Pressure transfers fuel out of the storage tank, through the fuel rail, and to the engine. Depending on the fuel system’s design, the powertrain computer module (PCM) manages the pressure levels by adjusting either the fuel pump or the fuel volume regulator.
If the pressure in the fuel rail or fuel system drops past acceptable levels, the engine’s computer may set the P0087 code.
What Does the P0087 Code Mean?
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) P0087 stands for “Fuel Rail/System Pressure Too Low.” It may get logged by the PCM when the pressure inside the fuel rail or the fuel system dives below the minimum levels needed to supply the engine with enough fuel to run properly.
Note: Code P0087 is a generic code specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Depending on the car manufacturer, the code’s definition may change.
The PCM keeps track of the pressure levels within the fuel rail. By adjusting the fuel pump or the fuel volume (or pressure) regulator, the computer can change the fuel pressure and the amount of fuel going to the engine.
When the vehicle needs more power to run faster, drive uphill, or tow something, the PCM raises the fuel pressure to send more fuel to the engine. Once the need to support heavy loads passes and the engine can take it easier, the PCM reduces the pressure to conserve fuel.
A sensor on the fuel rail measures fuel pressure. It will warn the PCM if the pressure falls below the level expected of the fuel pump driver module or fuel pump assembly’s current activity.
In response, the PCM may log the P0087 code.
P0087 is a common issue among the following makes: Ford (especially a Ford Escape), Audi, Jaguar, Peugeot, and Chevrolet.
What are the Possible Causes of the P0087 Code?
So your scanner shows code P0087—but what caused the fuel pressure in the fuel rail to get so low to begin with?
Potential reasons include:
- The fuel filter got dirty, clogged, or even plugged
- A crimp or restriction in the fuel supply line
- A bad or failing fuel pump module
- A broken or worn fuel injection pump
If the fuel levels reach critically low levels, the PCM may set a code P0087 even though it has nothing to do with the fuel rail’s pressure levels.
What are the Common Symptoms of the P0087 Code?
The engine burns fuel to provide power for the entire car. If the fuel pressure drops off, the engine’s performance will likewise deteriorate.
If your vehicle developed an issue that triggered a code P0087, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Engine’s performance suffers due to insufficient fuel, leading to misfires from running lean, rough running, or reduced power during acceleration or high RPMs
- The engine may experience stalling
- Fuel efficiency drops as the vehicle consumes more fuel than necessary
How to Diagnose the P0087 Code
Diagnosing the root of this engine trouble code and repairing the issue lies outside the purview of this brief guide, as the specifics can vary depending on your vehicle’s make and model, as well as other factors.
If you wish to learn more about troubleshooting a code P0087, you can watch the following videos:
How to Fix the P0087 Code
The number of possible reasons that could trigger the P0087 code makes resolving it a tad difficult. There’s no single solution that fixes the code, as you’ll find with most OBD-II codes. This is why a lot of people leave the job to their mechanics.
If you do decide to take on the repair job yourself, you’ll need the help of online guides or repair manuals. Having your owner’s manual handy is also a good idea, as it can help provide further guidance when it comes to replacing parts.
Also, keep in mind that a fix that worked for one vehicle may not work for another. If you own a Ford Focus, for example, some owners have reported success in resolving the code by replacing a damaged fuel injection pump (if that was indeed the cause).
However, this may not work for a P0087 on a Ford Fusion—so make sure to perform a proper diagnosis and do extensive research on fixes that have worked for the same vehicle as yours.
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