Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

04 Jetta pumping gas problem

My friend has a 2004 VW Jetta. I recently went to the gas station to fill the tank. The car hadn’t been driven all day and the gas station is only a few blocks from my house. The gas tank was on empty, light on and all. When I went to put gas in the tank, the pump kept kicking back as if i had already filled the tank. I squeezed the handle multiple times and it still would not allow me to continue to pump. Then gas starting coming out of the tank and poured out onto the side of my car. It kept pouring out for about ten seconds. Thinking it may have been a problem with the pump I went to another gas station to try again. This time I had no problem. BUT after talking to my friend who owns the car, she told me she had the same problem at a different gas station! Any ideas on what might cause this?

I live in Florida and it was about 70 degrees that day, so the weather shouldn’t be a factor. Any thoughts?

I could have been the pump. In fact I would guess in this case it was. It also could have been a valve on the car that was stuck. Either could have been a one time event.

If it was the valve, it may return. Assuming it is not at the same pump and it returns it may be the valve or if you are in the habit of topping off the tank (adding more after the pump shuts off the first time) when you fill up, you could have damaged the vapor recovery system.

The valve is there to reduce the chance of a gas spill in an accident and the vapor recovery system can have the charcoal canister saturated with gas if you top off and you will need a new canister. In addition hoses can come loose etc so if it comes back, it is likely your car and it will need to be repaired.

BTW if your Jetta is a diesel, there are other approaches.

You are very fortunate that the gas that ran out of the tank and down the side of the car didn’t find an ignition source.

The vent could also be plugged, which would not allow air to exit the tank as you fill it.

Will it accept fuel if you fill it very slowly?