Fueling Problem

I recently purchased a 2001 Hundai Accent. The gas was near empty when we received the car and when my husband went to fill it up for the first time the tank almost immediately overflowed. He would pause and then try again to put in more fuel, but in the end he was only able to get in 2 gallons. Afterwards, the fuel guage did go up slightly, so we don’t think problem is with it. The previous driver admitted to having the same problem, but said that she was able to fill it beyond 2 gallons, I guess by doing a lot of waiting around at the gas station! She had driven the car before the cold of winter settled in so though the problem may have been exasperated by the cold, it seems like it’s not the source. What is going on in that gas tank? Is whatever it is an expensive fix?


G. Black

Try pulling back on the fuel handle and then tilt it in a downward position. This will allow the gas to flow easier. Most vehicles built in the last 10 years or so have small fuel filler necks. If this does not work then have your fuel neck checked by an independent mechanic. It could be kinked, bent or otherwised damaged.

This is a common problem… enter “slow fill” into the search feature of this board to view many posts. In your filler-neck is an “Anti-Spill Roll-Over Valve” which can stick closed, blocking normal filling. Sometimes, running a flexible switch of some kind down the filler-pipe will dislodge the stuck valve…One of those bicycle flag fiberglass whips or a discarded fishing rod or even a stiff plastic tube…Today’s cars also have on on-board vapor-recovery system to capture fuel vapors when you are re-fueling. Repairs here can get expensive and complicated, so save that thought until last…

The problem might be with the Onboard Refueling Vapor Recovery system.

How this works is, as gas is being introduced into the gas tank, the gas vapors are forced through the carbon canister so they can be collected before the tank vents to atmosphere. If there’s a restriction in this system the gas tank can’t vent properly so the gas nozzle keeps shutting off. Have the EVAP system inspected to determine if there’s a restriction in the system.

This system is so sensitive that there have been reports of spiders building nests in these systems causing this problem.


I will only add that on many cars, if someone has been topping off the tank after the first shut off, that can cause the very problem you are having. That may require a repair to the vapor recovery system.

I’m so glad to have so many responses so soon! And additionally excited that you all seem to agree about the problem. Thanks everybody!

-G. Black

When these slow fueling posts come up I usually check for TSB’s. I think I find some mention of a factory fix on about 30% of the vehicles I check on. When I get a few minutes I will check on this Hyundai.

There are about three things which can cause a problem when attempting to refill the gas tank. One is a check valve at the bottom of the fuel filler tube; two is the control valve, at the top of the gas tank, which normally closes when the tank is filled “to the brim”; three would be a blockage in a tube between the tank and filler tube, or toward the engine.
It might help to jar a possibly closed control valve, or check valve, if you used a large rubber mallet on the gas tank. The vibration might let them open. Might.