Fuel Pressure Regulator Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a Fuel Pressure Regulator Replacement is between $145 and $342. Labor costs are estimated between $44 and $156 while parts are priced between $101 and $186. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Fuel Pressure Regulator?

Fuel systems have many components that are often disregarded, unknown, and unsung. These components are what allow the fuel system to work flawlessly mile after mile, rarely fail, and are located in tiny niches along the fuel lines. Everyone knows the fuel pump sends fuel to the engine, but most people do not realize that the pump is always going to pump as much fuel as it possibly can, even when much of that fuel is not needed. Since fuel injectors and throttle bodies have an optimum fuel pressure which they need to operate efficiently, the solution to overpressure from the fuel pump is to instal a fuel pressure regulator. THe regulator simply limits the amount of fuel pressure that can pass by the regulator, which means the pressure after the regulator will remain constant at all times.

How do Fuel Pressure Regulators work?

The fuel pressure regulator works by receiving all of the fuel pressure that is sent from the fuel pump vie the main fuel supply line. When the fuel pressure exceeds the amount allowed by the fuel pressure regulator, it is restricted by the fuel pressure regulator so only the necessary amount can flow through. This still leaves the issue of an unnecessary fuel volume that can flow through the fuel pressure regulator when the engine is at lower RPM, when some cylinders are deactivated, or when the engine is decelerating. To combat the high volume when not needed, a fuel return line will allow fuel to return from to the fuel tank, effectively recycling the fuel and keeping the system in constant motion.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Fuel Pressure Regulator?

Fuel pressure regulators tend to fail in one manner, - by becoming too restrictive. When the fuel pressure regulator will not allow sufficient fuel to flow to the engine, the fuel injectors will fire, but will not pump enough fuel to allow for proper combustion. This is because the stoichiometric ratio for air and fuel is now far too lean, so the excess air has no fuel to react with at the time of combustion. THe result is multiple cylinder misfire, hesitation, and jerky acceleration when acceleration is possible. The check engine light will illuminate, and on-board diagnostic codes will read P0300-P0312, depending on the number of cylinders in the particular engine. There may also be OBD codes stored for lack of fuel pressure, the mass airflow sensor, or even the intake air temperature. These can result because the powertrain or engine control module is expecting combustion events and cannot tell there is a restriction in the fuel pressure regulator. In many cases, the vehicle will stall above idle, or will fail to start unless starting fluid is sprayed into the throttle body.

Can I drive with a bad Fuel Pressure Regulator?

Of course, the engine will not operate properly with a clogged fuel pressure regulator (FPR), so replacement may be required to start and drive the vehicle. However, it should be noted that a lean air fuel mixture will cause excess heat in the engine, which may lead to burnt engine valves, damage to the turbocharger, cracks in the exhaust manifold, or other serious issues. If your powertrain or engine control module detects lean running conditions, the vehicle should be driven gingerly to an automotive repair facility for diagnosis.

How often do Fuel Pressure Regulators need replacement?

Fuel pressure regulators do fail, but the failure rate tends to rely on fuel quality, fuel system maintenance, such as the gas cap and fuling before the tank is empty, and age. If the fuel filler cap is not sealing properly, it will allow contaminants into the fuel tank, which allows the fuel pump to suck them up and pump them through the fuel system. Also, allowing the fuel tank to run to empty nearly guarantees these contaminants will be sucked up by the fuel pump, so filling the tank when there are still a few gallons of fuel left is helpful. Finally, a vehicle that remains sitting for an extended period of time is at risk of failure since the components of the fuel system are non lubricated by fuel for an extended period, and when they dry out they may leave contaminants in the fuel system which will cause a clog at some point. While there is no rule of thumb for a fuel pressure regulator, a vehicle kept in good maintenance and good filling practices should be without major issues for well over 100,000 miles. This goes especially for modern fuel injected vehicles.

How are Fuel Pressure Regulator issues diagnosed?

Many times the driver will notice the A/C button flashing when they attempt to turn on the air conditioner, but one of two other symptoms are always noted. If the clutch fails to release, or becomes seized, the compressor will turn at all times. This causes the air conditioner to run at all times, and can even lead to small ice particles blowing from the vents in the right environment. Eventually, the evaporator core is likely to become frozen, and the blower motor will not be able to pass air through the core and into the vents. If the compressor clutch fails to engage, the air conditioner will blow hot at all times, and pressure will equalize across the air conditioning system low side and high side service ports. Some vehicles may show a check engine light, or a service air conditioning warning lamp as well.

How are Fuel Pressure Regulators replaced?

Replacement of the fuel pressure regulator will involve disconnecting the battery, discharging the fuel pressure from the fuel system, and removing the fuel pressure regulator from the fuel rail or fuel line, depending on the mounting location. Any mounting hardware will be removed, and the new unit will be installed on the vehicle. Note that the fuel pressure regulator will be secured to the vehicle before fuel lines are installed. This will prevent any damage that may be caused to the fuel lines or fittings by cross threading fittings or twisting the fuel lines. Once installed, the battery will be connected, the fuel system primed and checked for leaks, and the vehicle will be tested. If the OBD trouble codes do not reset during a drive cycle, diagnostics may continue, or the codes may be manually reset.

RepairPal Recommendations for Fuel Pressure Regulator issues

Since fuel pressure regulators are rated for the specific engine and fuel system that a vehicle is manufactured with, it is highly recommended to purchase an exact replacement by part number, and to contact the manufacturer for information concerning part revisions, updates, or improvements. This will ensure that the fuel pressure regulator supplies the appropriate amount of fuel, the correct fuel pressure, and is the latest and greatest version of the product.

What to look out for when dealing with Fuel Pressure Regulator issues

While a fuel pressure regulator can cause the issues described in this article, it is extremely important to realize that there are several other fuel system components that can cause the exact same symptoms, most notably the fuel filter and fuel pump. Aside from these, a lean misfire can also be caused by a faulty EGR valve, a vacuum leak, or faulty fuel injectors, just to name a few. This being the case, diagnostics are a 'must' when dealing with a lean misfire, since replacing parts can become very costly, very quickly.

Can I replace the Fuel Pressure Regulator myself?

Considering the repair involves a volatile hydraulic system where that system reaches its highest temperatures, it is very likely that most people will feel uncomfortable with repairing the fuel pressure regulator without professional assistance. While that is likely for the best, an experienced DIY mechanic should not have an issue replacing the failed fuel pressure regulator, but identifying the failure in the fuel system may be difficult or impossible for most. If diagnosing the issue proves to be impossible at home, it is best to have it diagnosed instead of swapping parts.

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