Car won’t start after getting gas – cause and fix
Identify the common reasons why your car may refuse to start after refueling.
One of the greatest inconveniences that you can live through with your car is when it doesn’t start properly. If your car won’t start after getting gas, it’s inconvenient for several reasons, and you might be stuck on the gas pump for a few minutes.
Luckily, our team has figured out a way you can diagnose the issue and prevent this from ever happening again. There are several reasons why your car won’t start right after getting fuel, and we’ll discuss them all and offer you a solution.
Reasons why your car won’t start after getting fuel
Getting to the bottom of why your car won’t start after visiting the gas station is a bit tougher than with electrical issues. While you can jumpstart a car with a bad alternator or drained battery, in this case, you should be able to start but always after at least a minute of cranking.
It’s bad for your engine as well, and the starting noise will continue for a while as the engine struggles to start. So, what’s the reason behind this weird and uncommon situation? Our team dug deeper into the subject, and here’s a list of the most common triggers:
- Clog in the fuel filter
- Fuel pump malfunction
- Purge control valve issues
- Drained battery
Sometimes, it can be something as simple as forgetting to close the fuel cap after refilling the gas. While it won’t cause your engine to struggle to start immediately, if you keep doing this in the long run, it might be the result.
Closing the fuel cap is important since it holds all the gases within the fuel chamber, and it provides a bit of extra pressure when it comes to combustion. Even your car’s dashboard might show you a sign that you are forgetting to close the cap.
It’s often in form of the blinking “check engine” lamp, and it’s always better to check if you’ve closed the cap first. That way at least you won’t have to go through the stress in case the engine lamp starts glowing, and you’ll know that it does not prevent your engine to start.
Clogged fuel filter
If you have a clogged fuel filter, it can be the trigger behind your struggles to start the engine after visiting a gas station. Your fuel filter serves a vital role in filtering all the dirt from the fuel before it gets injected into combustion chambers.
Of course, all the debris must be filtered before the combustion happens, so you need to keep this component well serviced. In case the filter just gets clogged by dirt and debris, it won’t be able to do its job properly, and your engine will start to misfire and have uneven acceleration and raises in the revs.
Eventually, it will also lead to your car not starting after getting gas, and it’s a big deal since it could lead to further issues with the engine. Not being able to start the car is the main sign of a clogged fuel filter, and you’ll also notice a great change in fuel consumption. In case that’s the problem, you might have to replace the fuel filter to be able to properly start your engine after getting fuel.
What does a fuel pump malfunction look like?
A fuel pump malfunction is yet another common reason why you can’t start the engine properly after getting gas. The fuel pump is responsible for pushing the gas from the tank into the engine’s combustion system.
If you often wait for the tank to be nearly empty before fueling up, it might cause a fuel pump malfunction. This later relates to the engine performance and might even result in an inability to start regularly. The fuel pump is cooled by the fuel in the tank, and as soon as you empty the reservoir and get warm gas, the pump will struggle to work properly.
You’ll suffer the loss of power, poor gas mileage, and most importantly – trouble starting after getting gas. So, if the issue keeps repeating itself, try to replace the fuel pump. It works together with the fuel filter and these two components are often the root cause of the issue.
Purge control valve issues
Your EVAP purge control valve is among the most common reasons why your car struggles to start at the gas station. The valve has an important role and it’s closed when your engine isn’t working. As you fuel the car, the valve should lead the vapor from the canister into the engine chambers.
However, the EVAP purge control valve can be stuck open, causing big trouble for the engine to start. It mostly happens when there’s too much pressure from overfilling the fuel tank, and that pressure ends up damaging the purge control valve.
So, if the valve is stuck open, too much gas will be pushed into the intake manifold, and it will cause those cranking sounds that you keep hearing from the engine.
It can’t hurt to check the battery
Of course, most of these issues are closely related to the fuel system and the engine valves, but what if you have a bad battery? It can just be a coincidence that the engine won’t start after filling up the reservoir.
If you have a battery discharge, the electric capacity will drain until it reaches the point where the engine won’t start. So, it’s always possible when you take a short drive since the alternator doesn’t have enough time to properly charge the battery.
That short drive can be the one to the gas station, so it could be the cause of the struggle to start the car after refilling fuel.
What to do if the engine won’t start after getting gas?
If your engine won’t start after getting gas, you should remove the key and put it into ignition once again after a minute. If it doesn’t work, try adding the gas slightly to raise the revs, and you might feel a bit of pressure under the gas pedal until the engine starts.
Still, it’s not safe for the engine to keep doing this, so you should check all the listed reasons why your car might not start. It’s best to head straight to the mechanic to replace the EVAP valve, or components of the fuel system before it starts having a bad influence on your engine.
Ultimately, if your car won’t start after getting gas, it might lead to a much more serious issue with the engine. Fuel pump issues and fuel filter issues can especially affect your driving performance, as well as the functionality of your engine overall.
So, it’s best to try and diagnose the issue and replace the faulty valve or pump before it grows into a bigger problem.