Filling up the fuel tank on Chevy Colorado.

Fuel systems: How to take care of them and problems we look for

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Do you smell gas when driving or have you seen fuel around your car? Is your vehicle running rough? These symptoms may be hinting at a fuel system problem.

If these indicators are coupled with the check engine light turning on, it’s worth it to have an automotive expert check it out.

Potential problems

Several issues can develop within your fuel system overtime.

Malfunctioning fuel injectors

Fuel injectors are responsible for providing fuel to engine cylinders. Resolving a fuel system problem may mean replacing these components. When you have bad fuel injectors, you might have trouble starting your car, experience a rough idle, or notice a rise in fuel usage.

Problem with EVAP lines

Issues can also occur with EVAP lines. We worked on a bus that was brought in because its check engine light turned on. 

An EVAP code appeared. While we were performing a smoke test on the system, EVAP smoke came from the top of the fuel tank. We dropped the fuel tank and discovered a hole in one of the EVAP lines.

A hole in an EVAP line.
A hole in an EVAP line

Blocked fuel filter

Dirt and other contaminants are kept out of the fuel system, thanks to help from the fuel filter. Fuel filter replacement may be needed, as this part can get clogged.

Bad fuel pump:

The fuel pump could go bad, preventing fuel from coming out of the fuel tank. Corrosion build is possible, resulting in a fuel leak. Some indicators of a bad fuel pump include a decrease in power and misfires.

Other sources of fuel system problems include bad transfer pumps and failing high pressure fuel pumps.

Fuel systems and the Virginia State Inspection

For a vehicle to pass the Virginia Safety Inspection, the fuel system needs to be in good working order.

Our inspectors confirm that there aren’t any audible exhaust leaks. This can be indicated by cracks that are forming and fluid on the pipes or joints.

Leaking tailpipe on a Mazda.
Leaking tailpipe on a Mazda

Broken and insecure parts are other problems they check for when conducting the Virginia State Inspection. These components include joints, mufflers, exhaust manifolds, flex pipes, tailpipes, catalytic converters, and O2 sensors.

The other week, a Ford Ranger failed the inspection because the tailpipe and muffler needed to be replaced. It also had a broken hanger.

Broken hanger on a Ford Ranger.
Broken hanger on a Ford Ranger

Maintaining your vehicle’s fuel system

Taking care of fuel systems can keep them running correctly. One way you can maintain it is with fuel induction services, which remove carbon that has built up. 

This service improves a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, reduces emissions released through the tailpipe, and positively impacts engine power.

Fuel induction services should be conducted every 30,000 miles and GDI induction services are suggested every 15,000 miles. The frequency depends on the vehicle and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

BG 44K can be used between fuel induction services. This product cleans parts, such as combustion chambers and fuel injectors.

If a car sits for a really long time, there are special stabilizers you can put in your fuel to make sure it doesn’t go bad.

Another way to avoid problems with fuel systems is keeping your car clean. This may seem obvious, but it’s important to get rid of any corrosion that’s building up on the bottom. If left unaddressed, it can eat through your fuel lines.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Dale City, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.