5 Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor (and Replacement Cost)

In diesel and some gasoline vehicles, a fuel rail pressure sensor (not to be confused with a fuel tank pressure sensor) monitors delivery to the injectors. When this component fails, performance suffers without warning lights.

But what happens when the sensor fails and how will you know? Keep reading to understand the signs of a bad fuel rail pressure sensor, what causes it to fail, and how much replacement will cost.

symptoms of bad fuel rail pressure sensor

What Does a Fuel Pressure Sensor Do?

The purpose of this sensor is to keep track of the fuel pressure within the fuel rail. As the sensor detects this information, the data gets transmitted to the engine control unit.

From there, the computer will analyze the data and make the necessary changes to the timing of the fuel injections and the quantity of the fuel being injected.  This allows for optimal engine performance for the current driving conditions.

The engine control unit will specify the correct amount of fuel that the engine needs. If more fuel than necessary is injected into the combustion chamber, your fuel economy worsens.

what is a fuel pressure sensor?

Not only that, but the lifespan of emissions related parts decreases and excess carbon emissions are expelled into the atmosphere.

Since most vehicles on the road today are made to be as environmentally friendly as possible, this makes the fuel rail pressure sensor a vital component that must remain functional at all times.

See Also: 3 Symptoms of a Faulty Fuel Sending Unit

Top 5 Symptoms of a Bad Fuel Pressure Sensor

If there is a problem with the fuel rail pressure sensor, the engine control unit won’t be able to do its job properly. Here the 5 most common signs of a bad fuel pressure sensor.

#1 – Check Engine Light

check engine light

When your fuel rail pressure sensor goes bad, the “Check Engine” warning light may illuminate on your dashboard. This light activates whenever the engine control unit detects an issue within the vehicle that affects the engine in some way.

This doesn’t always mean the engine itself is bad, but rather something else in the vehicle which is not allowing it to do its job properly. You probably won’t know it is the fuel rail pressure sensor at first but using a diagnostic scan tool can often confirm the issue.

P0190, P0191, P0192, P0193, and P0194 are the most common DTC codes indicating an issue with the fuel rail sensor.

#2 – Difficulty Starting Engine

If you have a bad fuel rail pressure sensor, the ECU won’t send the right amount of fuel to the engine. This will make it difficult to start your vehicle.

When this problem first occurs, it will probably take a couple attempts cranking the engine before it starts. But as the problem gets progressively worse, it will take more and more attempts to start. Often, it may start then immediately shut off. Eventually, the engine won’t start at all.

#3 – Weak Acceleration

poor acceleration

When you step on the gas pedal and the vehicle does not accelerate like it’s supposed to, then you could have a bad fuel pressure sensor.

The engine control unit is not able to transmit the signal properly to the fuel system because it gets inaccurate information from the sensor. That means it won’t know how to accommodate the fuel demands being placed on the engine.

#4 – Stalling

instrument cluster not working

Engine stalling might occur as the fuel rail pressure sensor goes from bad to worse. You will be driving and then suddenly, your engine will stall. It may also stall while idling.

This will make driving extremely difficult (and dangerous) and it should motivate you to do something about it. Take your vehicle to the nearest auto shop right away and get your sensor replaced if it turns out to be the cause.

#5 – Bad Fuel Mileage

bad fuel economy

When your fuel pressure sensor doesn’t work like it should, you’ll notice a considerable reduction in fuel economy and mileage.

Either your engine control unit will send too much fuel or not enough fuel through the fuel rail and into the combustion chamber. You will quickly notice more trips to the gas station and more money out of your pocket.

Those will larger vehicles will usually notice a reduction in fuel economy the most. For instance, the fuel economy of a Duramax engine will be affected more noticeably than something like a Honda Civic.

See Also: How to Fix a Malfunctioning Gas Gauge

Fuel Sensor Replacement Cost

Best places to order parts?  See: 19 Best Online Auto Parts Stores

fuel pressure sensor replacement cost

The cost to replace a fuel rail pressure sensor can vary quite a bit depending on make and model of your vehicle. On average, expect to pay between $200 and $340 total for a fuel rail pressure sensor replacement.

