What can be more annoying, a faulty car or a car that does not start? Especially when you have quenched its thirst for fuel, there should be no reason why it won’t start. If you are unfortunate enough to experience this irritating situation, this article is heaven-sent for you. Usually, a Car won’t start after getting gas when spark, fuel, and air are delivered disproportionately to the engine. Several reasons are responsible for this; a clogged fuel/air filter, a leaking valve, or a bad ignition coil. Moreover, the problem can be due to a faulty system component or wire connector.
In order to get compression, fuel delivery, and ignition, all parts of your engine should be in a healthy condition and functional. Otherwise, it creates a domino effect that also plagues other components of the system. That is why it is imperative to stick to proper care and scheduled maintenance for your vehicle. Read this article till the end to diagnose the problem and find a respective cure.
Causes Why Your Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas
The primary reason your Car won’t start after getting gas is your vehicle’s open EVAP purge control valve. This will vaporize the fuel, which pushes the latter into the intake manifold. Furthermore, several other reasons, like a bad fuel pump, a clogged fuel filter, and a rotten battery, can also cause this problem. Let’s have a more penetrating glance at these reasons.
1: Corroded or Dead Battery
A battery that has corroded/lost terminals or is expired or discharged can give birth to this problem. Especially when you buy a secondhand car, it is quite common to forget about the battery’s shelf life. Habits that can result in a voltage drop are, running the battery completely empty and leaving the lights on for a long period of time. Don’t do the former because an empty battery will not let your alternator start charging and roll over your engine.
Besides that, looking for another vehicle that takes you over in the middle of the road can be troublesome. As far as standard battery life is concerned, it is between 3 and 6 years. If the battery is the real culprit, boost the battery and test the alternator to see whether it charges at more than 12V. Doing this would hit two birds with one stone since the problem is a dysfunctional alternator or dead battery.
2: Stuck Purge Control Valve
An exhaust gas recirculation, commonly known as a purge valve, lowers the engine’s temperature and abates harmful emissions. Generally, it contains harmful fuel vapor until it pushes into the intake manifold for burning. In case the valve is open, the excessive emissions accumulate inside the power mill, resulting in engine flooding before start-up. If an open valve is a problem, depress the gas paddle to open up the throttle body and bring extra air for combustion.
However, replacing the vapor canister purge control valve is the best solution. In order to do this, you must visit an air filter housing, untighten the vacuum hose clamp, remove the air intake tube from the throttle body, and loosen the fuel hose connected to the canister vent valve or purge valve.
3: Skipped or Jumped Timing Belt
Theoretically, a timing chain/belt sync rotation between the crankshaft and camshaft. But it is subject to damage after tons of mileage or over time, very much like other components. A damaged belt may skip cogs and cause an air leak, which leads to non-existent or poor combustion. In the worst-case scenario, a worn-out belt can cause engine damage, necessitating the entire power mill to be replaced.
It is easy in some vehicles to visually inspect the chain/belt condition and remove the timing cover. Otherwise is true for most cars. Because of the top-quality work needed, changing the bad timing belt requires sufficient skills and expertise. Inspecting the valves and pistons, checking compression pressure, and performing a leak-down test are easy. However, reinstating the belt in the correct position is not always convenient and easy.
4: Restricted Fuel Injectors/Filters
Diagnosing this problem primarily depends on the symptoms that accompany the former. If your engine starts up momentarily before dying, a clogged fuel filter can cause this problem. Several factors can be responsible for this annoyance; debris collected in the tank and making the engine sludge. Moreover, running your car to empty can also contribute to restricted fuel injectors. You must also check other parts of the fuel delivery system, depending on how your engine reacts.
5: Damaged Fuel Pump
Appropriate fuel pressure is essential for your vehicle to start, especially when it possesses a fuel-injected engine. A fuel pump makes this possible. In addition to keeping the fuel moving from the tank to the combustion chamber of your engine, the fuel pump continuously runs any time the engine is functioning. As compared to the car, the pump has more mileage. Therefore, it is also vulnerable to failure. And in case it gets damaged or weakens, your car stops running because nothing is left to run on. That is the reason your car does not start if its tank is filled. Some users would sputter a short, listen for a buzz, or “ear out” while turning on the ignition. If they do not hear something inside the vehicle, the same users think the fuel pump is dead.
