2002 Elantra has trouble starting after getting gas

Hello all! I drive a 2002 Elantra (214,000 miles). I have noticed this problem for a few weeks now. It seems that if I pull my car into the gas station with half a tank or less and then put some gas in it (never topping off, but always filling above the 1/2 mark), I have trouble starting the car. It may sputter for a second or two before it dies. It would take 3 or 4 tries before it finally starts. If I fill the tank when it is already more then 1/2 full, I do not have this problem when it comes to starting the car.

I do not have trouble starting the car otherwise.

So what may the problem be? Could it be as something as simple as a bad purge valve? I have heard that it can be a culprit, but should it matter how much gas is in the tank prior to fueling? Could it be debris in the gas tank or a bad fuel filter or something else in the fuel system?

Thank you in advance! She has been a great car for me and this is the first unexpected problem in a long, long, long time. I hope to reach 300,00 miles with her!

It could be a bad purge valve or vent valve.

When filling the tank, the vent valve should allow the gas tank to vent to the atmosphere. If this doesn’t happen the fuel vapors can forced past the purge valve. These fuel vapors then get forced into the engine. Then when the engine is started, not only is there the gas from the fuel injectors but also the extra gas from the fuel vapors which can result in a flooded condition.

Since this is pretty predictable, the next time you stop for gas and go to start the engine, hold the gas pedal to the floor. If this allows the engine start and run smoothly there’s a problem in the EVAP system.


+1 for @Tester .

Thank you Tester for your answer. I will look into it.