Help! 03 Alero Died

Last night my 2003 olds alero died when I came to a stop at an intersection. It would not start back up. The engine is turning over fine. This morning I tried to start it again and noticed that I couldn’t hear the fuel pump working like I usually do when the car is turned on. Could this be a pump problem? Any suggestions.

Sir, you should try to find where is your fuel pump relay. Check for voltage coming in and with the key on the on position, check for voltage going out to the pump. I hope you have already checked the fuse(s). Also somewhere in this car you have a disconnect that in case of a crash stops the fuel pump, so if you are not getting voltage at the relay, look for it and make sure it is activated or reset it. You may have to check voltage at the pump, you should have a visitor’s door to access it in your trunk. A Haynes manual would really help you with locations. Good luck.

Have you always been able to hear the fuel pump run at the same sound level, or, has it gotten louder lately? If a pump gets louder, it’s usually on its way out. The problem with the fuel pump on your car may be that it’s not getting power (12 volts). Its fuse, relay, wiring, or wiring connections could be faulty. Look in the fuse box for the fuel pump fuse. If you’re not sure it’s good, swap it out. The fuel pump relay is under the hood. It may be by itself, or it may be in a relay box. Exchange the fuel pump relay with another (they often are interchangeable).+++ There may be a wire, near the fuel pump relay, which looks like somebody forget to connect it (the Fuel Pump Prime Connector). Insert a piece of wire, having a fuse, in this connector and touch the other end to the positive post of the battery. This bypasses everything and powers the fuel pump directly. If the fuel pump runs, then, the problem is in the wiring, engine computer, etc. Then, you call your mechanic.

Thanks for the advice. I have always been able to hear my fuel pump when I first put my car in the on position I could hear it pump for about a second. I checked the fuse but have not had a chance to swap out. I will do that and check the relay. Also is the fuel pump reset switch usually inside the car or outside.

I don’t think your car has an inertia switch which can cut power to the fuel pump. I looked at the wiring diagram and didn’t see one. The fuse is #48 (F/P INJ) in the under-hood relay box. The engine computer can tell you if it has discovered any electrical problems with the fuel pump. Is the check engine light (symbol or words) on on the dash when ignition key is on? Does someone have a DTC code reader to read the codes? If you get codes, bring them here for explanation.

The service engine light is on. However, it always lights up until the engine is running. Everyone keeps telling me it is probably the computer. What is more likely to be the problem, the pump or the computer?

Guesses are cheap and, often, wrong. Check around and find a good independent repair shop. It’ll cost you less than blindly changing an engine computer. Can any of the advisors do the simple circuit tests to the fuel pump?

We JUST had this happen and found the answer to be the relay. Advice on another site told us to swap the horn and fuel pump relays (they’re the same part) and it is starting again. Strangely, the horn also works fine even though it has the faulty relay. Advice from my brother (a GM employee but I love him, anyway) is that the horn relay is used a lot less than the fuel pump so it is a good fix in a pinch. Fingers crossed for now, or at least until the garages open again tomorrow.

Well, I’m glad you had positive results, AND that you came back to tell us about it. Too few people do. +++ It’s OK to swap parts, or to change CHEAP parts in an attempt to find a faulty part.