Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas (Causes & Solutions)

Are you in a situation where your car won’t start after getting gas? Are you wondering what might have caused it and how to fix it?

Then, worry no more because you are about to get the answers and solution you need.

There are many reasons why your car won’t start after getting gas. The reason could be a result of a bad battery or alternator or even the starter.

This article will discuss the above reasons and highlight more reasons why your car won’t start after getting gas and how to fix this issue.

For a vehicle to start, there are lots of components that have to work effectively. Failure of one to function correctly may lead to a car failing to start.

Reasons a Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

Reasons a Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

1. Dead or Corroded Battery

Batteries that have expired are corroded with no terminals or are discharged may be why your car won’t start after getting gas.

Unfortunately, people tend to forget the battery’s shelf life, especially when purchasing a fairly used vehicle. Most owners become aware of a battery’s usable life only when there are issues with it holding a charge or cases of hard starting.

When the lights are left on for a long time, and the battery gets discharged completely, this may drop voltage.

Total discharge of the battery is bad because an utterly empty battery will prevent the rollover of the engine, and the alternator starts charging it.

Also, searching for another vehicle to jumpstart the car on the road may be stressful.

The average lifespan of a battery falls between 3 and 6 years. Therefore, battery boosting and examining the vehicle’s alternator to know if the charge level is above 12V will enable you to rule out every form of suspicion about the battery being responsible for hard starting even after getting gasoline.

This testing produces two results: the battery is dead, the alternator is faulty, or the battery is in good condition, and there will be no need for replacement.

Also Read: How To Charge A Car Battery Without A Charger (6 Best Ways)

2. Broken Alternator

After testing the battery and no faults are found, the next suspect is usually the alternator.

The alternator is the car’s charging system; it is responsible for generating electricity and storing excess electricity in the battery, making sure the engine fires up anytime you want it to.

In addition, it is responsible for powering the windshield wipers, window defrosters, headlights, heater, heated seats, and radio.

It would help if you did not hastily conclude that the drained battery is linked to a faulty alternator. But, first, you have to check out for slipping or worn accessory drive belts.

If the battery is not charging or the alternator is malfunctioning. Look out for dimmed headlights, warning lights, and slow crank start because they signify poor output by the alternator.

Your vehicle’s model and brand may or may not include an alternator gauge in the instrument panel. Testing the alternator with an appropriate gauge is advised to know if the volt is approximately 14.

3. Bad Starter Motor or Circuit

As the name implies, the starter motor enables your engine to turn over and fire.

However, when you turn your car keys during the ignition process, clicking sounds indicate the starter motor has some problems, and the sounds make these problems very easy to detect, unlike the other items on the list.

For example, because the vehicle’s battery supplies the power needed by the starter motor to ignite an engine, it may portray signs of the battery getting weak.

In addition, the ignition switch or alternator may be faulty if the car’s starter doesn’t turn at all.

A click or multiple clicks means the starter motor and the flywheel are not engaging during the engine’s cranking. This may be because the flywheel or drive gear has lost its teeth.

Your car won’t start after getting gas if the starter is bad. If you notice a bad stater on your vehicle, a starter replacement, which costs between $50 to$350, is recommended.

4. Lack of Spark in the Engine

Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

Another reason your car won’t start after getting gas is the lack of spark on the engine. Spark plugs ignite fuel in the engine and a mixture of air and fuel.

The sparks may not be timed properly, or the plugs may not be working properly, resulting in misfiring and the engine’s inability to operate.

However, the absence of sparks might not be caused by faulty sparks only. Worn electrodes, cracked porcelain, flooded engine, insulators, and issues with the circuit, switch, or ignition module are also possible causes.

Also, plugs efficiency reduces with age. Proper arc of ignition coil or spark plugs wire can be tested using variable spark testers that can examine 10KV, 30KV 40KV sparks. Check visually for moisture, carbon traces, looseness, cracks, or other damage on the vehicle’s distributor cap.

Ensure all cylinders fire with the proper timing using the timing light. This helps in identifying any timing system malfunction.

