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Common Symptoms Of Fuel Tank Pressure (FTP) Sensor Failure

Published on December 26th, 2023

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Purpose

To discuss the most common symptoms that occur when the Fuel Tank Pressure (FTP) Sensor fails.

Introduction

The FTP sensor is an electronic component located in a vehicle's fuel tank. It is part of the Evaporative Emissions Control (EVAP) system, designed to capture and recycle fuel vapors from the fuel tank and prevent them from escaping into the atmosphere. The FTP sensor measures the pressure inside the fuel tank and transmits this information to the Engine Control Module (ECM) or Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The ECM uses this information to determine if the fuel tank is sealed correctly and to monitor the Evaporative Emissions Control system for leaks or malfunctions. If the FTP sensor detects a problem, it will send a signal to the ECM, which will then illuminate the Check Engine Light on the dashboard and store a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) in its memory.

A malfunctioning FTP sensor can cause a range of symptoms, including:

  • An illuminated Check Engine Light
  • Rough Idle
  • Decreased Fuel Efficiency
  • Poor acceleration
  • Difficulty starting the engine or stalling
  • Emissions Issues
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FTP Sensor

Symptoms of the Faulty Evaporative Emission Control System

Illuminated Check Engine Light /DTC Codes

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When the FTP sensor fails or malfunctions, it will send an error signal to ECM. Then, the ECM will detect an issue with the FTP sensor and store a DTC in its memory. The specific DTC code may vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but standard codes related to the FTP sensor include P0452, P0453, and P0454. Other issues can also trigger an illuminated Check Engine Light, so it's crucial to have a qualified mechanic diagnose the vehicle to identify the underlying cause of the problem.

Rough Idle

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The FTP sensor is used by the ECM to adjust the air/fuel mixture and ignition timing. A malfunctioning FTP sensor can cause the engine to run improperly, leading to rough idling. This symptom is often accompanied by a noticeable vibration or shaking sensation in the cabin of the vehicle.

Decreased Fuel Efficiency

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The ECM uses the FTP sensor to calculate fuel usage and adjust the engine accordingly accurately. If the FTP sensor is malfunctioning, the ECM may not be able to calculate fuel usage, leading to decreased fuel efficiency accurately. This symptom can also be subtle initially but may become more noticeable over time.

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Poor Acceleration

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If the FTP sensor provides inaccurate information to the ECM, the engine may not receive the proper fuel/air mixture and ignition timing, leading to poor acceleration. This symptom can be subtle at first but may become more noticeable over time.

Difficulty starting the engine or stalling

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A malfunctioning FTP sensor can also cause difficulty starting the engine or stalling, as the ECM may not receive accurate information about the pressure inside the fuel tank. This can cause the engine to run with excessive richness or leanness, resulting in difficulty starting or stalling. This can be frustrating for the driver, as it can make the vehicle difficult to operate reliably.

Emissions Issues

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The FTP sensor is an integral part of the EVAP system and is used to monitor fuel tank pressure and prevent fuel vapors from escaping into the atmosphere. If the FTP sensor is not functioning properly, it can cause the EVAP system to fail, leading to increased emissions and potential environmental damage. This is because the ECM may not receive accurate information about the pressure inside the fuel tank, which can lead to improper adjustments to the system.

Summary

A malfunctioning FTP sensor can cause emissions issues. If the system fails due to a malfunctioning FTP sensor, the vehicle may not pass the smog check, resulting in fines or the inability to register the car until the issue is resolved. And it's essential to have any emissions-related matters diagnosed and repaired by an experienced automotive technician to prevent environmental damage and ensure compliance with local and federal regulations.

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