Fuel Pump Making Whining Noise: Reasons Why & How to Quiet It

Electric or mechanical, a fuel pump is an essential part of all vehicles nowadays. It’s a device that transfers fuel from the gas tank to the engine or carburetor. Once you hear some unusual sounds when your vehicle is operating, like high-pitched whining or buzzing, be sure that something’s wrong with the fuel pump.

When a fuel pump doesn’t work properly, severe damages to the internal car parts may occur, which is why you need to diagnose and fix the issue ASAP.

In this article, I shall tell you more about how the fuel pump actually works, what are the most common reasons for malfunctions, and of course, the most important, how to quiet the pump.

fuel pump making whining noise

Get to know the fuel pump

If you want to find a solution to a car part malfunctioning, you need to know the basic functions and laws of that part’s role and purpose. Mechanical fuel pump, mostly used on older vehicles, is placed on the engine block, whereas electric one is inside of the gas tank. The pump delivers fuel from the gas tank to the engine.

When you start your vehicle, the pump is activated, and you will hear it as a quiet humming. Any other sound rather than this one is an alert that there’s something to be fixed.

Why is Your Fuel Pump Making Whining Noise

You know it rarely happens that a vehicle simply stops working just like that. There’s always a good reason why something’s going on.

As for malfunctions with the fuel pump, these are the situations which cause the fuel pump to become noisy.

  1. The number one reason for whining sound is low fuel. The decreased level of fuel causes the engine to work more difficult, which is why you should never let the tank be empty, but fill it when the gauge reaches below one fourth. If the whining sound is still present, then something else is going on.

  2. The next reason may be a damaged pump. Dentures and punctures reduce the pump’s efficiency. This is a problem that one can fix by himself or get a mechanic to have it done.

  3. Reason number three is contaminated fuel recognized by a specific grinding sound, and the sound can be heard the moment you fill the tank with such fuel.

  4. Reason number four has to do with impurities, like dirt, engine gunk, and similar, that can be found in the tank or engine. This is also a problem that requires a mechanic.

  5. Loss of pressure, another common reason for malfunction, happens when a vehicle doesn’t get enough power from the pump. Even though the pressure restores quickly, perhaps a better would be to check on a pump and replace it.

  6. And, eventually, perhaps some other damaged parts of the pump cause the pump to work improperly. Perhaps a hose or a loose connection, or something like that, is responsible for whining.

How to recognize a malfunctioning fuel pump?

Having in mind that this car part has a high responsibility, it’s not uncommon that it requires replacement. When that moment is close, the vehicle itself will send warnings. Here are some of the signals to be recognized:

Definitely, the most distinctive signal is a whining noise. That’s how a worn out or old pump sounds like. A well-working fuel pump usually produces a quiet humming, so once you hear the excessively loud whining, be sure that it’s time for a pump to be replaced.

If your car has difficulty starting or is not starting at all, it’s another signal of a problematic fuel pump. Fuel pumps run constantly when the ignition is turned on. That’s why they eventually become weakened or worn out. That causes lack of pressure, and as a result, a vehicle requires multiple turns of the key before it eventually starts, or, if the pump is damaged even more seriously, the vehicle will still be unable to start.

how to quiet a fuel pump

Sometimes a problematic fuel pump may lead to multiple issues with engine performance. A vehicle with a faulty pump may experience problems such as loss of power and acceleration, engine stalling, misfires and a decrease in fuel efficiency.

Whichever signal you’ve noticed, visiting a mechanic is the first thing to be done. Any problem with the vehicle is to be solved as quickly as possible, otherwise, it may cause additional issues which can require more time and more money.

Helpful tips on how to quiet a whining fuel pump

Finally, the moment you’ve been waiting for has come. Here is the list of all the solutions that came to my mind about how to fix this nerve-wracking problem.

Whatever may be the issues with your vehicle, surely it comes in handy knowing all the possible causes and solutions what to do when a problem with fuel pump occurs.

1. Fill Up The Tank

The easiest solution is to fill up the tank. If this happens to be the only problem you’ve got at the moment, consider yourself a lucky one, because this one is the easiest to be solved. Never wait for a tank to become empty to the end, but fill it with fuel when it reaches below one-fourth full.

This piece of advice should be considered a general guideline on how to make a fuel pump last longer and performs the best. The lack of fuel causes the pump to work harder which means the additional stress on the other components is put.

So, don’t let this happen, be a responsible driver! The least you can do is pay attention to fuel level!

2. Check for Contaminated Fuel

We mentioned grinding sound which signals that the fuel may be contaminated which means that a mechanic has to check on it. It usually happens that a fuel gets contaminated by water and once a fuel like this ends up in your vehicle, the recognizable grinding sound can be heard.

Shut off the engine ASAP is the first to be done and then call a towing company to have the vehicle taken to the mechanic. If a vehicle works too long with contaminated fuel, additional issues are likely to happen. Multiple parts may break and require replacement or the engine may be destroyed completely.

3. Replace the Fuel Pump

As we mentioned, the fuel pump is a part of your vehicle that works a lot, so even if you have the one of the highest quality, the time for a fuel pump replacement eventually comes. If you are to take my advice, it is much better to have it replaced directly, rather than fixing individual parts.

Even if you spare few bucks, your pump still won’t last forever, which is why is much better to have a new one. They are not so expensive, and this solution is definitely the easiest one.

But, if you think that you have good knowledge of how to replace a fuel pump by yourself, then go for it. You can find many fine tutorials and instructions on YouTube or the Internet. Just find the accurate pump and filter matching your vehicle, and any other parts, if necessary and good luck. Don’t forget the right tools, such as a fuel pressure tester, voltmeter and similar!

4. Fix the Loss of Pressure

Whining and stalling sounds may also be warnings to fix the loss of pressure. Even though the vehicle may continue driving just a few seconds after these warnings, still have in mind that a pump has to be fixed.

Things such as restricted fuel line, weak pump, clogged pump inlet strainer, dirty fuel filter, incorrect tank venting are some of the potential causes.

Before you get down to any solution, the first step is to check the fuel pump pressure using a fuel pump pressure tester. The most commonly found issue is faulty pressure regulator, so have it replaced, by a mechanic or yourself, as you wish!

my fuel pump is making a whining noise

5. Sound Insulate the Pump

However, if none of the abovementioned is the issue and the pump is still whining, perhaps it’s just a loud one. I have a solution for that one as well!

Use some soundproofing material to insulate the pump and the noise will be significantly reduced.

You can use a self-adhesive insulating mat. They are designed to withstand high temperatures and deal with unwanted noises and can stick on any surface. A layer or two on a fuel pump should be more than enough to fix the issue.

My favorite one is FatMat because it is an excellent combination of quality and affordability. You can also use Dynamat. See our Dynamat vs Fatmat comparison here.

Final thoughts on a whining Fuel pump

I’ve done my best collecting all these information in one place to help you deal with this issue. I know how annoying this noise can be so I’ve tried to gather as many causes and solutions as possible to have all the fields neatly covered.

A responsible driver must understand how a vehicle works and must take good care of it. A vehicle sends signals, ours is to follow them.

If you want to pick my favorite one, I would say pump replacement, because it’s the easiest and the safest one, but that’s just me.

In case you came up with more useful tips on how to fix a whining fuel pump, I’d be more than happy to share them with me and the rest of the readers!