Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Why your car won’t start after filling with gas

The most common cause of a no-start after filling it with gas is a stuck open purge valve

A bad purge valve is the top cause of a no start after a fill up

If your vehicle has a faulty purge valve, filling it with gas will cause fuel vapors to get pushed into the engine, causing it to flood, resulting in a car won’t start condition.

image of new purge valve

The purge valve is located in the engine compartment of the vehicle.

A stuck open purge valve is the most common cause of a no start

To diagnose a bad purge valve, try starting the flooded engine by pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor and hold it there while cranking the engine. That will enable the “clear flood” mode in the ECM and stop adding fuel while cranking.

What to try to get your car started.

A stuck open purge valve causes fuel vapors to flood the engine during a fill up. If your car won’t start at the gas station, depress the gas pedal to the floor and try cranking the engine. That allows more air into the engine so it can clear the flood. If it still doesn’t start, release the gas pedal and try cranking again. It should start on the next try.

How to deal with a bad purge valve

You have two options here:
1) Replace the purge valve without doing any testing
2) Clamp off the purge valve hose between the tank and the purge valve before filling the tank. If the engine starts right up, you’ll know the purge valve is leaking vapor into the engine during fillup

What causes a purge valve to fail

A purge valve can fail simply because the solenoid fails, or due to a breach in the charcoal canister. When that happens, charcoal particles get sucked into the purge valve and clog it. If you remove the purge valve and find charcoal particles, the charcoal canister is damaged. The canister must be replaced and the lines flushed to clean out all the particles or they will damage the new purge valve.

©, 2020 Rick Muscoplat


Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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