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Can't pump gas for more that 5 seconds

I have a 2003 toyota corolla. For the past year I have not been able to pump a full tank of gas without the pump automatically shutting off. It has progressed to the point where I have to stand at the pump and continually restart the pump as it clicks off over and over and over. Ideas?

Are you or another driver of your car in the habit of topping off the tank when you fill it?   If so that could be the problem.  Generally it is best to fill the tank until it clicks off the first time.  It is also possible that a back flow preventer is causing the problem.

This is a common problem on many makes and models. It is generally traced to some valve in the EVAP system that has decided to quit working. It is different for every car. I suggest you contact the Toyota company itself, tech service department. You may be lucky and find an engineer who is familiar with this situation and its solution.

Until you can get it fixed, put the nozzle barely into the filler neck and pump slowly. You might have to play with the angle a bit, but it will shut off less often. The problem is more or less a venting issue, so gas is backing up and the auto-shutoff feature on the nozzle/pump thinks the tank’s full.

The problem is most likely with the Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery system.

What this does is it forces the fuel vapors thru the carbon canister so they can be collected prior to the gas tank venting to the atmosphere. If there’s a restriction in this system the gas tank can’t vent properly which then causes the gas nozzle to shut off.

Have the hoses that run from the gas tank to the carbon canister inspected for blockage. And if you’re told the blockage was caused by spider nests don’t be surprised.


Great, thanks. I’ve never been in that habit of topping off the tank, it simply acts like it is being topped off -even when there are only 2 gallons in the tank. And I’ve tried every combination of nozzle depth and pumping speed, to no avail. Inserting a Milkbone dog treat into the pump handle seems to work on occasion (I’ve tried other bones but this works best!). I think I will have Tester and SteveF’s suggestions checked out. Appreciate the info.

Is this issue simply an annoyance or is it a problem/dangerous? Is this bad for the car or indicative of or contributing to more vapor/ventilation issues?

It is an annoyance only. It is not bad for the car, it is not a precursor to more serious problems. Hence you can keep driving without concern until you eventually get around to dealing with this.

cool. thanks