DIY

How to Replace a Fuel Pump

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Fixing your car yourself can create a great sense of accomplishment. On the other hand, a repair job that goes awry can lead to frustration, swearing and bloody knuckles.

The last time I replaced a fuel pump, I tackled the job outside, on the ground in the middle of a dust storm. Because the fuel tank had to be dropped to access the pump, the process took a couple of hours. Every time the wind kicked up and covered me in dirt, I cursed my old truck and its crummy fuel pump.

So, before you decide to replace your fuel pump yourself, be honest: do you have the patience, tools, space and ability to do the job right? If you’re uncertain, it’s probably more time and cost effective to have a professional complete the repair. And it will most certainly be safer.

But if you’ve got the know-how, you can definitely save money by replacing the pump yourself.

Before you decide to replace your fuel pump yourself, be honest: do you have the patience, tools, space and ability to do the job right?

Fuel Pump Replacement Cost

Replacing a fuel pump isn’t cheap. On modern vehicles, which have an integrated fuel pump assembly, the part itself can cost hundreds of dollars.

Then there’s the labor. On some cars (particularly domestics) the fuel tank must be dropped to access the pump, making the job especially time-consuming. Other vehicles (typically imports) have an access cover below the rear seat that makes the job much easier.

Because there are so many different factors, the cost of fuel pump replacement varies a great deal. If you have the work done at a professional repair shop, expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for the job.

What tools do you need to install a fuel pump?

The tools needed to replace your fuel pump vary, depending on what type of car you have. But, in general, you will need:

Should you do the job yourself?

Installing a fuel pump can be difficult – especially if you’ve got a full gas tank. Plus, because fuel is flammable, the task can be dangerous. If you decide to tackle the job yourself, make sure to take the necessary precautions and have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Note: The following is for informational purposes only. Consult the factory information for repair instructions and recommended safety precautions.

If you decide to replace the fuel pump yourself, make sure to take the necessary precautions and have a fire extinguisher on hand.

Fuel tank replacement when dropping the tank is required

The following outlines a typical in-tank fuel pump replacement and should be used for informational purposes only. Be sure to consult the factory repair manual to determine the exact procedure and safety precautions for your vehicle.

Removal

1. Put on your safety glasses and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
2. Safely raise and support the rear of the vehicle using a jack and jack stands. Set the parking brake and chock the front wheels.
3. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
4. Relieve fuel system pressure following the procedure found in the factory repair information.
5. Drain the fuel tank if it has a lot of fuel. Usually, this is done using a hand-operated pump or siphon. If you choose to leave the tank full, it will be a lot heavier and harder to balance.
6. Loosen the clamp on the fuel filler neck, then disconnect the neck from the fuel tank.
7. Support the fuel tank with a transmission jack or equivalent.
8. Remove the fuel tank strap bolts and the straps themselves.
9. Lower the tank just enough to access and disconnect the fuel hoses, electrical connections and emissions hoses.
10. Once everything is disconnected, lower the tank completely.
11. Clean the area around the pump access hole to prevent dirt and debris from entering the tank.
12. Remove the retainer ring or bolts securing the pump assembly to the tank.
13. Remove the fuel pump and seal ring from the fuel tank.

Installation

1. Compare the replacement pump to the new pump assembly to ensure a match.
2. Install the new seal ring and new pump assembly in the tank.
3. Using a transmission jack or equivalent, raise the tank just enough to reconnect the fuel hoses, electrical connections and emissions hoses.
4. Raise the tank into place.
5. Reinstall the fuel filler neck and secure it with a clamp.
6. Reinstall the fuel tank straps and torque the mounting bolts to the specification listed in the factory repair manual.
7. Safely remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle.
8. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
9. Fill the fuel tank as needed.
10. Start the vehicle and double-check your work, looking for leaks.

Before you go ahead with DIY fuel pump replacement, make sure to consult the factory repair manual to determine the exact procedure and safety precautions for your vehicle.

Fuel tank replacement when there’s a handy access cover

Replacement is quite a bit easier if you have a pump with an under-seat access cover. The following outlines a typical in-tank fuel pump replacement and should be used for informational purposes only. Be sure to consult the factory repair manual to determine the exact procedure and safety precautions for your vehicle.

Removal

1. Put on your safety glasses and have a fire extinguisher nearby.
2. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
3. Relieve fuel system pressure following the procedure found in the factory repair information.
4. Remove the rear seat or rear seat cushion as necessary.
5. Remove the in-floor access cover.
6. Disconnect the fuel hoses, electrical connections and emissions hoses from the pump assembly.
7. Clean the area around the pump access hole to prevent dirt and debris from entering the tank.
8. Remove the retainer ring or bolts securing the pump assembly to the tank.
9. Remove the fuel pump and seal ring from the fuel tank.

Installation

1. Compare the replacement pump to the new pump assembly to ensure a match.
2. Install the new seal ring and new pump assembly in the tank.
3. Reconnect the fuel hoses, electrical connections and emissions hoses.
4. Reinstall the in-floor access cover.
5. reinstall the rear seat or rear seat cushion as necessary.
6. Reconnect the negative battery cable.
7. Fill the fuel tank as needed.

Fuel Pump Replacement Tips

If you determine the fuel pump does indeed need to be replaced, don’t forget to install a new fuel filter at the same time.

First and foremost, don’t jump to conclusions – perform a thorough diagnosis to ensure the fuel pump is faulty. Or have a professional carry out the diagnostics for you. Because there are a lot of other problems that can mimic a faulty fuel pump, you want a solid assessment before jumping in.

If you determine the fuel pump does indeed need to be replaced, don’t forget to install a new fuel filter at the same time. Modern, return-less fuel systems have the filter integrated into the assembly and it will usually come with the new pump.

But older vehicles may have a separate fuel filter installed in the line coming from the tank. Filters such as these should be replaced at the same time as the pump to prevent debris from contaminating the new unit.

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Author

Mia Bevacqua

Chief Mechanic at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua is an automotive expert with over 15 years of industry experience. She holds ASE Master, L1, L2, and L3 Advanced Level Specialist certification, as well as a bachelor's degree in Advanced Automotive Systems.

Throughout her career, Mia has applied her skills toward automotive failure analysis inspections, consulting, diagnostic software development, and of course, freelance writing. Today, she writes for companies around the world, with many well-known clients showcasing her work.

Mia has a passion for math, science, and technology that motivates her to stay on top of the latest industry trends, such as electric vehicles and autonomous systems. At the same time, she has a weakness for fixer-upper oddballs, such as her 1987 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Chevy Astro Van AWD.

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