9 Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pressure Sensor (And Replacement Cost)

The fuel pressure sensor is a small but crucial component that plays a major role in making sure that your engine receives the right amount of fuel for peak performance and efficiency.

If this component were to fail, a variety of issues can result. Keep reading to learn about the most common symptoms of a bad fuel pressure sensor, how much it will cost to replace, and whether you can continue driving in the meantime.

Fuel Pressure Sensor Basics

The fuel pressure sensor (aka: fuel rail pressure sensor), monitors the pressure of the fuel being delivered to the fuel injectors. It sends this information to the powertrain control module (PCM), which uses the data to determine the optimal amount of fuel to inject into the engine’s combustion chambers.

In most vehicles, the fuel pressure sensor is located on the fuel rail itself, usually near the fuel injectors.

Maintaining proper fuel pressure is critical for engine performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions control. If the fuel pressure is too low or too high, it can cause a variety of issues.

The fuel pressure sensor works with other fuel system components, such as the fuel pump and pressure regulator. When fuel pressure deviates from the specified range, the sensor alerts the PCM, which can then make adjustments or trigger diagnostic trouble codes to identify the issue.

Common Bad Fuel Pressure Sensor Symptoms

If there is something wrong with your fuel pressure sensor, then some easily recognizable symptoms will become apparent to you.

1) Check Engine Light

check engine light

If you see the engine warning light illuminate on your dashboard, then it could be a sign that your fuel pressure sensor is bad.

Sometimes the engine control unit will sense a problem with the signal from the fuel rail sensor. Then it will activate the check engine light to let you know there is some kind of problem that is related to the engine.

Of course, there are a large number of other reasons for why the check engine light would turn on besides having a bad fuel pressure sensor.

2) Low Power

car won't accelerate

If you step on the gas pedal and notice a lack of acceleration, then it could be due to the fuel pressure sensor. If the sensor is bad, then it will interfere with the air and fuel ratio. This will cause a noticeable loss of power from your vehicle as you’re driving.

3) Problems Starting

difficulty starting car

If you try to start your vehicle’s engine and it doesn’t start on the first attempt, then your fuel pressure sensor may not sending a good signal to the engine’s computer or something is causing low fuel pressure.

At first, the engine will eventually start after cranking a few times. But eventually, it may get to the point when it doesn’t start at all.

4) Stalling

car stalling

Sometimes you might get a not-so-nice surprise and have your vehicle stall as you’re driving it. If you previously had trouble starting your car but then got the engine to finally run, you may experience stalling as you’re driving later on.

But even if it is the first time the car has stalled, it could still be due to a faulty fuel pressure sensor.

5) Bad Fuel Economy

bad fuel economy

With a bad fuel pressure sensor, the engine will not receive the correct amount of fuel for its internal combustion process. Most of the time, too much fuel will be pumped into the combustion chamber and there will be a noticeable reduction in your MPG from running too rich.

Larger vehicles such as a Chevy Silverado and its 6.6L Duramax engine will have more noticeable effects than something like a 4-cylinder Toyota Corolla engine.

Read Also: Is Your Fuel Gauge Inaccurate? (Here’s Why)

6) Rough Idling

You may experience rough idling, misfires, and even the care shaking due to an incorrect fuel/air mixture. This is because the PCM is receiving inaccurate data from the sensor, causing it to adjust the fuel mixture inappropriately.

Rough idling can lead to increased wear on engine components and reduced overall performance (in addition to it being annoying and uncomfortable).

7) Hesitation During Acceleration

feathering accelerator pedal

Due to an inconsistent fuel supply to the engine, a vehicle with a bad fuel pressure sensor may hesitate or stumble before gaining speed.

When you press the accelerator, the PCM expects a certain increase in fuel pressure. However, if the sensor is not providing accurate data, the PCM may not adjust the fuel mixture correctly, resulting in a delay in acceleration. This can be particularly noticeable (and dangerous) when merging onto highways or passing other vehicles.

8) Fuel Smell

If the fuel pressure sensor is causing the engine to run rich (too much fuel), you may notice a strong fuel smell from the exhaust or around the vehicle. This again occurs because of incorrect data from the sensor being communicated to the PCM, leading it to inject more fuel than necessary into the combustion chambers.

This excess fuel does not burn completely, resulting in unburned fuel (sometimes in the form of dark smoke) being released through the exhaust system.

9) Engine Surging

car jerks idling

A malfunctioning fuel pressure sensor can cause the engine to surge or suddenly increase in RPMs while driving at a steady speed. Again, this is due to incorrect data being interpreted by the PCM.

As a result, the engine may receive an unexpected surge of fuel, causing it to briefly accelerate without driver input. This can be disconcerting and a huge safety issue as it will be more difficult to maintain a consistent speed.

Fuel Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost

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fuel pressure sensor replacement cost

The cost of replacing a fuel rail pressure sensor depends on the make and model of your vehicle. However, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $180 to $370 for a replacement job like this.

The part itself will only cost you around $30 to $70, but the labor will cost you anywhere from $150 to $300. 

