11 Reasons Why a Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas: A Quick Fix

The most annoying thing about a car’s engine is that the car won’t start after getting gas at the gas station. In some conditions, your car may take more than multiple attempts to get started after adding the gas.

In the automobile world, it is considered embarrassing if your vehicle won’t start at the gas station after refueling. This article deeply explains the common reasons why your car won’t start after getting gas. How to fix if your car runs out of gas and won’t start after refueling?

Causes Why a Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

The vehicle must have sufficient fuel for optimum performance. There are various reasons for the poor performance of your car’s engine. One of the major causes, why a car won’t start after getting gas, is that your Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) valve remains open.

Car Won’t start after Getting Gas

Your car won’t start after getting gas due to one or more of the below-given causes:

1) Dead Battery

Your car won’t start after getting gas if your car battery is dead. In such a condition, the automobile won’t start because it won’t have the initial electricity according to its requirements. There are many symptoms that the battery is starting to run out of power. The typical automotive battery life span is between three and five years.

Bad Battery

Dim lights or issues with electrically driven accessories are the most common symptoms of a dead or faulty battery. To ensure the battery connection is robust, you should regularly check for corrosion at the battery’s electrodes and scrub it off with baking soda.

If your car’s battery has died, you may need to jump-start the battery. To jump-start the car, the positive (red) jumper cable is attached to the dead battery’s positive (red) terminal. This practice is usually done to keep the car moving. However, proper care must be done before jump-starting the battery because a spark could catch fire in the car, and there is a high risk of the car getting ablaze.

2) Faulty EVAP Purge Control Valve

An opened EVAP purge control valve is one of the most common causes your car won’t start after filling up with gas at the gas station.

Purge Valve

When you top off your car’s fuel tank, the air inside the fuel tank becomes compressed. As we know, fluids go from a higher-pressure zone to a lower-pressure region. As a result, the pressurized air in the tank moves from the fuel tank to the carburetor, where the air and fuel are mixed. This can be prevented if an EVAP purge control valve is functioning efficiently.

If this valve remains open, the air, along with some fraction of the fuel vapors gets combined with the air in the carburetor, which results in a higher fraction of fuel in the air-fuel mixture. This higher fraction of fuel in the air-fuel mixture prevents the engine from having combustion, as the minimum amount of air which is required for combustion would not be present.

Therefore, the purge valve should always function properly if an engine is to perform better.  

Also, you must ensure that the EVAP system is free of leaks and not clogged since these conditions might lead to the same problem as a faulty purge control valve.

3) Gas Cap Leaks

The gas cap is used to prevent gas leakage from the fuel tank. The gas cap plays a big role in starting the vehicle. It is hard to start the engine with a damaged or leaked gas cap. Therefore, check your gas cap if your car won’t start after getting gas.

However, it doesn’t mean that a car with an opened or damaged gas cap cannot start, but it will affect the engine’s performance in long driving.

Loose Fuel Cap

Your car engine may stall or stop its operation if the gas cap is loosely fitted for a long time. This is because the air-fuel ratio of the combustion mixture gets disturbed, which in turn, prevents your vehicle from operating even after getting the fuel from the fuel station.

Your vehicle dashboard contains multiple warning lights and symbols. The check engine light is also installed on the vehicle dashboard. When you don’t put the gas cap on the fuel tank, your check engine light starts illuminating.

In addition, a leaked gas cap is not environmentally friendly. An estimated figure is that a leaking gas cap can result in the wastage of 90 liters of fuel per year. Therefore, the gas cap should make sure that the gas cap is airtight after refilling the gas.

Read More: Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning Light Causes

4) Bad Starter Motor

If your vehicle has a bad starter, your car engine won’t start because the starter will not be able to transfer ample power to crank the engine.

Starter Motor

When you insert your car’s key in the ignition switch and rotate in a clockwise direction, the starter motor gets activated, which starts the engine. If your car has a bad start, you might hear an unusual noise (such as clinking, grinding, or whirring noise) when you try to rotate the key in the ignition switch.

With a faulty starter, there are a few helpful strategies we may employ to start the engine. To move it past a stop, you can try hitting on it. You might also attempt bump-starting the engine if your automobile has a manual transmission.

Read More: Bad Starter Motor Symptoms and Causes

5) Bad Fuel Pump

The fuel pump is one of the common causes your car won’t start after getting gas. To ensure the normal working temperature of the fuel pump, it is commonly submerged in the fuel tank. As a result of overheating from continuous operation, a fuel level that is too low may cause the pump to be damaged.

fuel pump

The fuel delivery from the fuel tank to the carburetor is highly dependent on the fuel pump. For the gasoline to be pumped properly, the fuel pump has to work efficiently.

There are several symptoms that warn the driver when the fuel pump efficiency becomes lower than the specified limit. If your engine sputters when you’re moving quickly or if you hear a droning sound coming from the fuel tank, it means there is something with your pump.

When your pump doesn’t properly deliver fuel to the engine, your car will be hard to start, or it won’t start at all.

You must use a pressure gauge to gauge the pressure in order to identify a broken fuel pump. Although it may seem simple, measuring the pressure is actually a difficult process since changing the fuel pump is equivalent to monitoring the pressure. 

