1996 Elantra weird problem - hesitates during acceleration when fuel tank is full

OK, here is a weird problem with my 1996 Hyundai Elantra. Recently, my car was losing power and rather sluggish. So I tried to change the fuel filter. But I had the wrong one. So I put it back together and forgot to hook up the Mass Air Flow sensor. Needless to say it didn’t run well, but I needed to get to work. So I drove it there and back (about 100 miles in total). The next day I took off to get it repaired and inspected. Took it to a muffler place and had a new catalytic converter put on. Then to the mechanic and got it inspected, he discovered the unplugged MAF sensor. He took it off and cleaned it and plugged it back in and it seemed to be running better.

So I took it back work the next day and it had the same problem. On the way home it threw a code (P0141 O2 sensor heater resistance problem). So back to the mechanic the next day. He replaced the O2 sensor.

It did not fix the problem. So I got the right fuel filter and a new PCV valve. And that seemed to fix it. Went to work and came home no issues.

Until this morning… I filled up the tank and the issue, which is mainly that it hesitates on acceleration especially at low speeds.

Any ideas?


Do you stop at the first click of the nozzle or do you continue to fill up after a few more clicks?

Always stop at the first click. But I think there might be a fuel system leak. I usually smell gas for day or so after I fill it up.

That gas smell may be coming from your charcoal canister. When it’s saturated…a gas smell can come from the engine bay. If you think you have a gas leak…it should be checked by a knowledgeable mechanic or a mechanically inclined friend or relative. It’s not safe if it’s leaking gasoline.

Hmmm… Unfortunately, I am the most mechanically inclined person know where I live. I’ve done a fair bit of work in my day (water pumps, alternators, even rebuilt a carb once) but mostly on older vehicles and I’ve generally tried to avoid doing anything dealing with the gas tank. I was hoping to get this fixed then take it to hyundai which has a recall on this year for gas tank related issues.

Get the recall done first, as this may fix your problem.