Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor

Your vehicle’s fuel tank pressure sensor plays a vital role in the EVAP or evaporative emissions control systems. What is an EVAP? It’s a system that captures unburned fuel vapors from your fuel tank and then reintroduces them into your fuel system. The systems help your car save on fuel and minimize environmental pollution while preventing engine damage.

What is the work of a fuel tank pressure sensor?

The fuel tank pressure sensor is located inside or on top of the fuel tank. Its work is to detect fuel system pressure with the aim of identifying defective gas caps and leaks.

The sensor is synched with the car computer system to ensure you can see the check engine signal if there is a problem with your fuel tank pressure sensor or a leak.

Also, the pressure sensor relays information to your car PCM or powertrain control module that manages fuel usage and controls how your engine works. This pressure sensor is crucial for a smooth engine functioning via the PCM and in detecting fuel leaks.

Bear in mind that the above functions so that if something goes wrong, you can fix the issue quickly. how do I know my fuel tank pressure sensor has a problem?

Common symptoms of a bad fuel tank pressure sensor

These common signs will help you determine if your fuel tank pressure sensor is bad or not.

Diminishing power

Is your acceleration experiencing diminishing power? It means you can’t drive faster even though you are stepping on the gas pedal.

Consequently, the car is no longer gaining speed like before. It means that your fuel pressure sensor is faulty. The moment the fuel pressure sensor fails, your air-fuel ratio is compromised making you experience a loss of power.

It means that the engine control unit can’t properly transmit signals to your fuel system because it’s getting inaccurate information from your fuel pressure sensor.

Therefore, the fuel system can’t accommodate the fuel demands placed on your car engine.

You see the check engine warning light

If the engine warning light is shining on your car dashboard, it simply means you need to attend to your sensor.

Normally the computer detects a signal from the pressure sensor if there is a problem and activates the check engine light. The engine warning light means that you have an engine-related problem that needs your attention.

Take note that so many other things can activate this warning lightly. You can inquire more on what other issues causes the engine warning light to come on.

Hard starting

If you have issues hard starting the car, it’s because your engine computer is not receiving the right signals from your fuel tank pressure sensor. Take care of the issue otherwise, the engine fails to start.

The fuel tank pressure compromises the car’s combustion process making it hard to start the engine.

If the sensor gives false reading to the car powertrain control module, you can have a lean air-fuel mixture. It results in a higher air volume and a smaller fuel volume.

Therefore, your car engine has trouble starting because the fuel mixture is inappropriate.

Your car is consuming too much fuel

The pressure sensor is responsible for detecting fuel leaks in the fuel system.

However, when this detection fails and you have a leak that is not being detected, then you get unburned fuel vapors being released into the air. It’s a problem that causes fuel wastage and increases your fuel expenses.

You see a drop in mileage and fuel economy because the engine control unit is sending less fuel or too much fuel or less.

Worse still, your engine may not be getting adequate fuel leading to a drop in your car’s acceleration power. You may find yourself wondering why the car is consuming too much fuel, this is the reason.

Stalling

When your car stalls without any viable reason, you have a problem with your fuel pressure sensor. The engine can stall even while idling. It makes driving dangerous and difficult which should make you take swift action to remedy the situation.

The problem originates from a compromised combustion process causing improper fuel burning leading to the car engine stalling and hesitating.

Check the pressure sensor and replace it to enjoy optimal functioning.

How much does it cost to replace a fuel tank pressure sensor?

It will cost you roughly 60-80 dollars if you are doing it yourself. If you involve a professional mechanic, you need 250-350 dollars inclusive of labor costs. However, the cost of a fuel pressure sensor depends on the model and make of the car.

Replacing the fuel pressure sensor is vital if you want to manage your engine fuel consumption. It helps detect fuel leaks in your fuel system. A failure means you have unregulated fuel consumption causing you to spend more on fuel than normal.

If the problem is not detected, your car will be in violation of emissions standards by releasing dangerous fuel vapors into the environment.

Only replace the fuel tank pressure sensor if you have the experience, otherwise, let a professional do it for you.

Can I test the fuel pressure switch?

Yes, and it’s a simple process. The fuel system has an easy-to-test three-wired component. These wires are; a voltage wire going to your engine control module, a ground wire and a wire returning volts to ECM.

When you suspect a bad fuel tank pressure sensor, always check these wires to see if it’s due to a bad switch or something else.

Unfortunately, it may require dropping your gas tank to get to the fuel tank pressure sensor as it’s found inside or on top of the gas tank. It makes it inaccessible to most motorists which explain the need to consult a mechanic.

You can follow these tips if you still want to check it yourself.

  • Locate the fuel pressure sensor
  • Unplug the adjoining wiring harness
  • Connect the voltmeter or multimeter
  • Compare the reading on your voltmeter to a specified signal on the manual and ensure these readings are the same.

Check your wiring harness then replace burnt or corroded wires.

FAQs

Can a bad fuel tank pressure sensor make the car not start?

If your fuel tank pressure sensor is lousy, then t makes your fuel injectors send incorrect gas amounts to your car combustion chamber leading to having started. At first, it needs only a few attempts before you turn on your car.

However, as the situation worsens, it forces you to attempt several times before the car starts. Continuing to ignore makes the car engine start and shut off immediately.

Can a bad fuel tank pressure sensor lead to a misfire?

Engine misfire and weak acceleration are common signs of bad fuel tank pressure sensors. You get a sudden engine power output loss when driving. Your car may stumble, bog or hesitate when going for an early morning drive or even in the afternoon.

Acceleration can suddenly fail which is dangerous. So, don’t drive with a bad fuel tank pressure sensor if there is a sudden change in acceleration.

How long should I wait before replacing my fuel tank pressure sensor?

Fuel tank pressure sensors last the vehicle’s lifespan just like switches and car sensors. However, your sensor can break while you are solving a problem on the fuel tank due to its location. Also, your mechanic can accidentally break it as he/she works on the gas tank. Besides, the sensor can wear on your terminals resulting in damage.

Final Words

The fuel tank pressure sensor is a vital part of your vehicle. However, if you receive a signal that something is wrong with your FTP, take urgent measures to avoid compromising your fuel economy and engine performance.

Remember, it’s the signal from your fuel pressure sensor that ensures your car enjoys good fuel economy and optimal engine performance.  

Unfortunately, it’s easy to mistake the symptoms for a bad fuel tank pressure sensor or other car system malfunctions. Diagnose your vehicle if any of the above-mentioned problems appear using a scan tool before fixing it.

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