Read More: Bad Fuel Sending Unit Symptoms and Causes

6) Damaged Fuel Filter

The fuel filters are used to prevent solid impurities from entering the engine. The main function of the fuel filter is to remove solid contaminants from the fuel. These solid impurities accumulate over time and clog the filter. If your car won’t start after refilling the fuel at the gas station, you should check your fuel filter.

fuel filter, why your car wont start after getting fuel

You can detect this failure before your fuel filter gets blocked by observing some other signs. One of the main symptoms of a faulty or clogged fuel filter is the poor performance of your engine in terms of fuel efficiency.

The engine will be unable to receive the sufficient gasoline required for combustion if the filter is completely clogged, leading to a no-start condition.

The majority of car assemblers and manufacturers advise in their owner’s manuals that the gasoline filter has to be replaced and examined as part of routine maintenance. According to the car manufacturer’s recommendation, the gasoline filter should be changed ideally every 20,000 to 30,000 miles.

7) Bad Alternator

The alternator is a major part of the vehicle. It ensures power delivery to all the components of your vehicle.

Faulty Alternator

The alternator is a component that keeps the battery charged while the engine is operating. The battery will automatically discharge if it has a problem. Therefore, if your car won’t start after refueling, you should check the alternator.

To examine the alternator’s performance or general condition, use a multimeter. Verify the battery voltage without running the engine by using a multimeter.

A voltage range of 12.5 volts to 12.8 volts is required to ensure that your alternator is working efficiently. You should get another reading to improve your testing under engine operational conditions. But this time, the voltages must be noticeably higher. If that is not the case, it is time to install a new alternator in place of the current one.

Read More: Why is Car Shaking?

8) Issues with Spark Plug

faulty Spark Plug

Spark plugs are used in petrol engines to start combustion by igniting the fuel-air mixture inside the combustion chamber. Your engine may misfire if the spark plug is dirty or polluted. In such a situation, it will be hard to start the engine.

Read More: Why Engine Oil is On Spark Plug?

9) Bad Charcoal Canister

The charcoal canister absorbs the fuel vapors emitted from the fuel tank that would otherwise move into the atmosphere resulting in pollution creation.

If your charcoal canister is bad or clogged with soot and dirt, the fuel vapors from the tank will not enter the canister. But all the fuel vapors will go back into the fuel tank, which may make it hard to refill the tank.

Charcoal Canister, why car wont start after getting gas

Therefore, if your charcoal canister is damaged, the unnecessary fraction of fuel vapors will flow by the purge control valve, due to which your car won’t start or will take multiple tries after getting gas. 

10) Spark Plug Wires and Connections

The spark plug wires are just as important for the combustion process as the spark plugs. These wires and the faulty ignition switch, circuit, and module may also lead to engine misfiring and ignition issues. If your car won’t start after getting gas, you should replace your spark plugs to fix the issue.

Read More: Service StabiliTrak Message Causes

11) Skipped Timing Belt

A timing belt or chain performs a vital role in power transmission. It synchronizes rotation between the crankshaft and the camshaft.

bad Timing Belt

A weary timing chain may skip a cog or two, leading to poor transmission of power. In the worst-case scenario, a faulty timing belt may result in power loss in the engine and can damage engine performance.

What to Do When My Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas?

If your car engine won’t start after getting gas, perform the following repairs:

  • Attempt to restart your engine; it might start now.
  • Open your car’s hood and inspect the battery connections. If they’re loose, secure them back in place.
  • Check the voltage of your battery. If it is completely drained, roll the car away from the fuel pump area and jump-start it.
  • Regardless of the issue, it’s crucial to relocate the vehicle. If you can perform additional diagnostics, ensure you’re in a safe location.
  • Inspect the spark plugs of your vehicle for a fault.
  • Inspect the fuel injection system of your vehicle and perform the necessary repairs.
  • Check the start motor for a fault. If it is bad, replace it.
  • Inspect the alternator and replace it if needed.
  • Check the timing components for an issue. If something is wrong with the timing parts, fix them promptly.
  • If you’re unable to identify the problem, arrange for a tow for the vehicle.

FAQ Section

Why does my car sputter after getting gas?

Your car sputters after getting gas as a result of using the wrong gasoline. Your gasoline system may have some issues, which is another factor. Sputtering can occur if fuel is forced into the carburetor as a result of a malfunctioning EVAP purge control valve.

Can bad gas make my car not start?

Yes, your car won’t start after getting bad gas. Failure to properly ignite the fuel in your car’s tank might leave residue on the engine cylinders. The engine cannot start because of this residue.

Why does my car shut off when I put gas in it?

This issue can be attributed to a number of causes. The most significant is the possibility of gasoline entering the carburetor due to a malfunctioning EVAP purge control valve.

What are the Symptoms of Bad Gas?

The symptoms of bad gas include incomplete combustion, difficulty starting up, rough idling, reduced fuel economy, and higher emissions.

What to do when the car won’t start after getting gas?

  • Try to start the engine again. Maybe this time, your car starts.
  • Inspect the battery and its connection for damage.
  • Fixing the timing belt issues.
  • Replacing the bad spark plug.
  • Replacing the bad charcoal canister.
  • Replacing the damaged spark plug wires.
  • Replacing the bad alternator.
  • Fixing the battery-related issues.
  • Replacing the bad fuel pump.
  • Replacing the damaged gas cap.
  • Replacing the bad starter
  • Replacing the faulty ignition switch
Read More

Leave a Comment