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Summary
  • Some of the reasons your car stalls after getting gas include low-quality fuel and contaminated fuel pumps.
  •  A malfunctioning ECU, a bad fuel gauge, and an ineffective EVAP purge control valve, and a defective battery can also cause stalling.
  • If your car stalls after getting gas, consider asking mechanics to check your fuel system ECU, spark plugs, and exhaust system.

Have you ever experienced loading your car with fresh gasoline only for it to sputter and stall? This perplexing phenomenon could be a sign that an internal component of your vehicle is broken. Don’t fret, however, as there are precautions and steps you can take to limit the damage.

Why Does My Car Stall After Getting Gas?

Car stalling after getting gas is usually due to the quality of the pumped fuel. However, other reasons could cause this problem.

Low-Quality Fuel

Your vehicle may develop all sorts of problems if you pump in low-quality fuel like stalling. Bad fuel often has insufficient combustible ingredients, making it difficult for the vehicle to run continuously.

refueling car with cheap fuel
Bad fuel often has insufficient combustible ingredients, making it difficult for the vehicle to run continuously.

Contaminated Fuel

A fuel gets contaminated when water, algae, rust, different fuel, and other organic matter mixes with it. It results in different harmful effects, including misfiring, underperforming engines, crank failure, and stalling.

To address contaminated fuel, you’ll have to drain it, thoroughly clean the fuel tank, and add clean fuel. In some cases, you’ll also have to replace injectors and flush the lines, as well as replace the fuel pump.

See also  Underhood Checks

Contaminated Fuel Pumps

The fuel pump pumps fuel for a specified amount of time or turns on at a certain speed to keep adequate fuel pressure available for the fuel injectors. That means the pump is susceptible to breaking down from wear and tear.

The fuel pump pumps fuel for a specified amount of time or turns on at a certain speed to keep adequate fuel pressure available for the fuel injectors.

Anthony Harlin, ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician

Malfunctioning Electronic Control Unit

The ECU ensures the internal combustion engine works optimally. If it’s malfunctioning, it could send incorrect signals and instruct the fuel pump to shut down, leading to stalling.

Fortunately, ECUs are repairable and reprogrammable. However, the price for both is quite steep as it ranges from $1,000 up to $3,000 or more, depending on the severity of the damage.

Faulty Fuel Gauge

Overfilling the fuel tank with gas might cause the fuel gauge to malfunction. In high-end vehicles, this sends false signals to the ECU, which will turn off the electricity.

Ineffective EVAP Purge Control Valve

The evaporative emission control (EVAP) system captures the fumes and emissions produced by evaporated fuel. It has a purge valve that traps the keeps fuel vapor from entering the engine’s intake manifold until it’s commanded to open and purge the vapors.

If one of these valves is open, the excess air pressure in the tank will release, forcing it into the intake manifold. As a result, fuel will reach the combustion chambers when you rev the engine. It’s worse after refills because there’s excess fuel.

Defective Battery

Stalls often occur when the battery fails to give the necessary voltage to start the vehicle. Refilling your ride with gas will still result in stalling if the battery is defective or worn out.

See also  A Short Course on Fuel Systems

Replace a drained battery as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the engine, which could lead to bigger expenses.

What to Do When Your Car Stalls After Getting Gas

Before having your vehicle checked, diagnose the issue. It might save you time at the auto shop, and you could even perform a DIY fix if you have the knowledge and tools.

The four main components you need to check when your car stalls are the fuel system, ECU, spark plugs, and exhaust system.

Look at the Fuel System

Check fuel system parts, namely the fuel filter, fuel line, and fuel pump.

Examine the fuel filter located at the rear of your car. If it’s dirty or clogged, replace or clean it.

Check the fuel pump by removing the gas cap and listening to the sound while the engine is running. If there’s no sound, then the issue lies within the pump.

Lastly, look for leaks in the fuel line. Replace it if there are.

Check the ECU

Unfortunately, only mechanics can check the ECU, unless you have the necessary skills and equipment to do it yourself. If you don’t have the devices to check, there are companies that offer inexpensive ones to scan your computer.

Examine the Spark Plugs

old spark plugs being replaced with new one
The spark plugs ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber.

The spark plugs ignite the fuel in the combustion chamber. A faulty one can cause the car to stall after getting gas. While there are ways to check the plugs yourself, it’s recommended to leave the job to a mechanic.

Check the Exhaust System

An obstructed mass air flow sensor sends incorrect data to the engine computer, which leads to stalling. Removing the dirt and debris or replacing the broken sensor should fix the stalling issues.

See also  The Starting System

How to Prevent Car Stalling After Getting Gas

The only way to prevent car stalling after getting gas is through regular maintenance. Specifically, you need to have the fuel system checked and maintained by changing the fuel filter and spark plugs regularly. In addition, the ECU should also be serviced once in a while.

Get Replacement Parts to Stop Car Stalling

Whether you’re dealing with a contaminated fuel pump, faulty fuel gauge, or broken purge valve, one thing’s clear: you’ll have to replace the defective part immediately. Not only will a faulty fuel system cause your car to stall, it can also lead to costly engine damage. Luckily, getting a replacement fuel pump, fuel gauge, and other parts is fast and easy with CarParts.com. 

CarParts.com offers a wide selection of fuel pumps, fuel gauges, and purge valves, all sourced from the most trusted manufacturers in the industry. Browse through them with ease by using our vehicle selector. All you have to do is input your vehicle’s year, make, and model, and you can find parts that are compatible with your ride. You can also expect your order to arrive in as fast as two business days, thanks to our warehouses strategically located around the US. Just be sure to order by 12 p.m. ET.

Don’t wait until your car stalls during the most inconvenient moment before replacing the faulty component. Check out our catalog of fuel pumps, fuel gauges, and more at CarParts.com today.

About The Authors
Written By Automotive and Tech Writers

The CarParts.com Research Team is composed of experienced automotive and tech writers working with (ASE)-certified automobile technicians and automotive journalists to bring up-to-date, helpful information to car owners in the US. Guided by CarParts.com's thorough editorial process, our team strives to produce guides and resources DIYers and casual car owners can trust.

Reviewed By Technical Reviewer at CarParts.com

Tony Harlin is a Master Gas and Diesel Diagnostic Technician with over 18 years of experience. He works full-time at a large independent automotive shop as a driveability and repair technician working on all types of vehicles with a focus on diesels. ASE certifications include A1-A9, L1 and L2, as well as X1.

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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