How to Know If You Have a Failing or Bad Fuel Rail Sensor


Have you ever heard of a fuel rail sensor? Many people haven’t, and it’s usually called the fuel pressure sensor. Regardless of the name, it’s a component for engine management that is found on diesel engines and some gasoline-powered vehicles. It is just one of many parts of your fuel system, and it’s designed to monitor fuel pressure present at the railing. This sensor sends a signal to the vehicle’s computer to adjust the amount of fuel output and timing. When the sensor is failing or bad, it causes vehicle performance issues. In most cases, there are a few symptoms you may notice that can warn you of the problem before it gets severe.

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Hard Starts
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In most cases, the first thing you notice when the fuel rail sensor starts to fail is a hard start. The faulty sensor can send inaccurate signals to the computer, which causes the engine to take longer to start up. You may notice a few extra cranks before it starts up and if the sensor goes bad altogether, the engine may not turn over at all.

Decrease in Acceleration, Fuel Efficiency, and Power

Another indication of a problem with the engine is performance issues. You may notice that it takes longer for the vehicle to accelerate to the appropriate speed. For example, if you’re merging onto the highway, you should get up to highway speeds by the time you finish the merge. If you are still pushing to the appropriate speed (usually 65 mph), it could indicate that you have a problem with the fuel rail sensor.

Along with such, you are likely to notice that your fuel economy suffers. The sensor is designed to tell the computer how much fuel to dispense at the right time. It might produce too much fuel (which means your gas gauge goes down faster) or too little, which means your car might stutter or stall altogether.

Loss of power issues can include hesitation while driving or rough running at a stoplight.

It should be noted that many of these symptoms can be caused by other issues, such as defective fuel pumps, vacuum leaks, and problems with the ignition system. Therefore, it’s best to visit a trusted mechanic to determine the true cause.

Many people also consider visiting automotive product shops that offer free engine-light testing. If your engine light does come on as an indication of something wrong, you may want to stop in and have them read the code for you. At least then you know what is wrong and can make plans to get it fixed as soon as possible. Most employees have some vehicle knowledge, so they can tell you if the problem is severe (you shouldn’t be driving it) or milder (it can be driven, but you’re likely to experience some drivability issues).

Check Engine Light Illuminates

Of course, the primary indication that something is wrong with your car or truck is when the check-engine light comes on, which is never a good sign. Many times, this light illuminates for a variety of reasons. You aren’t likely to know if the issue is severe or not, so it’s best to go to a mechanic as soon as you can or have the codes read for free if that is available in your area.

It is important to note that a fuel rail sensor isn’t found on every vehicle, so your vehicle may not have one. However, if yours does have such a sensor, it is a key part of the engine management system and should be thoroughly checked if you notice any of the signs mentioned earlier.

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How to Know If You Have a Failing or Bad Fuel Rail Sensor

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