Diagnosing misfire, no-start, and rough idle conditions can be difficult, especially when you don’t have the right tools at your disposal. Sure, you can just throw parts at the problem until you get it right, but why waste time on repairs and money on parts that might not fix the car?
Fuel injected engines can be hard to diagnose at times. Fortunately, you’re not going to have to spend a fortune on the tools you need to get the problem figured out quickly. A good fuel pressure gauge kit and a little knowledge on how to use it will be all you need to diagnose fuel system problems.
Like any other tool in your garage, you aren’t going to want to buy the cheapest fuel pressure testing equipment you can find. Low quality gauges can leak and be inaccurate, which won’t help you diagnose a thing. Furthermore, leaking fuel can be a safety hazard. On the other hand, some brands want you to spend over $150.00 on their fuel pressure testers, and that is just ridiculous for a limited use item in the garage of a backyard mechanic.
So how do find a good quality gauge, at a good price? Lucky for you, we’ve had our hands on many fuel pressure gauges and have found what we believe to be the best.
The Best Fuel Pressure Tester
Finding the best fuel pressure tester wasn’t easy. Many brands share gauges that are rebranded in their own name. Some kits came with more fittings for different hook-up options, and some came with no fittings at all. Hose quality varied from automotive quality rubber to absolute junk that probably won’t last a year before cracking. Some products came in giant, blow molded plastic cases, while others came with no way to keep all the pieces of the kit together in one place. Of course, we factored the price in as well. While we will always pay more for high quality when we believe it is justified, we don’t believe in wasting money on tools, just for a brand name.
For our money, we believe the best fuel pressure tester is the Actron CP7838 Professional Fuel Pressure Tester. The quality, contents, accuracy, and price make this kit a great value buy, and a tool that we believe will provide many years of reliable service.
We’ll start with the gauge itself. The face measures 2.5”. We’ve always been a big fan of gauges with white backgrounds and large, easy to read measurements. The scale is 0-100PSI, or 0-700 kPa.
The gauge is encased in a rugged rubber protective cover to keep it safe if it gets dropped. The needle is secure on its post, and doesn’t rattle, jump or wander when fuel pressure is applied.
The pressure release button on the Actron unit works very well compared to many of the products we tested. The button is smooth and precise, which allows you to control the amount of pressure bled off. The button also makes taking fuel samples or measuring fuel flow very easy.
The kit includes fittings to connect to fuel injected systems found in most cars from the mid 1980’s through today. A bleed/fuel flow hose and hose clamps are also included. The kit comes with a nice pouch to keep all components of the kit together when not in use.
It is important to note that this pressure tester is not intended for carbureted or direct injected (DI) engines. For carbureted engines, see our pick for the best vacuum-pressure gauge. Direct injected engines will likely put out far too much fuel pressure for this kit and will damage or destroy the gauge.
We highly recommend the Actron CP78387 Professional Fuel Pressure Tester and believe that it offers the best quality and feature set without a high price tag. As far as where to buy, Amazon.com has a price that is pretty competitive. Overall, the Actron makes one of the best fuel pressure testers around and we think you’ll be highly satisfied. Happy wrenching!