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Geo Prizm Fuel Pump

Troubleshooting Common Signs of Geo Prizm Fuel Pump Failure

The electric fuel pumps used in Geo Prizms can typically last for 100,000 hours before requiring replacement, but once they start to malfunction before that they should be inspected immediately and replaced if needed. Fuel pumps are an integral part of the engine fuel system, and once they break down fuel will be unable to reach the engine efficiently - or not at all. Symptoms of fuel pump failure are quite easy to spot, however, and in this guide we're going to show you how to troubleshoot common signs of an ailing Geo Prizm fuel pump.

The engine stalls or doesn't start

An engine that refuses to start or frequently stalls when the gas pedal is depressed is a common indication of a broken fuel pump, but these symptoms are also evident in other kinds of problems not directly related to fuel pump as well. So to determine whether the pump is truly at fault, park your Prizm in a quiet environment (such as in your garage or an enclosed parking lot) and turn it to the on position. If you can hear the fuel pump whirr to life, it's probably fine and the problem is most likely to be with the engine or in the other parts of your car's fuel system. But if it remains silent, the pump is malfunctioning and needs replacing.

The pump emits high-pitched sounds

Malfunctioning fuel pumps tend to emit an abnormally high-pitched whenever the engine is engaged. Some Prizm owners liked the sound to that of a tea kettle whistling, while other say it's more like nails scraping across the chalkboard. But whatever noise it makes, anything that sounds out of the ordinary that's coming out of your fuel pump should warrant an inspection.

Broken fuel pump relays

In a lot cases, problems with the fuel pump often occur due to a damaged or defective fuel pump relay. With the ignition on, check for incoming voltage at the relay connector using a test light. If there's no voltage, check for a short at the wire between the relay and the fuse panel. Next, jump the relay connector to apply voltage from the battery directly to the fuel pump and turn on the ignition. If the fuel pump works, replace the relay and test it again.

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  • DIY Maintenance for Geo Prizm Fuel Pumps

    The fuel pump in the Geo Prizm rarely gets mentioned when it comes to maintenance, but it is actually one of those parts of this compact car that require constant attention. Rust as well as particulates in low quality gasoline can clog up the fuel pump, while its location makes it vulnerable to damage from flying rocks and other debris on the road. And when the fuel pump does break down, the engine will not be able to receive enough fuel or no fuel at all from the tank. In this guide, we'll show you some quick and simple ways you can maintain the Geo Prizm fuel pump.


    Regularly inspect the pump.

    Ideally, the fuel pump must be inspected whenever the fuel tank is drained or replaced, although we also recommend inspection of the pump if you have difficulty starting the engine or there is low fuel pressure in the fuel lines. Before you start inspection, make sure that the engine is off, the negative battery cable is disconnected, and there's no fuel left inside the tank to prevent against potential accidents. Check the pump, hose, and gaskets for cracks and other external damage and replace them if necessary.


    Soak the pump in all-purpose cleaner before installation.

    Whether you're reinstalling an old fuel pump into a new tank or replacing the pump itself, we recommend soaking it in all-purpose parts cleaner first. The cleaner removes any impurities inside the pump which might contaminate the fuel lines or damage the pump's internal components. Make sure that the pump is completely submerged in cleaner for at least 15 minutes before installing it on the fuel tank.


    Keep the fuel tank at least half-full.

    One of the reasons why the fuel pump is located so close to the fuel tank - aside from making it easier to siphon fuel out of the tank - is that the fuel helps prevent the pump from overheating. Electric fuel pumps tend to generate a lot of heat, and gasoline inside the tank helps dissipate the heat from the pump keep it running at a stable temperature. However, this will only work if the tank is at least half-full of gasoline, so make sure to keep at least half a tank of gas in your Prizm.