s best to get it checked and fixed as soon as possible.

3. Can a Car Run without a Fuel Pump?

No, a car cannot run without a fuel pump. The fuel pump is essential for delivering fuel from the tank to the engine. Without it, the engine won’t receive the fuel it needs.

The car starts if the fuel pump fails but won’t run properly.


Knowing how to start a car with a bad fuel pump is incredibly helpful. While there are temporary fixes like hammer tapping, using heat or ice, and starting fluid, remember these are short-term solutions.

When your car has a bad fuel pump, it’s essential to fix it properly. Calling for a tow and getting a professional repair is often the safest choice.

Keeping up with regular maintenance can also help prevent fuel pump issues in the future. Always stay informed and prepared so you can handle car troubles with ease and confidence!

Avatar of Shreya Jeter