Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

I can't fill my tank!

I have a 2004 Acura MDX. For the past few months when I try to fill my tank the nozzle shuts off as if my tank is full. I am in California where we have vapor recovery nozzles. I have tried placing it in in different ways, using different gas stations…it doesn’t matter. So I have to pump my gas by hand and can only squeeze the handle very gently or it shuts off.

Has anyone had this problem or have any advice for me? The dealership found nothing wrong and wanted to charge me a fortune to do some exploration.

Thanks for your help

Has the CEL (Check Engine Light) come on? There are two likely problems.

  1. The charcoal canister is saturated. This is often caused by topping off the tank after the first time it shuts off. You likely will find a warning about this on a sticker on your fuel filler cover or in the glove box.

  2. Another common problem (likely no CEL) is caused by a stuck valve. This one may be fixed by using something like a thick string trimmer line to push a marble like ball back to where it belongs down the filler hose. In fairness to your dealer often the easy fixes may not work and they may need to start taking things apart to find out what is going on and to fix it. This cost money no matter who does it.

Either problem can cost a few $$$. 

I would suggest finding a local independent mechanic who may know more about the problem, or at least will charge you less to fix it. Dealers are not gods of cars and they almost always will charge more than the independent mechanic.

Thanks for your quick response.
The CEL has not come on so I’m thinking perhaps the little ball does need to be pushed down. Do you mean I need to push it down the filler hose at the gas station or in the car itself?
I don’t mean to sound so inexperienced but I am a woman with no experience working on cars.

It is in the car. Don’t get overly enthusiastic, as you don’t want to poke a hole in the hose or do some damage however.

Good Luck