Depending on the vehicle, it may only take a few minutes to replace the sensor but there is typically a one hour minimum. If you have some mechanical experience, replacing the fuel rail pressure sensor is a good DIY candidate.

Note: Do not confuse the fuel rail pressure sensor with the fuel tank pressure sensor. The later is located inside or next to the fuel tank and requires a lot more time to replace.

Can You Drive With a Faulty Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor?

While it’s technically possible to drive with a bad fuel pressure sensor, it’s not recommended for an extended period. A failing sensor can cause issues like the ones mentioned above. Not only will you be looking at increased fuel costs, you run the risk of stalling while driving or getting stranded somewhere because the sensor may not allow your car to start up.

If the symptoms are mild, you may drive a short distance to a repair shop or until you can afford the repair. However, continuing to drive with a faulty fuel pressure sensor can make the problem worse and lead to more expensive repairs down the road.

Simply put, the best course of action is to get the fuel rail pressure sensor replaced at the earliest opportunity.


30 thoughts on “9 Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pressure Sensor (And Replacement Cost)”

  1. 2015.5 Volvo S60 (31,000 miles) trouble starting once then, about an hour later, check engine light came on. The Volvo service folks in San Francisco charge $285/hour (!). The total to “diagnose” (one hour labor $285) + replace (P&L) was $1400. Anyone know a good Volvo mechanic in SF not associated with a dealership?

  2. Took Chevy dealer 2 1/2 days to diagnose fuel tank pressure sensor problem on my 2006 Saturn Ion. 3rd check engine light issue in 2 months. First for purge valve & mass airflow sensor. 3 weeks later lube & reseal gas cap. Now this. Just turned 72,000 miles.

  3. Has anyone replaced this in a 2015 Chevy 2500HD Duramax? Our check engine light just came on and had someone run the code and it looks like it’s the fuel pressure sensor.

  4. Ma mitsubishi l200 DID ne dépasse pas les 100km/h. Lorsque je conduis jai l’impression qu’elle perd de la puissance. Pourtant le moteur tourne bien. Je voudrais savoir quelle est la panne.

  5. I HAVE A 2012 CHEVY CAPTIVA SPORT LT 3.0 6CLY. GOT IT SMOGGED AND EVERYTHING PASSED EXCEPT THE LIQUID FUEL LEAD CHECK which actually passed but then coded NOTREADY, could that be the engine module (computer) or just the fuel sensor?
    Hope someone can tell me.
    Thank you

  6. I’ve had months of no engine light after new gas cap and a gas additive. Now it’s back. So infuriating. Is it ok to just rely on gas additive (valvoline, I believe) ….or does it do damage?

  7. I have a 2015 Dodge RAM 1500, my check engine light came on, the diagnostics says it is a bad fuel pressure sensor; my mechanic said it would run $900, because they have to drop the tank.
    Am i being ripped off?

    • That seems a little high but there is a good amount of labor involved. Might be worth it to call a couple other shops for quotes. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this part going bad on newer Dodge Rams. I assume you’re out of the powertrain warranty period?

      • Hello . I have a 2004 Audi A3 fsi 2.0 petrol and it’s just had a new water pump and cam belt fitted (think unrelated to issue though) and the low fuel pressure sensor engine fault code p2539 keeps coming on and I can’t find W diagram of this on the web anywhere.?

    • I had this problem resolved three days ago at my closest dealership for $500. Did not realize how much extra power my truck was missing.

    • You’re over Charge.
      Has anyone tried social media. OfferUp. Or Facebook in market there’s a lot of mechanics there I can help you for cheap

    • Yes, you are definitely getting ripped off, I called a Mechanic to replace 8 fuel injector’s on my Dodge Ram 1500, year 2010. He wanted 2100.00 to replace them, I looked it up on line the average cost was 175-190 in labor and 90 dollars for the parts. I told him what was it so high, he stated that for 8 fuel injectors was 1100. I got 8 fuel injector on line for 123.00 and that included shipping..

  8. I installed a new fuel pressure sensor and it didn’t clear the light.
    a snap on computer ran the codes and told me I’m not getting any power to the
    fuel pressure sensor. whats next? 2001 CHEVY CAVALIER 2.2L

    • For anyone that’s changing the part and you want the light to turn off and you want the code to clear all you have to do is just unplug the positive to make it clear and it’ll say that it’ll tell the computer that you got to replace.

  9. The problem is that it won’t turn over and the issue is with the fuel pump sensor which the second Chevy dealership said it maybe just worn out from wear and tear highly unlikely due to the low mileage on my car and from the problem only persisting after the impact from the accident

  10. After being rear-ended in 2016 I told my car three times to the dealership that I bought it in Ourisman Chevrolet of Rockville they did not find the problem that was the fuse block had been short-circuited from being rear-ended now the problem has started again and sports Chevrolet dealer refuse to allow my Allstate claim to cover it very bad business Mr Sterling swan

  11. I have this code and all symptoms except stalling plus bad fuel pump code on 2005 Taurus SEL with 98,000 miles on it. Can’t afford new car, but mechanic tells me it could cost $700 and he seems reluctant.


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