What to Do When Your Gas Tank Overflows?

What to Do When Your Gas Tank Overflows?

Keeping your gas tank full comes with a lot of benefits. Apart from helping to fuel your vehicle, having your gas tank full can serve as a coolant for the electric fuel pump motor, which is usually located in the middle of the tank of modern vehicles. Furthermore, a full gas tank will certainly prevent your car from running out of fuel completely or decrease the chance of condensation occurring in cold temperatures.

But here’s a frequently asked question; when trying to get your gas tank full, is it possible to accidentally overfill it? Although the nozzle of the pump has a sensor that helps to stop the fuel when the gas tank is full, it’s still possible to have your tank overfilled. Unfortunately, that, in some cases, could damage the vapor recovery nozzle of the car’s pump.

If your gas tank overflows after accidentally overfilling it, the first thing you need to do is clean up the mess. After that, you can drive the car at high rpm to burn off the gas, as it’s safe to do that. Unlike liquid fuel, gasoline evaporates very quickly – so, you need not worry too much.

In the rest of this post, I’ll further share everything you need to know about getting your gas tank overfilled. So, without further ado, let’s get straight down to business.

Will My Gas Tank Leak if Overfilled?

As earlier mentioned, it’s possible to accidentally overfill your gas tank. When this happens, it can cause several different issues to your car. One of the many issues that an overfilled gas tank can cause is leakage.

You need to keep in mind that leakage isn’t a common issue that occurs when the gas tank is overfilled. However, in a few cases, especially when there’s excess pressure in the system, it can cause a leak on the gas tank. 

According to Ed Nemphos, owner of Brentwood Automotive in Baltimore, as noted by Younger Mitsubishi, topping the fuel tank off can either overwhelm your evaporative system and break something or cause a hazardous leak as a result of the excess pressure in the system.

What Should You Do if You Accidentally Overfill the Gas Tank?

What to Do When Your Gas Tank Overflows?

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. So, let’s say you went to a gas station to fill your tank and during the process, you accidentally overfill your gas tank. So, what should be your next point of action?

First, you need to understand that accidental overfill of gas tanks happens a lot. It can happen to anybody; here are a few similar cases (1, 2).

As earlier mentioned, in this kind of situation, the first thing you need to do is to clean up the mess made by the overflow. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), gasoline spills are capable of contributing to bad ozone days, as shown by the Air Quality Index.

After cleaning up the mess and all; the next thing you need to do is try driving your car at a high rpm. This move will help you burn off the excessive fuel in the gas tank, leaving you with a moderately filled tank. 

If this isn’t the first time you’re overfilling your gas tank, my advice will be that you avoid overfilling the tank as it does no good for your car. Instead, it can damage the vapor recovery nozzle of the car’s pump. To play say, you may want to call your mechanic to have your car assessed for any damage that may have occurred.

How Can I Mess Up My Gas Tank?

Messing up your gas tank can be done in several different ways. First, continuously overfilling the tank can bring about damages to the vapor recovery nozzle of the car’s pump, a system that helps to reduce air pollution in the fuel.

Apart from overfilling, you can also mess up your gas tank when you add anything other than fuel inside it. For instance, adding water into it can damage the gas tank and also extend to the engine of your vehicle. In this case, the best option, although expensive, is to drain and refill your gas tank.

Furthermore, you will also mess up your gas tank if you mistakenly add diesel inside it. In this case, all you need to do is call the nearest mechanic to help you thoroughly drain the wrong fuel. That’s not all; the addition of coca-cola inside your gas tank can also cause a big mess, not only to the tank but also to the car engine.

Sugar and salt are two other common substances that can also damage your gas tank. Salt, when present in large quantities, will slowly corrode the gas tank. On the other hand, the presence of sugar in a gas tank, apart from damaging the tank itself, will cause your car engine to stall.

Here Is Why You Should Stop Overfilling Your GasTank

Are you the type that likes topping your fuel tank off? If yes, you need to understand that this habit isn’t the best you can do. Doing that can damage several different components of your car, such as the carbon filter canisters.

For instance, overfilling the gas tank can shorten the lifespan of the carbon filter canisters. Unfortunately, getting a new one to replace the damaged component may cost you between $500 and $2000.

Furthermore, as previously mentioned, overfilling your gas tank will add liquid gasoline into the evaporative system or the vapor recovery system. If this happens, it can cause severe damage to the components of the system.

So, the bottom line is that you need to avoid overfilling your gas tank, as the approach doesn’t offer any benefit.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there! I'm Gui. To be honest, I'm not really that interested in cars. But what I'm really, really not interest in is spending lots of money fixing my car up. Thankfully, I have a father-in-law who's obsessed with cars and a brother getting a PhD in internal combustion engines, so I get to learn about fixing cars. And with Fixing Engines, I hope to help you save a lot of money and take good care of your cars.

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