A friend of mine in Truckee has a Toyota that just sputtered and the engine died while driving on Interstate 80 over Donner Summit. She was a Red Check Club member at Quality Automotive and Smog so she received a free tow to our Truckee auto repair shop. Turns out she needed a new fuel pump. We were happy to help her out and get her back on the road safely.
I can already hear you saying "How do I know if I need to replace my fuel pump? I Don’t want to be stranded in snowstorm."
Unlike other maintenance items on your Toyota, the manufacturer gives no suggestion for when to change the fuel pump. Since it is located inside the fuel tank, you can’t inspect it without removing the tank. There are some things you can do to give your fuel pump longer life. First, avoid running your fuel tank empty. This causes a fuel starvation scenario that puts stress on the fuel pump. Second, be sure to change the fuel filter as recommended, The fuel filter will filter dirt and rust from the gas tank before it gets to the engine so replacing a clogged fuel filter will reduce stress on the fuel pump. Third, you can’t go wrong spending a little extra and using “top tier” fuels with higher levels of detergents than the cheaper alternatives. This better fuel prevents build up of gunk and varnish. Lastly, a system cleaning, such as Motorvac, will clean fuel injectors and help remove the deposits and gunk from the valves and combustion chamber. Here’s a bonus, all these things will also improve your Truckee fuel economy and vehicle performance. That’s a real bonus when you’re climbing Donner Summit or Northwoods Boulevard. Quality Automotive and Smog are Truckee and Lake Tahoe auto repair specialists. Ask them about symptoms that might be an indication of a failing fuel pump like sputtering and the engine dying unexpectedly.