If you believe the problem is not caused by spark plugs but is caused by engine flooding ( this is characterized by fuel smell underneath the bonnet), take out the plugs, let them dry, reinstall back, and try starting and see if it ultimately turns over.

If the car still doesn’t start and other components show no issues, take the vehicle to your mechanic.

5. Faulty Key Fob

A faulty Key Fob is another reason your car won’t start after getting gas. Key fobs pose threats to drivers, mostly when they unexpectedly go out.

A key fob battery replacement is easy to do. However, the story changes when it gets missing. And technical things such as resolving trouble codes and using the services of a locksmith might be involved if you want your engine to run correctly without just replacing the battery.

6. Blocked Fuel Filters/Injectors

Blocked Fuel Filters/Injectors are another reason why your car won’t start after getting gas.

If the engine fails to start completely, you may have to look at other factors on this list. Whereas if the engine starts momentarily and then goes off, it may be because the fuel cannot get to the cylinders.

Various factors could be responsible for this, such as debris in the tank, which forms engine sludge; this, in turn, prevents fuel pressure from increasing.

Driving until the fuel tank becomes empty also clogs the fuel filter. As soon as the ignition Is turned on, if the engine reacts badly, there will be a need to examine the fuel delivery system of your vehicle.

The fuel line that goes to the injectors should have a Schrader valve for fuel-injected vehicles. Using a screwdriver after the ignition is turned on and the fuel line is primed, a quick test can be conducted to determine why the car is not starting through this valve.

When the valves are pressed, fuel should be released. No fuel or drops of fuel will help identify fuel pressure regulators, filters/injectors, or fuel pump issues.

Furthermore, the fuel pressure can be compared with the manufacturer’s specifications, and the nod light can be used to examine if the injectors receive pulse signals from the computer. This will enable you to know the root of the problem.

7. Faulty Fuel Pump

Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

When a vehicle is operated with a fuel-injected engine, it requires the correct fuel pressure, which is achieved by the fuel pump.

It aids fuel movement into your engine combustion chamber from the tank and keeps running whenever the engine runs, even when the vehicle idles.

Mileage is higher in the pump than in your car. Hence, there are chances of failure with time. Even when the gas tank is overfilled, it may not start if the fuel pumps are weakened or damaged.

Most drivers pay attention to any sound or buzz minutes after starting the car. If nothing is heard inside the car, the fuel pump is assumed to be faulty.

There may be some elements of truth in this, but at the same time, not all cars have a detectable or inside-the-tank buzz. Some other vehicles’ fuel pumps flow only when the car is cranking.

The ‘listening for a buzz’ method is difficult considering these two instances. Detecting and repairing a broken fuel pump is mainly the job of professionals.

Note: The inertia switch is present in some cars, such as the Ford models. Once the vehicle is involved in an accident, this switch cuts off fuel pump power, avoiding any fire outbreak. If this is on your steering wheel, you can press the button if you feel it was activated by mistake. This will enable your vehicle to start up.

Also Read: Fuel Pump Replacement Cost

8. Jumped or Skipped Timing Belt

A timing chain/belt integrates rotation between the crankshaft and camshaft. As with any component, it is prone to damage or wear after prolonged use.

Air leakage may be caused by worn belts, which may miss a gear or two, causing poor or no combustion. If the belt is not timed, it may cause severe damage to the engine.

It’s pretty easy to remove the timing cover and examine the condition of the chain or belt in some cars, but it’s not so easy in some other vehicles.

Some level of proficiency is needed to replace a bad timing belt due to its setup. The simple part is examining the compression pressure, the leak-down test, and a borescope to check the valves and piston.

The tricky part includes fixing the timing belt in the correct position after everything.

Note: Air leak can occur in the following areas, an intake manifold gasket, blown head, power booster vacuum hose, and another vacuum hose.

9. Faulty Purge Valve

The purge valve is among the components of the car’s evaporative emissions system, and this aids in lowering the temperature of the engine and other toxic emissions.

This valve stores poisonous vapor until it burns in the intake manifold by storing it in a canister. As a result, surplus emissions go into the power mill when the valve is opened, leading to the engine’s flooding even before it ignites.

