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Fuel System Tips and Tricks

When the fuel pump or another part of the fuel system malfunctions, your vehicle could leave you in a bind. You may not be able to ensure perfect performance at all times from your fuel system, but you can do some things that extend its useful life.

Keep In-Tank Fuel Pumps Cool

The gas in your vehicle's tank keeps the electric fuel pump from overheating. The fuel pump is just above the strainer, which is just above the bottom of the fuel tank. If you let your tank get empty, part or all, of the fuel pump may be exposed. This causes it to run warmer than it would if completely submerged, which wears out the fuel pump more quickly than if it was kept cool.

Keeping the tank closer to full also lessens the risk of debris getting sucked into the fuel system through the strainer and into the fuel pump. When the tank is lower, any contamination in the fuel tank is condensed more and has a greater chance of being pulled into the pump.

Pretend the one-quarter mark on your fuel gauge is the empty mark. Fill the tank when you get to a quarter of a tank instead of down to the empty mark. This will ensure more of the pump is covered in gas, keeping it cooler and making the pump last longer.

Clean the Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors could leak or not distribute a good spray pattern because of impurities in the fuel. You can avoid this for some time by adding a bottle of fuel injector cleaner to every other full tank of gas if your vehicle has high mileage.

Consider Having a Technician Clean the Fuel Injectors

An auto technician uses a cleaner that is forced into the fuel system via a pressurized system to clean fuel injectors. The only thing going through the injectors for most of the process is the chemical cleaner. Auto technicians and fuel injector manufacturers are often at odds over this process. Some say your vehicle doesn't need it, others say it does. But cleaning cannot hurt, and under certain circumstances may help extend system life. You should try professional fuel injection cleaning if:

  • You don't use fuel injection cleaner in your gas tank.
  • Your vehicle is misfiring, and if the auto technician cannot find another reason for the misfire, such as ignition faults or other problems with the electrical or fuel system.
  • You clean the fuel injectors as part of the maintenance you normally do on your vehicle.

Using these tips to maintain your vehicle's fuel system will not stop parts from malfunctioning due to age, but they will help keep it from failing sooner rather than later. A properly maintained fuel system could last over 200,000 miles.

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