Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas: Causes and Quick Fixes

Car won’t start after getting gas is frustrating, especially if you have an urgent outing that requires driving. Sometimes, this may be a minor issue, such as issues with the battery connection or something more severe.

Car Won_t Start After Getting Gas

Do not worry, as this article gives you a detailed overview of the reasons your car refuses to start after fueling. We also provide you with solutions and helpful fixes, among other necessary information regarding this dilemma.

What Are the Reasons Your Car Won’t Start After Refueling?

The reasons your car won’t start after refueling are likely linked to the fuel pumping system. However, it could arise from issues with the ignition system, a battery-related problem, or a clogged fuel filter. Vapor lock is another potential cause, especially if the car performs well before fueling.

Let’s get into a more detailed review of the potential reasons your car has refused to start after getting gas.

  • Fuel Pump Issues

Issues with the fuel pump are a typical reason why your car won’t start after getting fuel. The pump generates pressure in the gas tank required to move gas into the engine. Therefore, when it is faulty, the engine won’t receive enough fuel and chemical energy to power the vehicle.

The fuel pump could reach high temperatures when driving exceptionally long distances. However, as it pumps fuel from the tank, the fresh gas helps to cool down the pump. So, when there is insufficient fuel to cool the pump, it may overheat and lose its functionality.

So, when next you refill gas, it may cause a drastic temperature drop that completely breaks the fuel pump. This is then noticed as the car not starting, even though you just filled your car with gas. Still, after a few attempts, it might finally be able to suction enough fuel into the engine, but you know it is already compromised.

  • Malfunctioning Ignition System

The ignition system comprises the ignition switch, spark plug, and ignition coil. Fault with any of these components may cause the car not to start even when there’s fuel. The car ignition system is just like the on and off switch, so you cannot kick start the vehicle when it is faulty. Diagnosing this problem may be challenging, requiring an expert’s help and repairing and correcting the fault.

  • Battery-related Faults

Even if every component of your car is in optimum condition, except the battery, the vehicle will not start. The battery is crucial for providing the electrical charges required for powering the car. That said, an already weakened battery may collapse after fueling. This seems coincidental, but it happens.

Therefore, when a car refuses to start after refueling, drivers that know their battery is already approaching the end of its lifespan are always quick to check the battery connections. Also, a loose or corroded battery terminal may prevent it from generating enough current for the car’s needs. Jump-starting the car is a quick fix to fix battery-related issues temporarily.
  • Vapor Lock

When feeling your car, a rapid fuel pressure build-up causes what we describe as a vapor lock. The fuel creates some thick vapor that hinders the fuel from reaching the engine components. This is rare but likely to happen when there is poor ventilation in your car fueling system.

Reasons Your Car Won_t Start After Refueling

However, it’s a minor issue that resolves itself as soon as the high pressure causing the vapor lock subsides. Therefore, after a few tries to start the car or wait a few minutes, the vehicle is ready to move again. Then, you know it’s possible a vapor lock that prevents it from initially starting.

  • Faulty EVAP System

The EVAP – evaporative emission control system controls and regulates your car’s emissions. It takes charge of fuel vapor and stores it in the charcoal canister, then the purge control valve, a critical component of the EVAP system, takes this vapor to the engine vacuum.

However, should the purge valve fail to perform its function, that is, it is in an open state, the vapor will move straight into the engine. This alters the air-fuel mixture, with excess fuel and little oxygen required for adequate combustion. You notice this as the car refuses to start, even though you just topped up the fuel.

  • Blocked Fuel Filter

As the name indicates, the fuel filter helps filter the fuel in the gas tank, preventing dirt and contaminants from reaching the car engine. However, the debris may accumulate over time and clog the filter, preventing even fuel from passing through. This issue only happens after some time. If you understand, the car will give you some signals you will notice.

Blocked Car Fuel Filter

Typical signs and symptoms of clogged fuel filters are poor fuel efficiency and the car running lean. So when you miss or ignore those signs, it can result in the filter being completely blocked. Therefore, even after filling your car with gas, it won’t start, as the fuel can’t get to the engine compartment.

  • Bad Alternator

The alternator is another typical suspect in this car issue, considering its function is battery-related. The alternator works to generate current and store electric power in your battery for future use. It powers your car’s electrical and charging components, including the headlights, heater, entertainment system, etc.

When the alternator fails the function, the battery doesn’t get recharged. After a while, the battery dies out. And you’d agree that if the battery has no power, the vehicle won’t function, even with fuel.

  • Faulty Spark Plugs

As you would already know, the spark plugs create the spark that promotes the combustion of the gas-air mixture. Without the spark, there are issues with the combustion. These issues may present as an engine misfire. In the worst cases, bad spark plugs may prevent the car from starting.

  • Bad Starter Motor

As the name suggests, the starter motor or circuit helps activate the engine upon ignition. When the starter motor fails to function, you won’t be able to fire the engine. You’d only notice clicking sounds as you try to start your car. Many often make the mistake of thinking it’s the engine at fault in this situation, considering it helps supply energy to power the vehicle.