When this occurs, there will be a need to apply less pressure on the gas pedal, opening the throttle body and enabling more air needed for combustion.

The replacement of the vapor canister purge valve is the best solution to the problem.

Other Things to Check if Your  Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas.

Other To Check if Your  Car Won't Start After Getting Gas

Here are other things worth checking if your car won’t start after getting gas:

1. Fuel Lines

Using fuel with no ethanol has disadvantages; the fuel lines may freeze in freezing periods.

However, the issue can be rectified by adding Iso-Heet into the fuel tank, and the tank is kept half full.

Water icicle formation can also be prevented in the tank if the fuel is free from water contamination.

2. Air Filter

When the air filter is clogged with debris, airflow into the car is reduced, eventually hindering combustion and sparks.

Therefore, checking and replacement of air filters when whey your car won’t start after getting gas is recommended.

3. Ignition Cylinder

The ignition cylinder most times sticks and stops the turning over of the engine. To confirm this, take off the cylinder, examine it, and see if it turns by itself.

Replace it if it does not. Else replacement will be done for both the ignition cylinder and steering column.

Remember to link your keys and cylinders to your car’s security system.

4. Fuse

the ECM or fuel injection may no longer work effectively if the fuse blows. This can also cause the inability of the vehicle to start.

The spoilt ones or the ones to be replaced can be easily known when you examine the fuss wiring when the car is off.

5. Ignition Key or Switch

People forget quickly that the vehicle ignition key, electrical contacts, etc. wear out quickly and can no longer be used with time.

Primarily for vehicles that use vital for the boot and doors. if your car won’t start after getting gas, check the ignition switch or key

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

If your car won’t start after getting gas, It can be even more embarrassing and frustrating when someone else is in the car with you.

Unfortunately, this is something that we probably all have experienced.

The important thing to remember when this happens is to be positive and stay calm to make the right decision because you don’t really want a meltdown as a result of being stuck at the gas pump.

The following steps will help you handle the problem and get your car started again.

  1. Restart the car engine again; possibly, it will start this time.
  2. Examine the battery connection under the hood. You may need to reconnect the connections if they are not secure.
  3. In case of a dead battery, you might need to jumpstart the car but first, start by rolling it away from the fuel pump.
  4. Either way, you need to move your vehicle now. As soon as you are able to do further diagnostics, do it but ensure that you are no longer on the road.
  5. Unless you can figure out the problem with your vehicle, you must have it towed.

If you don’t know how to deal with the issue, you may consider reaching out to a professional mechanic for help.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew, or else you run the risk of making mistakes that could create even bigger problems than what you started with.

Check out this video for a quick fix if your car won’t start after getting gas

Frequently Asked Questions – Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas

Why Does My Car Hesitate to Start After I Put Gas in It?

If your car won’t start after getting gas, the most common reason is because the EVAP purge control valve is stuck open. This lets fuel vapor gets pushed into the intake manifold. The problem can also be caused by a defective battery, clogged fuel filter, or bad fuel pump.

Can Too Much Fuel Cause a Stall?

Stalling can be caused by over-fueling. This is because spark plugs get wet by over-fueling and cannot cause fuel ignition in the cylinder. Instead, the engine may stall due to a misfire caused by this. Over-fueling can also be caused by bad timing and bad fuel injectors.

How Do You Start a Car With a Bad Fuel Pump?

Leaving the vehicle’s engine to cool may be the best way to ignite a car with a faulty fuel pump. The cooling effect allows resetting of the gas pump without much force. It is advisable to leave your engine at a minimal temperature, not too hot, and not too relaxed.

Can a Weak Battery Cause a Fuel Pump Not to Work?

A low battery level can cause slow running of the fuel pump. It leads to reduced fuel pressure and minor fuel condition. In addition, the injectors may not open due to low battery, and this may cause hard starting or lean misfire.

Scott Greene is a seasoned automotive technician for over 5 years and has been deep into advanced automotive diagnostics for a couple of years. He Loves writing about Automotive Diagnostics and Repair, Trouble codes, Buyer guides for various car parts and accessories, and lots more. 

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