‘Check Fuel Fill Inlet’ is one of the most common warnings your car will likely exhibit from time to time. This signal might catch you unaware the first time you see it simply because many people don’t know what it means. It can be very confusing when you notice the warning message on your vehicle’s dashboard. What does check fuel fill inlet mean?
Read on to learn more about the ‘check fuel fill inlet,’ including its meaning, causes, and possible solutions for the problem.
The Fuel Fill Inlet
Before we delve into the meaning of check fuel fill inlet, it’s crucial you have a grasp of the fuel fill inlet first. Or else, you’re going to find it challenging to navigate the requirements and solutions for making the ‘check fuel fill inlet’ notice vanish. Fortunately, it isn’t grim to figure out what it is.
The fuel fill inlet is the part of your car where you put gasoline into your truck or vehicle. It basically consists of the gas cap covering and an inlet pipe that leads into the vehicle’s gas tank. It’s a vital component of your car because you can’t fuel your vehicle without it. It’s also the part that may cause the ‘check fuel fill inlet’ warning to appear on your dashboard out of nowhere.
If this warning displays on your vehicle’s dashboard, you’ll want to probe your fuel fill inlet so as to ascertain the real cause of the warning.
What Does The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Mean For Your Car?
Considering you’re now aware of where to focus in case of a problem with your filler inlet, let’s discuss more what it means when the check fuel fill inlet warning displays on your vehicle’s message center.
When you see the check fuel fill inlet warning on your vehicle’s dashboard, this indicates a problem with the fuel cap that shelters the fuel fill inlet. The fuel cap is an integral part of the evaporative emissions (EVAP) system. When it’s not tightened enough or damaged somehow, this may lead to gas leaks, low gas mileage, and other severe issues with the EVAP system.
However, when the fuel cap is adequately fixed to the inlet, a vacuum pressure seal is formed, which allows pressurized fuel to move seamlessly through the system. Besides, harmful fumes and pollutants are sealed inside the tank, hence preventing their release to the environment.
Symptoms OF A Failing Fuel Cap
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the fuel cap is an essential component of your vehicle. The fuel cap helps to prevent dirt or debris from entering your fuel tank. It also plays a significant role in your car’s evaporative emissions system, which traps and reuses fuel vapor that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.
Due to the frequent removal of the fuel cap every time the vehicle is refueled, it’s prone to wear out just like any other part of the vehicle. A faulty or failing fuel cap will often exhibit symptoms that can alert the driver of any potential issue.
Fuel Smell From The Car
One of the first symptoms of a problem with the fuel cap is a fuel smell from your car. Smells emanating from under the vehicle or the hood usually take on a distinct, recurring odor. But if your car is producing a fuel smell, take note of it.
When the fuel cap fails to provide proper sealing, it may cause fuel vapors to escape into the surrounding, giving off a fuel smell.
Gas Cap Doesn’t Tighten properly
Fuel caps come with a built-in mechanism that will enable them to click once they are well tightened. Suppose the fuel cap fails to click when tightening it. Or pops loose after clicking, which indicates the cap may be damaged and needs a replacement.
Check Engine Light Turns On
If your car fuel cap has problems sealing the gas tank, it may result in an illuminated check engine light at the dashboard. This often occurs due to various reasons with the evaporative emissions system. Since the emissions system traps and reuses fuel vapor and can detect a leak in the system, a failing cap will affect the system’s efficiency. As a result, this turns on the check engine light to alert the driver of the problem.
A check engine light may also appear due to vast other issues. It’s, therefore, essential to have your car properly diagnosed by a professional mechanic for the underlying issue.
Common Causes Of The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning
As we’ve seen before, among the main reasons for a check fuel fill inlet warning is a loose or damaged gas cap. However, that’s not the only cause of the appearance of the warning. Other vast issues concerning your gas cap can also cause the check fuel fill inlet warning to appear unexpectedly.
The check fuel fill inlet warning may turn on due to the following reasons:
- Missing fuel cap – This usually occurs after a fill-up. When you’ve lost your fuel cap, the warning will pop up right away. Getting a new fuel cap will clear the alert.
- Debris build-up at the gas cap
- A vacuum pressure leak in your fuel fill inlet
- Broken gas cap
- Tightly screwed fuel cap – Your fuel cap is way tighter than it should be
Ensure to run any of these issues and examine if they could be the lead cause of the check fuel fill inlet warning. Suppose you happen to spot the underlying cause of the warning, it’s crucial you address the issue immediately.
Solution To Fixing The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Yourself
The check fuel fill inlet alert appearing on your car’s dashboard won’t disappear by itself. You’ll have to work hard to get rid of the issue entirely. If the check fuel fill inlet warning appears on your vehicle’s dashboard, you can try any of the following solutions.