Parts alone will set you back about $60 to $100 and the labor cost to replace the sensor will cost between $140 and $240.

Of course, you’re usually going to pay more when you have a dealership perform the work compared to an independent mechanic. Unless you have a good amount of auto repair experience, you should not attempt replacement yourself in most cases.

What Causes the Sensor to Fail?

Here are two of the most common causes that lead to the failure of a fuel rail pressure sensor.

Exposure to Pollutants

Your car’s fuel pressure sensor can get clogged and even damaged due to constant exposure to pollutants and impurities in the fuel. Over time, these pollutants can build up in the sensor, affecting its performance and causing it to malfunction.

This is a good reason to use high-quality fuel from well-known gas stations to keep your engine running smoothly and prolong the life of your fuel rail pressure sensor and any other type of sensor.

Wear and Tear

Like all mechanical parts, fuel pressure sensors are subject to wear and tear over time. Because it’s part of the pressurized fuel system, as the sensor wears out, it may not be able to perform adjustments to the fuel pressure as intended, leading to engine performance issues and possible sensor failure.

Is It Safe to Continue Driving With a Bad Fuel Rail Pressure Sensor?

While it’s possible to continue driving, it’s not the best idea. You see, when the sensor is failing, you’ll likely experience issues like poor engine performance, trouble starting, or even stalling.

Not only can these symptoms be frustrating, but they also pose serious safety risks on the road. A couple good examples include stalling at a busy intersection or losing power while towing your trailer up a steep incline. 

So take our advice, and don’t push your luck. It’s better to seek professional help and get the sensor replaced before it creates a bigger headache down the line at the worst possible time.

Mark Stevens

64 Comments

  1. I have a madza 3 2015,I replaced my fuel rail pressure sensor because of a bad start and high gas consumption.However, the car is really cranking and taking longer to start when hot and sucks evenmore gas.What should I do?

    1. I wonder if maybe the fuel pressure sensor wasn’t part of the problem. I’d be interested to see the results of a compression or leak down test, but that is a newer car. If it’s been taken care of, it should have decent compression numbers. How many miles are on the car? Have the spark plugs been changed?

    1. What happens when you turn the key? Does it crank? What do the battery terminals look like? Have you tried cleaning them? Make sure both battery cables are tight. Can you get the car started intermittently or will it not start at all?

  2. I have A 2012 Volvo S 60 T5 it has showed codes for fuel pump sensor and fuel pressure regulator now the check engine light is off and not showing any codes it will crank run for a little bit and then cut off crank cut off. I’ve noticed the acceleration isn’t what it used to be and it just feels like it’s having trouble doing what it should be able to do someone please help

    1. You’re probably going to need a professional diagnosis on this one, from someone who can see the vehicle in person and hook up their own scan tool.

  3. Hi
    I have KIA sorento Diesel engine 2005 model. It has weak cracks and can’t pump fuel to the injectors. It’s failing to start. Can you advise…

  4. I have a 2016 Range Rover Sport. Experienced all of the symptoms above. Got the Restricted Performance Error message on the dash, car would slow down and the stall all together.

    Dealer says its a bad Fuel Rail Sensor, but they have to replace the entire Fuel Rail at a huge cost.. sounds bogus to me.

    Can anyone confirm that the sensor on a ’16 Range Rover Sport can be replaced without the entire Fuel Rail?

    Thanks

  5. I have issue with my Audi Q7 Premium 2008 after engine light come on I plug OB2 test and read code tell me P0190 Fuel rail pressure sensor change the unit and also I repair fuel pump, fuel filter reset code the vehicle run for about 10 min then shut down then I tried to re-started again wont turn over. Can anyone help help… Thanks

    1. Can you do a fuel pressure test to see if your fuel pressure is actually low? That may tell you if it is a sensor or a mechanical issue that is causing low fuel pressure.

