Although it’s not always a problem, a faulty fuel pressure sensor can cause your car to stall or shut off.
The fuel pressure sensor is part of the fuel system on a car. It is responsible for monitoring the pressure of the fuel delivered from the fuel tank to the engine. When it malfunctions, fuel can dump overboard and cause engine problems.
As a result, it’s important that you know how to test your fuel pressure sensor to see if this is the problem you’re experiencing.
It’s a good idea to test your fuel pressure sensor regularly, and to do so you need a multimeter.
In this post we’re going to walk you through the process of testing your fuel pressure sensor with a multimeter.
We’ll also discuss step by step how to:
- Disconnect the fuel pressure sensor
- Turn on your car’s engine
- Check for the voltage of the harness’ connections
- Compare the values of voltage of the harness’ connections against what’s written in your car’s manual
- Check the wiring on your car
- Use a specialized test box that came with your car to determine if there’s an issue with the wirings
What is a Fuel Pressure Sensor?
A fuel pressure sensor is a pressure sensor that measures the pressure of the fuel in a vehicle’s fuel tank. It is a critical part of the fuel injection system in some vehicles.
The fuel pressure sensor is located in the fuel line near the fuel tank. The sensor is used to monitor the fuel pressure. Rather, it monitors the amount of force that it takes to push the fuel through the line.
The fuel pump maintains a constant pressure. The fuel pressure sensor sends information to the computer that controls the fuel injection system.
If the fuel pressure sensor fails, it will send a false reading to the computer. The computer will adjust the fuel injection system to keep the fuel pressure at the predetermined level.
What Is a Multimeter?
A multimeter is an electronic device that’s used to measure voltages and currents. It’s also sometimes referred to as an electrical torque meter, voltage tester, electric resistance meter, and electrical testing meter.
Many people think of a multimeter as an instrument that can only be used to test the wires inside a car or some other electrical system. This isn’t the case.
A multimeter can be used to test any circuit that has a connection to an AC voltage or to any other circuit that uses a current to transfer energy. In a way, it’s the “electrical torque meter” of the electronics world. Each multimeter model has a different number of dials and switches, but it’s the same basic concept for measuring voltages and currents. Click here to read our full guide to how to use a multimeter.
Step by Step Guide on How to Test a Pressure Sensor With a Sensor
Disconnect the Fuel Pressure Sensor
Before you begin the test, disconnect the fuel pressure sensor from the computer and any other electronic parts. With the fuel pressure sensor disconnected, plug the multimeter into the diagnostic port of your car’s computer.
Plug the lead into the fuel pressure sensor, which should show “DFPT” on the multimeter display. You should also see “123db”, which is a reference to the distance between the sensor and the connector.
A little bit higher or lower could mean the sensor is stuck or detached, so measure to the nearest 0.01mm and note the result.
Once you’ve confirmed the fuel pressure sensor is in place, note the value it reports.
If the value is above 45 psi (928.5 cm3/s), the sensor is working. You’ll see “T” displayed after the meter displays this value.
Turn on Your Car’s Engine
A fuel pressure sensor measures the amount of pressure that is in the fuel line. The pressure is what causes the fuel to go from the fuel tank to the engine.
The pressure must be at a certain level to make sure the engine has the right amount of fuel. The fuel pressure sensor is also used to monitor the amount of pressure.
If pressure is too low, then the engine may not run correctly. If the pressure is too high, then the engine may run too lean. Running an engine too lean can cause engine damage.
It’s not uncommon for the fuel pressure sensor to stop working, causing check engine lights and rough idles. Fortunately, checking the sensor is easy with a multimeter. Your vehicle’s engine can start even if the fuel pump isn’t working, but it can’t start if the sensor is faulty. If your car has a fuel pressure regulator, it should be tested as well. You can test the fuel pressure regulator with a multimeter and an extension cord.
Check for the Voltage of the Harness’ Connections
Just start the car, and check the voltage at the sensor’s connector with the engine running. If you don’t have a multimeter, you can usually borrow one from your local auto parts store. It doesn’t have to be the best model out there, just one that measures AC voltage with an LCD display.
There are three different voltage connections in the fuel pressure sensor. Each of these connections are labeled with VIN numbers on them.
A VIN number is used to identify the particular make and model of car on which the sensor was installed. If you get the voltage of the harness checked, you’ll know if the connection was faulty.
You can check to see if the voltage of the harness is good using the voltmeter test. This test indicates if all three of the harness’ connections are good.
If the voltmeter test results in a solid red light, then the connection may have been bad in the past. The test might also indicate that your battery may be having issues.
Compare the Values of Voltage of the Harness’ Connections Against What’s Written in Your Car’s Manual
Before you get started, make sure you’ve cleaned the sensor’s wires, vacuumed any lint off the sensor, and closed all the air vents.
In order to help you get the most out of your vehicle, we need to know what is wrong with it. The first thing you need to do is read your car’s manual and find out what is the proper voltage range for all its connections.
Most modern fuel pressure sensors are self-contained (i.e., there’s no mechanical connection between the sensor and the vehicle’s fuel system). Therefore, it’s important that you be able to power the sensor’s sensing element using a connection made by a separate multimeter.
Follow the instructions on your fuel pressure sensor to test its connection. If the values match, you don’t need to replace the sensor just yet. If they don’t, you might have to replace the sensor to prevent an accident from happening.
Check the Wirings on Your Car
Before you can test your fuel pressure sensor you need to check the wirings in your car. Why is this? Because depending on how old your vehicle is, you might have an open ground. If you have an open ground, it means that the pressure sensors use a wire to connect the sensor to the fuel pump.
Your fuel pump provides your engine with the fuel it needs. However, if the fuel pressure sensor doesn’t get enough pressure to operate properly, your fuel pump may shut down.
If you don’t have an open ground, you have a fuel-injected car, or you can buy an inexpensive adaptor for an open ground. Your multimeter will easily tell you this once you use it.
You’ll be looking for a maximum current of 3 amps. Your fuel pump is usually rated for at least 3 amps.
Use a Specialized Test Box That Came With Your Car To Determine if There’s an Issue With the Wiring
There’s a specialized test box that comes with your (modern era) car. It’s an indispensable, high-tech device that will help diagnose electrical problems. It is a large box with a connector that attaches to the car’s battery.
The box will display the steady voltage and the current flowing through the circuit. The box also has two prongs that connect to the positive and negative wires on the dash.
The box will indicate whether there is a problem with the wires and whether they are transmitting or receiving a proper electrical charge.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial on how to test your vehicle’s fuel pressure sensor. As you’ve learned, a multimeter is an indispensable tool for checking out electrical problems. By following the steps above, you’ll be able to easily isolate and diagnose fuel sensor problems on any vehicle.
If you ever run into serious problems after checking your vehicle, be sure to consult with a qualified auto technician. They can assist you to verify your potential fuel pressure sensor problems. Plus, they should have the parts you need to get your pressure sensor replaced if necessary.