1) Properly Close The Fuel Tank
Immediately the warning “check fuel fill inlet” appears on your dashboard, stop your car by the roadside and examine your fuel tank. If it’s not covered correctly, make sure to close it the right way. Don’t ignore the warning, as the inappropriately covered tank may leak evaporative emissions.
2) Replace The Missing Cap
When you have a missing cap, ensure you replace it immediately to prevent gas leaks or contaminants from entering the evaporative emission system.
3) Clean The Fuel Fill Inlet Opening
It would help if you regularly scrubbed the fuel fill inlet to avoid debris build-up. Debris build-up around the fuel fill inlet can prevent the flaps from closing correctly, causing leakages. If you’re a little bit skeptical about performing this process yourself, you can always head on to your nearest auto repair shop.
4) Tighten The Fuel Cap To Prevent Any Leaks (Not Too Tight)
Like we mentioned earlier, a loose fuel cap may lead to low gas mileage, gas leaks, and other severe issues with your evaporative emissions system. Slightly tighten the fuel cap in the loosening errors to prevent the occurrence of such issues.
Tighten the cap either manually or using a tool. You may also cover it with a dry, non-slippery piece of fabric.
Rotate it clockwise in a fixed position. This technique leaves no room for gas or liquid leakages. Typically, it should take you less than 5 minutes to complete this activity.
5) Read Your Owner’s Manual When You’re Not Sure What To Do
Another possible fix is to read the owner’s manual if you don’t know what to do. The manual will give you insights into the basic fix for your vehicle., including getting rid of the check fuel fill inlet warning. Take time to read it and understand.
6) Replace Faulty Gas Caps
A good gas cap safely seals the fuel tank. Suppose the flap or cap is damaged or broken, replace it immediately. The absence of a fuel seal may not necessarily damage your engine, but other issues may occur in the surrounding parts. Being extremely careful would prevent accidents from happening.
As you’ve seen, doing these things won’t take most of your time. The act of simply wiggling the gas cap around could be all you need to make the warning disappear. However, it’s worth being aware that there are other issues you may find an uphill task to fix by yourself. In that case, it would help to seek professional help.
How To Replace A Gas Cap
The gas cap guards the entry to the fuel tank and is made up of plastic or metal. Most gas caps have threads fixated to the tank pipe with matching threads. The rubber gasket above is compressed once the cap is fixed and stops fuel leaks.
You may, however, be surprised to know that a leaking fuel filler contributes significantly to your vehicle’s fuel costs. One way to avoid unnecessary expenses is to replace the leaking gas cap. Here’s a detailed process on how to do so.
Step 1: Determine Your Type Of Fuel Filler Cap
Before buying a new gas cap, you ought to think about whether you want a cap that locks to prevent thieves from stealing your gas. However, note that if you insert any of these caps on your vehicle, your children, spouse, or anyone who puts gas in your vehicle will need the fuel filler cap key.
Step 2: Prepare To Replace The Fuel Filler Cap
You need to ensure you have all the necessary tools and materials to get the work done appropriately.
- Fuel filler cap
- Flat tip screwdriver
- Combustible gas detector
- Allen Wrench set
- Fuel resistant gloves
- Torques bit set
- Safety glasses
- Protective clothing
- Needle nose pliers
Make sure when replacing the gas cap that you only purchase the original manufactured equipment. The actual gas cap is made and fitted for the vehicle.
Park your car on a hard, flat surface and ensure the transmission is in 1st gear for manuals and safe mode for automatics.
Next, secure your vehicle by placing wheel chocks on the front tires, which will remain on the ground because the car’s rear will be lifted using a lifting jack.
Step 3: Remove The Fuel Filler Cap
- Open the fuel door to locate the gas cap. Once opened, examine the cap for any exterior damages, then remove the cap from the fuel filler neck and the cable from the fuel door.
- Check the cap threads to see if they are stripped and the fuel filler neck for any crack or distortion. If you notice any damage, this means your filler neck may be failing.
- Clean the threads on the fuel filler neck with a paper towel or clean cloth.
Step 4: Install The New Gas Cap
- Carefully fix the new gasket onto the new gas cap. Screw the gas cap onto the filler neck, ensuring that the threads lock fully to the filler neck.
- Attach the cable to the fuel door. Using the combustible fuel detector, confirm there are no fuel leaks from the gas cap. Afterward, close the fuel door.
- Test drive the vehicle by going over different terrains such as bumps to enable the fuel to gurgle inside the fuel tank. This bubbles up the fuel creating significant amounts of vapor.
- Monitor the dashboard for the appearance of the check fuel fill inlet warning. If the warning comes up, you may need to have your fuel system examined for possible electrical problems.
For a more detailed procedure on how to replace the gas cap, make sure to watch the following video.
What Can You Do If You Can’t Turn Off The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Yourself?
Suppose you’ve tried everything mentioned above and the check fuel fill inlet doesn’t go off. In that case, you may want to head on to a certified mechanic to fix the problem and go about your usual business in no time.
