For the past couple of months, I've been having trouble filling my gas tank. I have a 2003 Hyundai Elantra, which has a 55-liter tank (approximately 14.5 US gallons).

When I buy gas, the pump clicks off after dispensing only two or three gallons. Knowing the tank can't possibly be full, I keep working on filling the tank, at a rate of less than a gallon per click, until 10-12 (possibly more) gallons later I see gas come out of the tube. (There's no other way to work out when my tank's full as I have no way of determining how much fuel is in the tank to begin with.)

Initially, I only experienced this issue at one particular gas station. Now, it happens everywhere.

This problem is annoying for two reasons:

  1. It takes a long time to fill my tank, and I risk wasting gas if I overfill the tank.
  2. I like to keep track of my mileage, but I can't do so if I don't know how much gas is being used. I don't really want to make gas overflowing be the point from which I measure.

What might be going wrong?

3 Answers 3


Sound like you refueling control valve may be bad. This is a one way valve that connects the fuel tank to the EVAP Canister. It's purpose is to send vapors to the canister instead of the air when you are refueling. If it's plugged up it will not allow vapors to escape fast enough and cause the pump to shut off.

  • This is correct except for one thing, the valve is between the charcoal/EVAP canister and atmosphere. The EVAP canister has a permanent connection to the fuel tank. Mar 5, 2023 at 14:49

I finally took the car to a shop. It turns out that the problem was the charcoal canister, which needed to be replaced.

  • Thanks for the info, my 99 hundai elantra is so bad I can only put about 30 cents worth of gas in at a time !! so now I know there is either a charcoal canister or some other type of filter that needs to be replaced.
    – user9235
    Jan 27, 2015 at 23:34

I used to have this all the time with an old car of mine - in that case it was to do with the angle and shape of the filler pipe, which stopped the fuel from flowing freely into the tank. I used to work around it by only pulling the trigger halfway, so the fuel flowed slower out of the nozzle - this allowed it time to flow into the tank...

As you say this has come on recently, it can't be a design flaw like that was, so I'd assume you have some kind of obstruction in the filler that is stopping the fuel from flowing freely into the tank. Have you checked for this? At the very least you'll have a flap on the inside of the filler, and probably some kind of anti-siphon valve...

  • 2
    As an addition to the angle/shape info, you can help the nozzle out by positioning it slightly differently. If the handle is being pushed down (by your hand, by gravity, whatever), the nozzle is more liable to be pointing higher up, which could cause the gas to splash against the top of the filler pipe thus triggering the auto-shutoff on the pump. If you provide more support while filling up, the nozzle may be better pointed downwards to prevent that from happening. Source - experience with my '12 Subaru Legacy.
    – Ellesedil
    Jun 30, 2014 at 13:05

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