  6. I am getting a P0183 fuel temurature sensor and the ford people are telling me twice now, that the temperarure sensor is part of the fuel rail pressure Sensor. Does that seem right..

      1. If it’s got 4 wires then it’s fuel rail pressure temp sensor.
        Pin 3 temp, pin 1 pressure, 4 sig return, 2 ref voltage.
        3 wire is just pressure sensor. There’s a you tube video, cheap ones from amazon can be defective, or eBay, seems doable to replace self, while running pull out fuel pump fuse, put rag underneath disconnect vacuum hose remove bolts, pop in new one, a mechanics gonna want 200$. I replaced one for pressure code now I got temp code, two years later, I don’t notice any loss of gas mileage maybe it runs too fast warming up cause it thinks it’s always 0 degrees out ,?

  7. I changed my 1az-fse engine fuel electric pump,filter and pressure senior,power flow to pump but my car not start why.

    1. I’m not sure I understand what was changed, but it sounds like several things at once. Test to make sure all parts you swapped are good. If you changed the engine, make sure you’ve connected all hoses and electrical connectors. Check to make sure you have spark.

  8. I am having problem with my Mazda cx-7 fuel rail circuit p0463. I want to know if the circuit plug can also be affected.

    1. You’re probably fine to leave the fuel pump alone unless you’ve noticed a separate issue with the fuel pump, such as a consistent lean air/fuel ratio, or hesitation as you give the vehicle more gas.

  9. I have a 91 alegro bay motorhome commins deisel 5.9 I’d does not want to start can it be the injectors pump pressure censor

  10. I have a 2017 Mazda 3 I have been repairing I got it from a auction I changed fuel rail and fuel pressure sensor and injectors with some used ones but when I start the car it jerks and tumbles plus at the moment it starts it lets out a small cloud of white smoke from the exhaust and I have to wait for a little bit before it starts to accelerate normally

    1. Be sure the parts you’ve replaced are the correct parts for that engine. I know someone who bought a CX-5 from auction and sourced an intake from a 2.0L motor, assuming it was the same as the 2.5L intake. The car ran very poorly until the correct intake was used.

      Is it throwing any codes? I’d see if I could figure out if the air fuel ratio is in the right ballpark with an OBD2 scanner. There could be a vacuum leak somewhere or an issue with the high pressure fuel pump. Any codes may point you in the right direction as well.

  11. Hi
    I have 04 F150, 5.4L cranks no start. It’s has good compression, dood battery, good spark, good fuel pressure “ 50 psi “ showed on fuel gauge attached to the fuel rail but showed 10 psi on my scan tool connected to obd 2
    Please advise

  12. I have a toyota dyna So5D its killing the rail pressure sensor rapidly 3 times a month
    What can be the main problem n what can I do .

  13. I have a 04 mustang gt convertible check engine light came on had it check fuel rail pressure sensor code replaced it still throwing the code put new spark plugs ,fuel filter took it to the Ford garage said it was a bad feul injector replaced it still throwing the code I’m stumped need some help

  14. I have a 2014 hino truck when ever i come to a complete stop it struggle to move i get no code, what can i do.

  15. I have a bmwx5 and fuel rail error read at mechanics. Can you put fuel stabilizer in tank to help clean sensor?
    Thanks
    Kellie

  16. I have replaced mine 3 times now. Last one was a bosch which I was told is the OEM.
    What causes them to keep going bad?

    1. They shouldn’t that often, you might an fuel pump issue, it could also be something related to a wiring issue< harness. Make connection from harness and wiring not damaged. Just some ideas. Worse case your issue is off and on, anotherwords pain to troubleshoot. Thats typically bad wiring, make sure grounding cables, fuses, wiring harnesses in general are secure and connectors not dirty/rusty.

