What is the Vacuum Pump all about?
While all gasoline engines create vacuums during operation, sometimes the amount created isn’t enough to power the accessory systems in the car. Diesel engines do not create vacuums at all during operation. In both of these instances, a vacuum pump is used to either augment or provide the vacuum power necessary to operate the various other systems on the car, including the brakes, some HVAC functions and more. The vacuum pump is usually located behind the engine, mounted near the firewall and close to the master cylinder and brake booster. It’s easily recognizable for its two nozzles on top, as well as the design of the canister. It is an electric air pump that maintains a constant amount of vacuum in the vacuum reservoir behind the front bumper. If the vacuum pump stops working or develops a leak, the engine compartment may release a hissing sound, the heater controls may not switch when operated, or the brake pedal may be hard to depress.
Keep in mind:
- The vacuum pump is an electronic component that can experience both electrical and mechanical problems.
- The vacuum pump is not designed to be serviced, so it will not be inspected during routine maintenance aside from a vacuum line inspection.
- Leaks in vacuum lines can mimic symptoms of vacuum pump failure.
How it’s done:
- The faulty vacuum pump is located and identified
- The valve vacuum pump is then removed
- The new vacuum pump is then installed
- The brakes are tested for proper vacuum pump operation
- The vehicle is road tested and checked for proper vacuum pump and brakes operation
The vacuum pump, which is expected to last the life of your vehicle, does not receive any maintenance and is only serviced when it fails. If you are experiencing symptoms related to the vacuum system, have your vehicle diagnosed by one of our expert mechanics.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Vacuum Pump?
- Heater controls don’t operate properly
- A hissing air sound is present
- Brake pedal is very hard to press
How important is this service?
If the vacuum pump fails, your brakes may not operate properly and vehicle operation becomes unsafe. Have your vacuum pump replaced immediately if it is diagnosed as faulty.