Can A Fuel Pump Relay Work Intermittently?

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Can a fuel pump relay work intermittently? Yes, some things can make a fuel pump relay to work intermittently. When fuel is not passed into the engine, apparently, your car won’t start or even move.

The fuel system in modern vehicles comprises a lot of components, including a relay that covers the fuel pump itself. This relay is typically made of plastic, and it plays a very important role.

However, just like every other component that makes up an automobile, the fuel pump relay can be faulty, and thus, might cause your car not to start up. The fuel pump relay goes into work when you turn on the ignition, and it is controlled by the powertrain control module.

The main function of the pump relay is to supercharge the fuel pump to function properly. Thus, if the relay is faulty, the fuel pump itself is likely not to work properly.

Can A Fuel Pump Relay Work Intermittently?

The simple answer is YES, the fuel pump relay can work intermittently due to several possible reasons. Since the relay is what makes the fuel pump function; apparently, if anything should happen to the relay, the fuel pump should also be affected.

Now, when the fuel pump is affected, it becomes difficult for fuel to pass on to the engine, which implies that your car may not start at all.

Damage to any component that makes up the combustion system will definitely affect all other systems in your car.

There are a couple of things that can cause the fuel pump relay to go bad; this includes idleness, electricity surges, dust, and other factors.

For example, when you leave your car to sit ideal for a very long time, chances are that the pump relay may be affected by dust, and thus, would need replacement.

Interestingly, changing the fuel pump relay is cheaper than having to change the entire pump system, which may get damaged if you keep forcing the car to start with a bad relay. The average cost for fixing a bad fuel pump relay is $60.

More so, before the fuel pump relay will go completely bad, it usually gives you different signs. When you start to notice those signs, it is advisable to act immediately, else, you may be faced with a costlier expense in a while.

Below, we have highlighted some of the commonest symptoms of a bad/failing fuel pump relay. These signs occur differently; however, whichever one you notice, you should act proactively.

How Do You Know Your Fuel Pump Relay Is Bad?

  • Check Engine Light Illumination: A bad fuel pump is most likely going to trigger the check engine light to illuminate on your dashboard.
  • Engine Stalling: Lack of sufficient fuel to the engine can cause stalling, which would generally affect your car’s engine performance.
  • Long Start: When your car is unable to start easily as before, one of the possible culprits is the fuel pump relay. The ability of the fuel pump to transfer fuel to the engine would cause your car not to start as usual.
  • No Noise On Start: If your fuel pump is working, you would hear a winning noise when you start the car. However, when it’s not working, you won’t get to hear any sound when you start your engine.

These common symptoms are applicable to all kinds of vehicles that have fuel pump relays. However, these symptoms are also similar to signs of a failing fuel pump system, injector, and other components that surround the engine.

That said, detecting the cause of the symptoms you’re getting can be difficult as you need to be sure that the signs you’re getting are a result of a bad fuel pump relay. Well, you can use an OBD2 scanner to troubleshoot and know what’s actually causing the issue.


Can a fuel pump relay work intermittently? Yes, it can work irregularly due to dust, electrical surges, and other possible reasons. However, getting the relay fixed is quite budget-friendly and time-saving.

It is important to note that fixing the little faults that may appear on your vehicle would save you more cost than allow it to grow into a bigger problem.

The OBD2 scanner is a good tool to troubleshoot your vehicle to know where the fault is coming from. More so, ensure that your vehicle is serviced regularly.

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