How To Fix Your Car Not Starting Even After Refueling?

To fix your car not starting even after fueling involves addressing the problem, such as replacing the defective ignition system, faulty alternator, getting a new battery, etc. Most of these car issues require just a simple fix. However, you can consult your mechanic if you dislike getting your hands dirty.

Below is a detailed overview of the solutions to this car issue.

Replace the Defective Fuel Pump

There is little you can do regarding repairs of a faulty fuel pump. Most times, you have to replace it with a new one. Moreover, it’s better to get a new one that will serve you longer than attempting to repair or troubleshoot. A repaired fuel pump will probably lose its function again after a while.

  • Replace Faulty Ignition Components

As we mentioned earlier, the ignition system consists of various components. Only a specific part may be defective. Therefore, you may only need to replace part of the ignition but just the faulty part. Again, getting your mechanic to troubleshoot and resolve the ignition issue is in your best interest, as identifying the defective component may be more tasking than you bargained for.

  • Fix Battery Issue

Again, as mentioned earlier, your car needs the battery in optimum condition to provide enough energy to power the engine. Whether the alternator or your battery is dying out, either may affect your car’s function. You can check through your battery terminal for corrosion or looseness. If you notice either of these, you should replace the terminal.

Fix Your Car Not Starting Even After Refueling

Using another battery with a jumper cable is also effective, as this helps to jump-start your car. However, if the battery is dying out, you should get a new one. If you think the alternator is defective, consult your mechanic to help you fix the issue.

  • Clean or Replace Dirty Fuel Filter

To do this, ensure your car is well parked, then switch off the ignition. The next thing to do is open the hood and locate the fuel filter. Carefully remove the filter, then rinse in a water mixture with mild soap to remove the debris and contaminants.

Also, you may replace it, especially if it has served for a long time. Generally, we recommend replacing filters annually or after every mileage of 10,000 miles. This will even prove effective for preventing this issue caused by blocked filters.

  • Rectify Work Spark Plugs

Like the air filters, take the same precautions, and open the car hood to access the plugs. If you discover it’s loose, tighten it with a torque wrench. However, if you notice it is damaged or broken, replace it with a new one.

  • Replace Faulty EVAP Purge Control Valve

As mentioned earlier, the purge valve is a critical component of the EVAP system. Therefore, fixing the valve may prove effective for rectifying this car issue. To replace the valve, switch off your car, then pop the hood. Next, locate the canister purge valve, then disconnect the engine vacuum hose.

Afterward, disconnect the air intake valve and remove the harness from the purge valve. Now, you can replace the faulty purge valve with a new one but remember to replace all previous components you detached.


– Can Bad Fuel Prevent Your Car From Starting?

Yes, bad fuel can prevent your car from starting. Bad gas won’t undergo complete combustion, leaving soot and sticky residue in your engines or obstructing fuel lines. If you continue to use such gas, it may cause your car to misfire or even result in more severe issues.

If you suspect you have faulty fuel, visit a reputable auto shop, where they will help examine whether the gas is genuine. It’s better to confirm this than to continue using dirty fuel.

– How Long Should You Wait if Your Car Doesn’t Start After Fueling?

If your car doesn’t start after refueling, you should wait for five to seven minutes before attempting to restart the vehicle, as the issue may arise from the vapor lock. After a while, the car can overcome this lock caused by pressurized fumes, then the car starts to function correctly.

– How Do You Know Your Fuel Pump is Malfunctioning?

You know your fuel pump is malfunctioning when your car refuses to start in time after you attempt to turn on the ignition. Also, the car sputters and may suddenly die while driving. Other signs include reduced gas mileage and whining sounds, especially at the rear.

Car Won_t Start After Getting Gas Details

Could a Gas Smell When Starting the Car Be Causing It to Not Start?

If your car smells like gas when starting it, there could be a potential issue causing it to not start. A strong odor of gas could indicate a problem with the fuel system, such as a leaking fuel injector or a flooded engine. It is crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent any further damage or potential safety hazards.


Thus far, we have examined the causes of why your car has refused to start even after fueling. Without much ado,

let’s briefly go over all the article entails.

  • The usual suspects when your car refuses to start include faults with the fuel pump, ignition system, spark plug, dead battery, etc.
  • Indeed, all the issues may seem unique, but either is necessary for optimum car function. And when not optimized, they may prevent your car from working
  • When your car refuses to start, sorting out either of the issues is a quick way to rectify the solution. For example, get a new one if it’s a defective battery.
  • Using bad fuel for extended periods may prevent your car from functioning, as they release residues that block fuel passage or have more damaging effects.
  • Also, sometimes all your car requires is to wait for a while. When refueling your tank, pressure builds up rapidly and can cause a vapor lock that prevents the vehicle from starting.

Ensuring routine maintenance practices may help prevent this issue if your car fails to function after refueling.

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