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Signs of Air Pump Valve Failure in Subaru

by Mechanics Direct April 9, 2019

Correct and thorough vehicle maintenance is the cornerstone of a smoothly running and long lasting vehicle. Regularly checking and maintaining the various mechanisms within your car ensures that any problems are noticed quickly or even prevented, saving on time, money, and/or further damage to your vehicle. While Subarus are known for their high quality Japanese engineering and forward thinking technology, over time parts may still fail, or reduce in efficiency.

Knowing the various warning signs of imminent or existing failures can feel overwhelming at first, particularly to new drivers. In this article we’ll be exploring the signs of an air pump valve failure in your Subaru, as well as finding out what a failure means to your vehicle’s eco-efficiency.

What is an Air Pump Valve?

Part of the secondary air injection system within your Subaru, the air pump valve (also known as the air pump check valve) is an integral part of reducing your vehicle’s tailpipe emissions. The air pump valve allows air to travel through to the exhaust. Because it is a one-way valve, its mechanism stops exhaust fumes from leaking out into the secondary air injection system.

Looking like a black cylinder with a wider aperture at one end and a smaller opening at the other, the air pump valve is generally housed within or near the exhaust manifold.

What Happens when an Air Pump Valve Fails?

While a failing or failed air pump value has no catastrophic impact upon the cars mechanisms, what it does impact quite severely is the vehicle’s tailpipe emissions. Subaru is known for their eco-friendly cars, and, as a Subaru owner, it’s likely this environmental responsibility was a deciding factor of your purchase. No eco-conscious consumer wants to suddenly find out their vehicle has been excessively damaging the planet, so for most car owners, knowing when an air pump valve has failed is essential.

Signs of a Faulty or Failing Air Pump Valve

There are three main signs that the air pump valve in your Subaru may be ineffective or even defective. There may of course be other more subtle signs, or signs specific to your type of vehicle, but as a rule of thumb, these are the basics every good driver should be aware of:

  1. Exhaust Fume Odor

    If you notice your vehicle is pumping out far more emissions than usual, typically accompanied by odor similar to petrol or gas, then it’s likely the air pump valve has failed. This smell is the result of exhaust leaking back into the secondary air injection system. While this may not always be caused by a failed or ineffective air pump valve, any sort of emission odor definitely indicates a fault somewhere within the exhaust system.

  2. Emissions Test Failure

    Many states require an emissions test on vehicles. If a vehicle fails this emission test, then it is deemed unroadworthy and cannot be legally driven. As previously defined in this article, a failed air pump valve directly impacts the emissions of a vehicle. This in turn will result in increased pollutants, particularly hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, which will ultimately cause your vehicle to fail its emissions test, and leave you without a drivable car until it is fixed.

  3. The ‘Check Engine’ Light is On

    The final sign in this trio of air pump valve failure warnings is the illumination of the ‘Check Engine’ light. This lights up when an issue has been detected by your car’s onboard computer. This of course can be a sign of many issues, including a problem with the air pump valve. To find out the cause of this warning light, you’ll need to have the cars computer scanned for trouble codes, which most mechanics will be able to help you with.

Solving Inefficient Air Pump Valves

Whether you suspect your air pump valve is failing, or if you’re worried about your Subaru’s emission levels and you live in Lowell, MA or any of surrounding towns including; N. Chelmsford, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tyngsborough, and Westford, then Lowell Auto Repair is the place to go. With affordable prices, award winning service, and a complimentary 30-point inspection with every job, Mechanics Direct will have your Subaru environmentally friendly in no time!

* Blue Subaru Car image credit goes to:kurmyshov.