What Causes A Fuel Pump to Overheat? (Surprising Causes)

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What causes a fuel pump to overheat? Basically, one of the causes of fuel pump overheating is your car running out of gas, which many car drivers often fail to notice on time.

But before we tackle this puzzle, it’s important to note that if you’re having any fuel pump issue, the fuel pump will fail to deliver fuel from the fuel tank to the engine at the right pressure.

In other words, when the key is turned or button pressed, the fuel pump is activated and should be pressurized.

But, if you have any issues with your fuel pump, it may not even make it that far. One of the most common reasons for this is when you encounter fuel pump overheating.

In this article, we will be explaining more about other things that can lead to a fuel pump overheating.

What Causes A Fuel Pump To Overheat?

As we earlier mentioned, one of the most common causes of fuel pump overheating is when your car runs out of gas and you continue to drive without gas.

The major symptoms and reasons for fuel pump failure is overheating, which in turn, will make the car break down.

Whenever the fuel pump gets heated within a few minutes of turning your car on, it’s a sign that it needs replacement.

On the other hand, a bad fuel pump can also show signs of intermittent breakdown. Here, it will work for like 15-20 minutes, then stop working.

Most times, once you allow your car to remain idle for around 30 minutes to enable the engine cool down, the pump starts functioning normally again. However, that is not the solution, as the pump will stop working anytime it overheats again.

If you’re still running an old model car, you are bound to experience overheating in your fuel pump, because, unlike most modern vehicles, your car doesn’t have an electric fuel pump which helps to utilize fuel that cools the pump. 

Without the electric fuel pump, the fuel cannot surround the electric motor and absorb the heat, therefore, making the fuel pump to overheat.

Whenever you run your fuel too low, less than 1/4th tank, it will cause the fuel pump to overheat and actually burn up.

Therefore, it is not wise to allow your fuel pump to run out of gas at any point in time, as it might also cause the engine to misfire, which you will hear or feel.

Another crucial factor that causes a fuel pump to overheat is whenever the sock on the intake gets blocked with dirt or if the fuel filter is excessively blocked with dirt which makes the pump to stress itself more than it usually does.

It then makes it seem like the fuel pump is lacking in fuel to function.

Also, it could be that something is introducing air into the system causing the fuel pump to not want to pick up fuel. In this case, you need to check for a leak in your fuel mechanisms.

Generally, all the above causal factors of overheating in fuel pumps can be attributed to running low on fuel.

Car producers are fully aware of this, which is why they take advantage of the pump’s location to help, by mounting the fuel pump on the bottom of the fuel tank, making it to be submerged in fuel.

This, therefore, keeps the pump cool. But, only when there’s enough fuel to keep the fuel pump covered.

What Happens When a Fuel Pump Overheats?

What Causes A Fuel Pump to Overheat

You will notice a difference in performance, with weaker acceleration and worst fuel economy. On the other hand, you may experience sudden surges in power, which occur as the fuel pump’s performance changes unexpectedly.

An overheating fule pump can also cause stalling and engine misfiring, as I mentioned earlier.

An overheating fuel pump can also cause the engine to overheat. Basically, you may drive for about 15 to 30 minutes, and your car will suddenly stop functioning and the engine will get hot.

Whenever you’re driving and you notice any of these signs of overheating fuel pump, the best thing to do is consult with your auto mechanic for the best advice and fixes.


Hopefully, you now know what causes a fuel pump to overheat. Be careful not to allow the fuel level to get too low, at least below a quarter-tank full, to prevent the fuel pump from sucking in air with the fuel.

Also note that, if the fuel pump overheats, it will make your engine equally overheat as we stated earlier; hence, resulting in continuous breakdown or stalling of your car.

Therefore, experienced car repairers are always available to check your car if it’s running too hot and then shutting down. Ensure you contact them as soon as possible, as it would prevent further damages.

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