Fill-up and Fuel Pump Failure

I stopped for gas with my 2005 Buick Century and after I filled it up, the engine stalled and shut off after a few seconds. I tried to restart it a few times and had the same symptoms. Luckily, my mechanic was right next door to the gas station and I caught him before he left. He immediately diagnosed the problem. He said GM fuel pump failures is a common problem right after a fill up. Could the problem be caused by a station attendant trying to force more gasoline into the tank for an even dollar amount? (self serve is not legal in my state).

No, overfilling doesn’t fail pumps. It is 15 years old, the pump is due for replacement.

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Seriously ? Then why don’t I see a lot of GM vehicles setting at the fuel pumps waiting on a tow truck ?


I’d suspect water contamination first but if he diagnosed the pump is not pumping, then that is definitive.

It is a clear example of Murphy’s Law… internal tank pumps always fail when the tank is full, never when empty.


I think the fuel pump is off more then it runs.

Maybe the oil companies had a hand in designing the fuel pumps.

I can assure you they didn’t.

I used to work for the company that designed and built your fuel pump. Oil companies couldn’t screw it up that badly! A government could… but not an oil company…

Filling your tank could have stirred up some sediment. Pumping that through the filter could have been the last straw for a pump that was on the edge of dying.

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A gas tank in a car doesn’t sit there at rest. As the car drives sediment is being stirred up constantly.

You’re probably right.

In the event the pump is good and remains inoperative it could be a fuel pump control circuit malfunction.
Federal regulations state that the pump be wired so it will not continue to run in the event of a collision.

Granted, I’m not familiar with details on this car but there should be a fuel pump test plug; somewhere near the passenger side and under the hood. A small red wire with a female plug. Running 12 volts to that plug should energize the pump and tell you definitively whether or not it’s the pump itself or a control circuit problem.

If it’s the pump then it’s had a good life at 15 years so it’s due; or past due.

The simplest answer is usually the right one. It’s old, it failed. Time for another one.