Your mechanic will likely replace your old fuel cap with a new one. Ideally, this doesn’t take much of their time and won’t cost you much. But in a more severe case, the mechanic will have to determine if you’re experiencing a vacuum pressure leak in your inlet and fix it.
Despite the issue, you shouldn’t ignore having your car checked by a professional mechanic if the check fuel fill inlet warning shows up each time you start the vehicle. They will properly diagnose the issue at hand and make sure you get back to your routine without the appearance of the warning.
Is Turning Off The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning Costly?
Fortunately, if your check fuel fill inlet keeps popping up now and then, you don’t have to be concerned about spending much on such an issue. Even if you take your car to your mechanic, they will diagnose and fix the issue at a significantly lower price.
Suppose the mechanic finds you have a faulty gas cap that’s causing the check fuel fill inlet to pop up. You’ll probably have to pay approximately $75 to have the cap replaced. That’s a relatively smaller amount to pay, apart from it’s going to play a significant role in having your vehicle’s fuel system whining along.
Of course, there’s a chance your mechanic may have to put in extra work to completely turn the warning off. To recognize a pressure leak and fix it will cost you more than just replacing a faulty cap. However, in spite of all this, turning the check fuel fill inlet off shouldn’t cost you much money.
Is It Okay To Drive Your Car With The Check Fuel Fill Inlet On?
Simply put, it’s safe to drive with the gas cap light on. It’s even safer than pulling over by the roadside. When the warning appears, it may not be a cause for concern. You can continue driving around without having to worry that something terrible might happen to you.
However, if you continue driving your vehicle with the warning on, you may likely be susceptible to even bigger problems, including low gas mileage and a gas leak.
You don’t want to experience any of these issues just because you want to evade getting a new gas cap. You’d better deal with the issue head-on and immediately rather than letting it last longer than it should.
Can You Sell Your Car With The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning On?
Like we mentioned earlier, putting off the fuel fill warning isn’t quite hectic. But if the problem occurs more often and becomes a problem, you may want to dispose of your car instead of having to deal with it. In that process, you may be bothered about whether or not you can sell it in that condition.
Well, you can sell your car with the check fuel inlet warning, but the buyer might give you a low offer. Take the vehicle to a proficient mechanic to examine the issue and find out the total cost to fix it. This way, you’ll know if you are losing more money on the sale than the repair would be.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Find answers to common questions that may arise when navigating the fuel fill inlet.
Is Your Fuel Cap On The Right Or Left?
The location of your fuel cap is illustrated by the arrow in the fuel gauge next to the tiny gas pump symbol. So, if the arrow points to the right, the filler cap is on the passenger’s side. And if it points to the left- you guessed it – the cap is on the driver’s side of your vehicle. This trick is particularly useful if you’re driving a car you are unfamiliar with, like a rental car.
This gas tank, however, is often found in modern cars. There’s no constant fuel cap indicator on older vehicles. Sometimes, the hose on the fuel pump indicator is on a similar side as the fuel filler cap, but this is seldom the case.
Why Are Fuel Doors Not On The Same Side?
Currently, the US doesn’t have any official rules that specify which side the fuel door ought to be positioned on. This means that vehicle manufacturers decide the side to place it on. Some companies opt for the left side depending on the driver’s convenience. Others consider the right side safer for drivers when they need to fill up (say, by the roadside). Vehicle manufacturers also take into consideration the placement of the vehicle’s undercarriage and hardware.
Are Gas Caps Universal?
Fuel caps come in various types and closing designs, ranging from cap-less to slow release. Most designs ventilate the reservoir to relieve vapor or pressure, while others offer an airtight seal. Closing designs include coarse and fine threads, a face seal or hinged radial seal, and a quarter-turn connection.
What Factors Determine Fuel and Filler Caps?
Fuel caps are made up of a wide range of materials, including brass, plastic, aluminum, and steel. The material ought to have chemical resistance to the fuel encountered. Finishing consists of polished, painted, or chrome-plated surfaces.
When opened, a gas cap should have a steady release of inner pressure to prevent rapid fuel spray or vapor release.
Gas caps vary according to the configuration of filling equipment and container. Diameter is usually linked to the fill rate.
Important locks restrict access to the fuel tank to prevent theft or tampering. Others have a self-closing mechanism and a tether that prevents the filler cap from getting lost if displaced.
On That Note,
With all that said, when the check fuel fill inlet warning appears on your dashboard, ensure you examine your inlet pipe for any leaks and also find out if you have a well-closed fuel tank.
After you’ve resolved the issue, the warning on your dashboard should go off in no time. The vehicle may not reset immediately, causing the warning to appear still, but that should not bother you. Just keep driving for a few miles, and the warning will eventually turn off.
These tools have been tried and tested by our team, they are ideal for fixing your car at home.