What is the Vacuum Pump?

While all gasoline engines generate vacuums during operation, sometimes the amount generated isn’t enough to power the accessory systems in the vehicle. Diesel engines do not generate vacuums at all during operation. In both of these cases, a vacuum pump is used to either augment or give the vacuum power required to operate the various other systems on the vehicle, including the brakes, some HVAC operations and more. The vacuum pump is usually found behind the engine, mounted near the firewall and close to the master cylinder and brake booster. It’s easily noticed for its two nozzles on top, as well as the shape of the canister. It is an electric air pump that keeps a constant amount of vacuum in the vacuum reservoir behind the front bumper. If the vacuum pump fails to work or develops a leak, the engine compartment may send out a hissing sound, the heater controls may not switch when turned on, or the brake pedal may be hard to depress.

Bear in mind:

  • The vacuum pump is an electronic part that can experience both electrical and mechanical issues
  • The vacuum pump is not produced to be serviced, so it will not be checked during routine maintenance aside from a vacuum line check.
  • Leaks in vacuum lines may look like symptoms of vacuum pump failure.

How it is done:

  • The faulty vacuum pump is found and identified
  • The valve vacuum pump is then taken out
  • The new vacuum pump is then mounted
  • The brakes are tested for proper vacuum pump function
  • The car is road tested and checked for proper vacuum pump and brakes operation


The vacuum pump, which is produced to last the life of your car, does not receive any maintenance and is only serviced when it fails. If you are seeing symptoms related to the vacuum system, have your car diagnosed by an expert mechanic.

What common signs indicate you may need to change the Vacuum Pump?

  • Heater controls don’t work properly
  • A hissing air sound is noticed
  • Brake pedal is very hard to depress

How vital is this service?

If the vacuum pump fails, your brakes may not work properly and vehicle operations gets unsafe. Have your vacuum pump changed immediately if it is diagnosed as faulty.