6: Unaddressed Trouble Codes
Modern-day cars come with a computer that controls multiple actuators and sensors. It also ensures your vehicle starts. If these sensors get insufficient or incorrect input, they don’t let your engine start. In case the check engine light does not get on, look for trouble codes. Following are position sensors whose trouble codes you must seek:
- Camshaft Position Sensor (CPS)
- Crankshaft Position Sensor (CKP)
- Throttle Position Sensor (TPS)
- Mass Airflow (MAF)
- Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT)
- The Manifold Absolute Pressure (MAP)
7: Non-Functional Key Fob
Although starting devices and proximity keys have eased to start of vehicles, they are also major reasons your car does not start after getting gas. Further, they also cause havoc for customers, especially when they go out unexpectedly in dire conditions. It is quite easy to replace the key fob. However, if troubleshooting requires more than just replacing the key fob, it can be pretty tedious and challenging, like resolving computer codes.
8: Lack of Spark
The spark plug ignites the fuel and air-fuel mixture in your car. Lack of a timed spark or a properly working plug, your car becomes not only inoperable but also suffers from engine misfiring. But keep in mind rotten spark plugs are not the only wrongdoers for the lack of spark. Besides that, a flooded engine, worn electrodes, cracked porcelain insulators, and problems with the switch, circuit, or ignition module are also to blame. With age degrades plus as well.
9: Bad Starter Circuit or Motor
As the name of the starter motor suggests, it helps turn the engine of your car and gives it fire. Of all the problems discussed above, it is probably the easiest to diagnose. A clicking sound when you turn the keys in the ignition also accompanies this problem. Your car battery provides the starter motor power to start the engine. So, you may be erroneous about the weak battery. If it does not turn altogether, it may have a solenoid or short relay, or the ignition switch may be defective.
While cranking the engine, you may hear a series of clicks or click, indicating the starter motor is not engaging with the flywheel. Loss of teeth on your engine’s flywheel or starter’s drive gear can be responsible for this occurrence.
10: Faulty Security System
Depending on your car, it may come with an engine immobilizer, which is part of its anti-theft security system. If the chips of the system fail or the system becomes faulty, it can disable your vehicle’s ignition or fuel system. If you don’t know how to meet this situation, a security warning on the dash can greatly help you.
Moreover, a diagnostic scan can also help you get specific trouble codes. This way, you can reach the bottom of the problem. The manual can be a bible at this point. However, you need proper tools and equipment in your garage if you want to resolve security issues. Otherwise, you can get assistance from the nearest dealer.
Other Components Worth Checking
In addition to the above list, check the below-given parts of your vehicle to find out the real cause of the problem.
- Fuel lines
- Cold injector
- Air filter
- Ignition cylinder
- PRNDL shifter
- Ignition switch or key
Curing the Problem
Surely it is embarrassing and overwhelming to experience trouble with your car on the way or at the gas pump. Pertinent, you must stay cool to find the best solution. The followings are a few tips that can be handy:
- Restart the engine. It may work this time.
- Get your vehicle towed if you unable to detect the problem
- If a dead battery is a reason for this annoyance, push the car away from the pump and jump-start it.
- Pop the hood and have a look at the battery connection. Try reattaching them if they are not secure.
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If your Car won’t start after getting gas, numerous offenders can be responsible for this embarrassment. In order to cure the disease, you first need to identify the problem. Dead batteries, lack of spark, damaged fuel pumps, and stuck purge control valves can be the main culprits.
Rand Frankey is OffRoadsCare freelance Content Editor. He loves offroad Travelling and bikes, jeeps, and dirk bikes. He will explain all his experience with dirt bikes and offroad vehicles which helps you to make a decision like which vehicle is right for you.