6 Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas (Bonus Tips)

Car owners have experienced this issue regularly: the car won’t start even after filling the gas tank. Especially when you’re in a hurry to get to work or need it the most.

After beating your head against the wall, you call the mechanic, who tells you your fuel pump is damaged and needs replacement. Hence, you end up pouring money down the drain to get it fixed.

Apart from that, there are many other reasons for this issue. But don’t worry, because, in this article, we’ll help you find out why your car won’t start after getting gas and provide some tips to solve it.

So next time, you don’t have to call a mechanic and spend another 30 minutes at the gas station waiting for him to fix this snag. Without wasting time, let’s start.

Reasons: Why Your Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

car won't start after getting gas

So, why did your car have to ditch you amid something important? Your car may have trouble starting after getting gas because your car’s fuel pump is broken and does not take up fuel to start. 

However, that’s one of the most common reasons. There’s still a long list, like a dead battery, a lack of spark, etc. So, let’s discuss these reasons why your car won’t start after getting gas.

Dead Battery 

If your car won’t start after getting gas, it is a sign that your car’s battery is fully discharged or that one of the battery terminals has become loose or corroded. This situation often occurs when you buy a used car.

If your battery terminals are loose, your engine won’t get the necessary power to start, which is one of the reasons why you have trouble starting your car even with a full gas tank.

To solve this issue, try to retighten the battery terminals and check if it works; otherwise, replace the battery. Also, the average life of a car battery is about three to four years; after that, it is recommended to replace it.

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Damaged Fuel Pump 

The main purpose of the fuel pump is to provide sufficient fuel to the fuel injector to start your vehicle.

Always ensure that the fuel pump in your car runs at a cool temperature. If it overheats, it will damage, resulting in your vehicle not starting.

Consider checking on your fuel pump from time to time. Because swapping out the outdated fuel pump for a new one can help prevent the issue.

Clogged Fuel Filter 

The fuel filter is responsible for cleaning any debris or dirt from the fuel tank.

Because of a blockage brought on over time by dirt particles in a fuel filter, your car might not start after a gas fill-up. Your engine won’t get enough fuel to start once your fuel filter is completely blocked.

To prevent this issue from occurring, use top-quality fuel in your vehicle so that it runs smoothly.

When performing car maintenance, checking the fuel filter is essential; almost all auto manufacturers recommend doing so.

Note: Depending on the car model, you can change your car’s fuel filter between 15,000 and 100,000 miles or after two years.

Faulty Alternator

An alternator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. It consists of a rotor that rotates to generate alternating current (AC), which is then transformed into direct current (DC), used to charge batteries.

Sometimes replacing the battery is not the optimal solution because a faulty alternator can also be why the car won’t start.

Follow these steps to examine the alternator’s health:

  1. Get a multimeter first.
  1. Make sure the positive and negative terminals are both tidy and clean.
  1. Set your multimeter to more than 15 volts.
  1. Connect the alternator to the multimeter, and look for a reading of 12.6 volts as the ideal value.
  1. Start the car now, and check the voltage for readings between 14.2 and 14.7 volts.
  1. Ensure the reading doesn’t fall below 13 volts by turning on the lights, the radio, etc.
  1. Now turn off the vehicle and assess the reading. If the reading falls below 12.6, your alternator is defective and needs to be replaced.
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Lack of spark 

A spark plug ignites the air and fuel mixture inside the engine; if it is damaged or contaminated with dirt, oil, or carbon, it may cause trouble starting your car.

Due to a lack of spark, you may face symptoms like reduced engine power, decreased fuel economy, and difficulty starting your car’s engine.

If your spark plug is damaged by overheating, then replacing it is necessary.

Otherwise, cleaning the spark plug as part of regular maintenance is recommended to keep your car running smoothly.

Bad EVAP purge control valve 

The most common reason your car has trouble starting after getting gas is that its Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) is stuck open. When you refill your gas tank and the air inside the tank is pressurized, it needs some space to go.

If the valve is stuck open, it goes directly to the intake manifold, resulting in excessive fuel entering the combustion chamber. This is why the car won’t start after getting gas. 

The vapor canister purge control valve must be replaced to solve this issue effectively. Going through the air filter housing, releasing the vacuum hose clamp, removing the air intake tube from the throttle body, and loosening the fuel hose connected to the purge valve or canister vent valve are all necessary steps to gain access to it.

Use caution when performing this procedure because it can be challenging and sometimes results in the vacuum tubing getting torn.

What to Do If the Car Won’t Start After Filling Up With Gas

Sitting at the gas station and having trouble starting your car can be frustrating and embarrassing. But to make the best choices, it’s important that you maintain composure and sanity. Here are a few actions that could be useful to you.

  • Try starting the car again.
  • By opening the hood, you can see the battery connection. Try reconnecting the connections if they are insecure. 
  • Push the vehicle away from the fuel pump and jump-start it if the battery is dead. 
  • If you can perform additional diagnostics, take the car off the way first. It’s important to ensure the car doesn’t obstruct anyone or anything.
  • You must have the car towed if you cannot identify the problem.
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Conclusion 

A car not starting after getting gas could be due to several reasons. Common reasons include a clogged fuel filter, a damaged fuel pump, a faulty alternator, a lack of spark, a dead battery, and a bad EVAP purge control valve, which can prevent your car from starting.

Whatever the reason is, following the tips in this article, you can cope with each problem yourself. However, if you don’t have experience with mechanics, it’s advisable to seek the help of a professional mechanic.

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