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Should You “Top Off” Your Fuel Tank at the Pump?

Fill up fuel at petrol station

Let’s talk about what “topping off” really is. If you set the fuel pump and it clicks off at $38.45 – then you turn the pump back on and put an even $40 in. That’s topping off the tank.

 

You are probably wondering why that is so bad. See, all modern cars have more emissions controls than you can imagine. One of the systems is designed to control fuel vapors. Whether it is a leak in the tank, while you are filling your car, or just normal driving. The vapors are managed by a system called the Evaporative Emissions system, or evap system for short.

 

The evap system will deal with fuel vapors by holding them in a canister. This is called a charcoal canister. The vapors are then pumped back in to the engine and burned. When you over fill your gas tank by “topping off”, you pump liquid fuel into the charcoal canister. This can cause the charcoal to break apart. When it starts to break apart it gets pumped into the engine. That part is usually not an issue. The issue comes in the damage to the canister and the control valve.

 

The control valve will get clogged with charcoal and cause the check engine to come on. The end result will be replacing the charcoal canister, and control valve, and flushing all the tiny bits of charcoal out of the system. That can be a pretty costly repair. If you do it one time, fine, but don’t make a habit of it.

 

Source: HumbleMechanic.com

 

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