man showing how to clean fuel pump without removal
Tips & Tricks

How to Clean Fuel Pump Without Removal — 6 Easy Steps

Cleaning a car’s fuel pump or tank seems like a daunting task, which is why some people tend to put it off. However, with this guide, you can learn how to clean a fuel pump without removal with just a few simple steps.

Here’s how you can clean your fuel tank and get rid of clogged fuel filter issues:

  • Disconnect fuel tank lines
  • Drain the fuel into a separate gas tank or can
  • Use a degreaser and tools to clean the tank
  • Rinse with water and let air dry

How to Clean Fuel Pump Without Removal

newly installed fuel filter

Part of regular car maintenance is cleaning the fuel filter every now and then to keep it clean from unwanted dirt and clogs. You can do so with a bit of water and a specialized cleaning kit.

So how exactly do you clean your fuel pump? Here are nine steps that you need to take:

Step 1: Disconnect Fuel Lines

One of the first things you need to take care of when cleaning the filter is to disconnect all of the fuel lines. This way, you don’t have to worry about contaminating the fuel or damaging the connection to the rest of the car. You might need to consult an instructional manual to understand where the connections are in the fuel tank walls. 

Step 2: Completely Drain the Fuel Tank

Now that you have removed connections to the fuel, use a secondary gas can to collect the leftover gas. The best way to do this is to use a jack and open the drain port from the dirty gas tank. The leftover fuel will slowly drain out, leaving an empty tank. 

Some drivers will do this by driving the car until the fuel gauge shows a reading of empty. This is important as you don’t want fuel mixing and interacting with the cleaners deployed in the next steps. 

Step 3: Remove All the Grease

Next up, you want to make sure all of the oil and gas are gone. While it may look empty, there may still be some on the fuel tank walls. In that case, you need to undertake a degreasing process. This involves using either a degreasing agent or detergent mixed in hot water.

Put this mix into the fuel tank, and let it sit there for a full 24 hours. At the end of the day, if there is still a smell of gasoline, you may need to repeat this process. Once the smell of gasoline is gone, you can move on to the next step. 

Step 4: Wash Your Tank With Water

You can use a high-pressure water cleaner to wash out the inside of the dirty fuel tank. This will help remove any leftover debris and dust and leave the fuel tank cleaner and less greasy. Aim the pressure washer towards all sides and angles of the tank so it can really get into the walls and clean them out in an effective manner. 

Step 5: Use Fuel System Cleaners

Now that you have degreased, you can use a specialized cleaning solution designed to help you get into the nooks and crannies. This cleaning process allows you to target clogs of dirt and dust that you may not even have noticed. Fuel system cleaning kits are different from any other cleaning method because they are built specifically for this purpose. 

Once you have put in the cleaning kit, let it sit in the tank for a few hours. This will give it plenty of time to interact with dirt particles and clean rust off the surface. 

Step 6: Rinse, Dry, and Reconnect

Now, all of the cleaning processes are complete. The next thing to do is rinse out the cleaner and make sure it is completely removed. Once that is done, you will have to use the air-drying method to let all of the water evaporate and leave the car clean and dry. 

This can take between 24-48 hours to complete. Finally, you can reconnect the fuel lines and use the fuel tank again. 

Can I Use a Car With a Dirty Fuel Tank?

You cannot use a car with a dirty tank as it can cause various problems over time. The entire system in the car will be affected, and performance will go down over time. You may face issues with the fuel filter and notice a faulty fuel pump. 

Here are some of the more common issues you can run into when you keep using a dirty tank:

Clogged Fuel Injectors or Filters

replacing dirty fuel filter

One of the last things you want to do as a car owner is to keep your fuel injectors or filters dirty. A dirty fuel filter can easily get clogged because of its sensitive walls, which can easily be damaged. 

Once you have a bad fuel filter, you will need to get it replaced, which is a lengthy and expensive process. If you don’t clean out your tank, you might get stuck with dirty fuel injectors. 

A fuel injector helps move fuel into your engine at a steady pace, and if it gets clogged, you can see serious changes to the way that your engine works. You will then have to go through the process of getting an injector cleaner or fuel injector cleaning kit to handle the issue. 

Fuel Pump Failures

Most cars use either electric fuel pumps or mechanical pumps to relay fuel toward the engine. The pump needs to be able to apply a certain amount of fuel pressure to get the pump relay mechanism to work correctly.

If there are clogs from your fuel tank to your filters, injectors, and so on, the pump simply cannot work as it should. It will lose performance, and as a result, so will the car engine. That is why you need to be able to keep your fuel pump working correctly. 

Incorrect Fuel Disbursement

As mentioned above, fuel travels towards the engine through fuel injectors, which help spray the fuel in the right amounts, allowing it to be broken down easily. However, if you are using a bad fuel injector, the amount of fuel sprayed will vary. 

On the other hand, clean fuel injectors help keep everything running smoothly. That’s why it is essential to keep fuel injection levels stable, and it also helps you practice better fuel management for your car.

Frequently Asked Questions

So, now that we know all about cleaning your fuel system components, it’s time to dive into some common follow-up questions. 

How Do You Know if Fuel Lines Are Clogged?

There are certain ways that your car can let you know it’s time to do a deep cleaning of the fuel system. For example, you may notice trouble accelerating, starting the engine, or incorrect readings on the fuel pressure gauge. In some cases, the engine may stop altogether. 

This is why it is important to listen to the signs your car is giving you — when you notice that these issues are coming up, don’t hesitate. The longer you wait, the more damaged your car can get in the long run. 

How Often Should You Clean a Fuel Tank?

You should clean your fuel tank after driving it for about 30,000 miles. However, other factors, such as your car’s age and type, can affect the exact number. You can also get your car serviced by the manufacturer to get it cleaned professionally. 

How Long Does a Fuel Pump Last?

An average fuel pump will last about 100,000 miles, give or take. Some fuel pumps can last for longer. However, it is best to replace them so they can keep performing well. Continuing to use faulty fuel pumps can be detrimental to the internal fuel system.

If you are getting other parts of your fuel system changed or looked at, it’s a good time to have the fuel pump replaced with a newer one. This helps to keep the health of the car at top priority. 

How Often Should I Clean a Fuel Injector?

You should clean your fuel injectors, along with the fuel tank, every 30,000 miles. Because the whole mechanism is linked together, if you clean your fuel tank and injector regularly, they should last. You can also reach out to professionals or get servicing done by the manufacturer. 


Now that you have learned all about how to clean a fuel pump without removal, you know that cleaning your fuel tank without removing the whole system is definitely possible. This is an effective way to prevent long-term damage to your car while improving the internal mechanism. 

Remember, if you neglect the fuel cleaning of your car, you can end up with serious issues that can affect it in the long run.