Why You Shouldn’t Top Off Your Gas Tank

You might be in the habit of topping off your gas tank. Maybe you prepaid for gas and want to get your full money’s worth. Or maybe you just like to round it off to the nearest dollar. It seems like a harmless practice, right?

Wrong. You should never top off your car’s gas tank. To find out why that’s the case, let’s take a closer look at how your car’s fuel system works.

The problem with topping off your gas tank

The gas nozzle was designed to automatically shut off for a specific reason: because your gas tank is full. When you top it off, the gas actually reverses and flows into the station’s tank because your car’s tank is full. While you might think you’re squeezing every penny of fuel, the fact is that you won’t have that extra fuel at all.

Gas needs room for it to expand within the gas tank. If you top it off, then there’s no room for this process to occur. This leads to gas accumulating in the car’s vapor collection system. When the fuel system fails to function as intended, your car will have higher gas emissions. Spilling fuel on the ground (which is more likely when you’re adding gas beyond the amount intended) is another environmental hazard.

Refueling and vapor recovery systems

Topping off the tank could cause the car’s vapor recovery system to malfunction as well. This system involves a charcoal canister responsible for collecting harmful fuel vapors during refueling. This system greatly reduces hydrocarbon emissions when functioning properly.

However, flooding the car’s carbon filter vapor collection system by topping off the tank causes problems because it is only meant for vapor. In turn, this may lead to your car requiring replacement of vapor canisters. This is a repair that can cost hundreds of dollars.

The bottom line is that you may think topping off your gas tank is harmless, but it can cause problems both for your car and the environment. Go ahead and trust the gas nozzle when it tells you the tank is full.

Fuel filter replacement

Another key aspect of the fuel system is the fuel filter. Check the manual to see when it’s due for service. Manufacturers’ recommendations for fuel filter maintenance vary widely, from 20,000 to 150,000 miles.

Gas must pass through at least one filter to remove any impurities before flowing into the engine. Servicing this filter as recommended is important because it prevents the fuel injectors from getting clogged, which can have serious effects on performance and could result in major damages.

Whether you need fuel filter replacement, brake repair or a quick oil change, Alignment Pros and Express Lube is here to help. Our team of experts is prepared to take care of your car, no matter what make and model it is. We’ll keep your vehicle well maintained so that you feel confident every time you hit the road. Contact us now to learn more about our affordable services.