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Fuel Pump Problems – Issues Refueling & How To Solve Them

BY: Alex Perrone
A man pumping gas.

Occasionally someone around the Endurance offices will talk about their own car troubles. Anything from a bad experience with a repair facility (we try to train everyone to be automotive experts here) or an experience with a breakdown, one that even our auto experts didn’t know how to deal with. In fact, one such issue was discussed recently and it had to deal with refueling. It turns out that the issue wasn’t just on one person’s vehicle, but that several of us were finding it difficult to fully refuel our cars.

Picture this scenario: when attempting to refuel the car, the nozzle of the pump keeps clicking off. It doesn’t matter that the car is not at a full tank, the nozzle will keep clicking off. Some of us have even tried keeping the nozzle at the lowest flow (the lowest notch), and yet the problem still persists. I myself have had to get the fuel pump replaced as per regular maintenance but it seems even that doesn’t affect the issue. So what is wrong with the car? Most likely, the cause is a faulty valve.

Check the Fuel Tank Ventilation System

car fuel cap

When cars were first being engineered it didn’t take long for people to realize that no human being is of with gasoline vapors escaping into the atmosphere (which leads to smog) or into their cabins (which is toxic). Thus cars now come with a specialized fuel tank ventilation system. So what exactly is the fuel tank ventilation system?

Whenever you have to fill up your car’s tank you need to push air out in order to create space for the new gasoline. That air being pushed out contains gasoline vapors, however. That is why there is a vent valve in the car’s tank to allow the air and vapors out and temporarily stored in a charcoal canister. When it comes time to turn on your engine, the vapors are then sucked back in to be combusted.

What to Do in the Event of a Faulty Vent Valve

car fueling

It’s the vent valve that is meant to automatically push air in and out of the tank. If it stops working that is what creates a problem when refueling. So if you have a faulty vent valve, every time you try to refuel, the air the valve is supposed to expel goes back up to the filler neck. That sets off the pressure switch that tells the pump your car is full and shuts off the fuel flow.

Taking your car to a mechanic is the best thing to do in case of a faulty vent valve. They will test your car’s vent valve. Should they find this to be the issue preventing you from refueling correctly, they can repair or replace it. According to RepairPal, the repair or replacement of a vent valve is on average about $100. Some vehicle service contracts or warranties may even cover this component.

Getting your car refueled is arguably the most important thing, after all, it’s impossible to drive on an empty tank. More than that, the vent valve is a safety measure to lower emissions output. It is the key for internal combustion engines. You need to have a proper vent valve in your car’s fuel system.

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