The fuel rail sensor, also known as the fuel pressure sensor, is mainly responsible for keeping track of the fuel pressure within the fuel rail. The sensor sends this information to the engine control unit.
The ECU uses this information to make the necessary changes to the amount of fuel needed, fuel injection timing, and pressure. With the right amount of fuel supply, it allows the engine to function properly according to the changing driving conditions.
With the faulty pressure sensor, the engine either receives too much or too little fuel and causes the engine performance to fall in and also affects the vehicle’s fuel economy.
Where is the Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor Located
The fuel rail pressure sensor is located on the right side fuel rail as a part of the fuel pump assembly. The high pressure pump pressurizes the fuel before transmitting it to the engine.
For this reason, it needs to store the fuel and this is where the fuel rail comes in place. It contains the fuel with having two to three injectors.
The fuel rail pressure sensor is just located on this fuel rail that monitors the fuel pressure and sends the data to the ECU. ECU uses this data to regulate the amount of fuel being transmitted to the engine.
In most vehicles, there is one sensor but in some vehicles, you may find two sensors also.
Signs & Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor
These are a few symptoms that a fuel rail pressure sensor may produce when it goes bad.
#1. Check Engine Light
The check engine light is the first indication that something is wrong with the vehicle, affecting engine performance. As you know, there are several reasons that cause the check engine light to illuminate. Therefore, a proper diagnostic through a scan tool is required to confirm the issue.
If post scanning, you get any of the given DTC codes P0190, P0191, P0192, P0193, and P0194 it means there is some issue with the fuel rail pressure sensor.
If you don’t have the scan tool then visit the nearest mechanic.
Related Article: How to Reset Check Engine Light
#2. Stalling Engine
When your vehicle has a faulty fuel rail pressure sensor, you may experience engine stalling. Due to the bad fuel rail pressure sensor, the engine does not get the adequate amount of fuel. This may cause the engine to stall anytime while driving and also while idling.
Therefore, driving the vehicle with a bad fuel rail pressure sensor is highly dangerous.
You may be able to start the engine with a faulty pressure sensor but no guarantee of how long you would be able to drive it. Even if you notice engine stalling only once, you should take your vehicle to the mechanic and get the sensor replaced before it turns from bad to worse.
#3. Bad Fuel Economy
If you notice the vehicle’s fuel consumption has suddenly increased, the bad fuel rail pressure sensor could be the culprit.
Because the faulty pressure sensor will send wrong data about the fuel requirement, the ECU may pump more fuel into the combustion chamber.
This will result in increased fuel consumption and decreased mileage. And eventually, you will have to spend more money on fuel.
#4. Trouble Starting Engine
As we mentioned earlier, the fuel rail pressure sensor sends the data to the ECU to tell how much fuel is needed. If it goes bad, the ECU will not send the appropriate amount of fuel to the engine. The interrupted supply of fuel will cause a delay in starting up the engine.
The engine may start after several attempts of cranking the engine but if you keep driving with the faulty pressure sensor, the engine may stop starting at all.
#5. Poor Engine Performance
When the vehicle’s engine doesn’t get sufficient fuel, you may notice a significant decrease in the engine power. The engine will not accelerate or poorly accelerate even when you press hard on the gas pedal.
However, weak acceleration can be the symptom of several other issues related to the engine, but if you notice this symptom along with above mentioned symptoms, then there is a high possibility of having a faulty pressure sensor.
Related Article: 10 Reasons Why Car Losing Power While Accelerating
Can You Drive With a Bad Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor
You can drive with a bad fuel rail pressure sensor but it is not recommended. Aside from the all difficulties you face while starting up the engine, the biggest peril associated with the faulty pressure sensor is engine stalling. The engine can stall anytime, anywhere without any warning which is very dangerous.
If the ECU supplies too little fuel to the combustion chamber, the engine will run with less power. This will cause heating up the engine that may damage the valves and pistons and require engine rebuild.
If it supplies too much fuel then the unburned fuel will come out of the exhaust which may block the exhaust pipe. Thus, driving with a bad fuel rail pressure sensor is neither safe for you nor for your vehicle.
Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor Replacement Cost
The fuel rail pressure sensor replacement cost can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle and the shop you choose.
Usually, the dealership repair is costlier than the repair from an independent mechanic. On average, it can cost you between $150 and $270 including both the parts’ cost and labor charge.
The parts alone can cost you around $70 to $150. If the vehicle is quite older, the parts’ cost may exceed the given range. And the labor can cost you between $80 and $120.
Here, the fuel pressure sensor location is important when it comes to the replacement, it determines the labor cost.
And keep one thing in mind that if you’re thinking for DIY then it is advised don’t do this unless you have enough experience and knowledge. Because it is not as easier as it seems.
You may get confused with the fuel rail pressure sensor and fuel tank pressure sensor, so remember that both are different, so don’t get confused with it if the mechanic asks to replace the fuel tank pressure sensor.
The fuel tank pressure sensor is also an important part of the fuel pump assembly that measures the positive and negative pressure in the fuel tank. Its replacement is a bit more difficult that fuel rail pressure sensor replacement.