  17. What diagnostic tool can work on most diesel engine car in the philippines? Any recomendation? I bought a 2nd hand hyundai starex and abs light is on all the time. And it doesn’t accelarate properly as it should. I want to find out myself what is wrong. I already cleaned the injectors and egr. I dont want to go to mechanic. For they will surely rip me off

      1. I bought a 2019 caravan 2 months ago with 14 miles on it. I took it in a few weeks ago because engine light came on. The service department ordered a part and said it was fuel censor. Two week later van kept cutting off and stalling at every red light. They think the part the put I was defective. Dodge has had the car for 2 weeks and still in diagnostic stage. I am a Uber driver so No income for two weeks. What are my options? I am tempted to buy an $10,000 car for back up because I need to work. Dodge gave me a rental but I can not Uber in it. Not sure I want the van back if it’s is going to have problems this early. The first payment is due in 2 weeks. Only 7000 miles on van. 😥

        1. Did the dealer figure out what the problem was on dodge minivan? Problem is most stealerships like to just RIP people off or many have the worse mechanics at min wage. Like to hear what problem was. Thanks

  18. Any shortcuts for replacing a fuel sensor on a 2011/12 dodge 6.9 cummins
    I cant physically get to it.
    Tool recommendation?

  19. Persistent starting problem after replacing fuel pressure sensor may be due to scv not sending signal(current) to the vehicle ECU. This is required for the adjustment of fuel sent to the injectors. Reset error code twice and try starting the vehicle. Good luck

  20. hi all

    I have an audi S5 that’s really doing my head in, I have had the car plugged in and the code showed high pressure sensor was faulty, I have had this changed but no difference, car struggles to start and does not like acceleration at all it just jerks the garage have told me they don’t really know what else to try to fix it, anyone got any ideas as iam going out of my mind

  21. I’m having weak acceleration problems with my 1998 Ford Taurus on restarts and going up hills I read about the fuel rail du think that my problem sounds like that problem

      1. Its possibly the EGR,which is a cheap and simple job to do.like wise the fuel pressure sensor cheap to buy and fit on most cars.

  22. thanks for your help always. my car a nissan caravan common rail ddti is not performing well even though I have replaced a fuel pressure sensor

  23. Hi, i have a 2009 2.0 tdci (140) smax, and the motor crankshaft but doesn’t start hot, i’ve to wait until it comes to 60° to start. I’ve also changed the crank and cam sensor, the ect sensor, and now i see on cold start the rail pressure is 430/450 kPa. On hot the rail pressure is 210 kPa. What can i do? Thanks.

  24. Hi.I have an open vivaro 1,9 cdti the car does start properly when its cold it does pour too much fuel on the engine smoking all the way black smoke and it wouldn’t burn that diesel anymore as its too much then it will just stops for it to start again I must wait for at least 2 hours to start as diesel will be sinked.so its a problem to me I don’t know what could be the problem fuel rail pressure sensor or injectors.

  25. I have replaced a new rail pressure sensor but the car still do not perform. What could be the challenges or next step

    1. I have a 2015 Range Rover Evoque. The engine light is on and the OBDII code reads P0008 (fuel pressure high) and I was told that the fuel rail sensor needs to be replaced. I’ve been quoted around $1500 from a dealership. Is this something that is replaceable at home if I can get the part?

      1. Many times, the fuel rail pressure sensor is an easy replacement without having to remove the fuel rail. I’m not familiar with how the Evoque has it though.
        If you feel confident enough, I’d recommend getting a good repair manual (print or online) to see what the process is on your model. http://cartreatments.com/chilton-vs-haynes-best-repair-manual/

        I have a feeling you’d be able to do it yourself and probably save a thousand dollars.

        1. I agree. These sensors are just boondoggles for the industry. What did we do in 1975?

      2. I have Volvo S40- 2010 diesel- 1560 cc.
        It goes into limp mode when rpm 20000.
        Please let me how I can resolve.
        Error p0089.

        1. Check your fuel pressure regulator. Based on that code, I think it is a fueling issue you’re experiencing. You could try hooking up a scanner to check fuel trims as well to see if it’s running too rich or lean.

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