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Fuel Related No-Start Problems

Car won't start because of fuel injection, fuel pump, fuel filter


Your problem may be your fuel pump relay.

Bad relay equals car won't start.

photo by Matt Wright, 2007

If the starter is spinning and the sparks are flying, your no-start problem has got to be related to the fuel system. If your vehicle is fuel injected, there are a number of sub systems that could be the culprit. It will take some serious diagnostic work to figure it out, but there are some things you can check in the garage that will narrow it down, and could save you some money by avoiding a trip to the repair shop. Here are some things to check:


  • Electrical Connections: There are plenty of electrical connections in your fuel injection system. Each fuel injector has a connector on top. There are connections on the air side of the intake and on the cylinder heads. Basically you should check every electrical connection you can find under the hood to be sure it's tight.


  • Fuel Pump and Relay: To check your fuel pump, you can do a fuel system pressure test - if you have the equipment. Since most of us don't have that type of thing, we'll first check the electrical connections. Test the positive side of the fuel pump for current with a circuit tester. Be sure the key is in the "On" position. If there's current, move on to the next step. If not, you should check the fuse. If the fuse is good, your problem is the fuel pump relay.


  • Fuel Filter: If the fuel pump is working properly and fuel is still not reaching the engine, the problem could be a clogged fuel filter. You should be replacing your fuel filter every 12,000 miles or so anyway, so if you suspect it could be clogged, go ahead and replace it.

the above items are things you can check yourself easily and with everyday automotive tools. There are many other elements of your fuel injection system that require electronic diagnosis. Unless you are familiar with this and have the right equipment, it is best to leave this to the pros.

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