Is It Bad to Put Gas in a Running Car?4 min read
In addition to addressing the immediate question, let’s talk about some other service station safety procedures that are noteworthy.
Will something bad happen if you pump gas while your car is running? This is a common question at our service department, and though the results are not often as dramatic as urban legends say, it is true that putting gas in a running car is a bad idea.
We’ll discuss the risks and provide an answer to the age-old query of whether it’s safe to keep your car running while you fill up.
Is It Bad to Put Gas in a Running Car?
However, it’s unlikely that you should. Leaving the engine running increases the possibility of gas vapors igniting if they come into contact with static electricity, even though there is a small chance of a fire starting.
“It’s is safest to shut off your vehicle to avoid a fire, static electricity or a check engine light,” says The Car Coach sector analyst and ASE-certified technician Lauren Fix. “As opposed to the liquid, the fumes pose a fire risk. An explosion may result from this.”
So before you fuel up, shut off the car and leave it off. Aside from that, unplug any charging devices. When you’re back on the road, you can plug them in again.
Will It Damage the Car?
That’s unlikely because there is a greater risk of starting a fire than there is of the vehicle being damaged. But just because something doesn’t hurt the car doesn’t mean problems won’t result from it.
“While it’s not necessarily bad for your car, it could turn that pesky check engine light on,” said founder and chief operating officer of Brakes To Go, Jonathan Ganther. “Our cars are designed to detect even the slightest gasoline vapor leaks from the fuel tank, fuel lines, and engine.
So why was this leak discovered when I was filling up? When you stick the nozzle in to fill up, you open the gas tank that is normally sealed, and this allows gasoline vapors to escape. A vapor leak is discovered by the car’s computer, which then turns on the check engine light.”
Why It’s Dangerous to Pump Gas With the Engine On?
So now you know it’s potentially dangerous to fuel a running car, but why? Why is this activity a problem, exactly? The conditions that can arise are the problem, not the running car itself. Gas vapors are more likely to come into contact with heat or electricity when you fill up a car with the engine running. That may cause ignition.
Gas pumps have an automatic stop feature as a safety precaution, but there is a possibility that the mechanism will break down, resulting in the tank overflowing and spilling gas onto the ground. If that occurs, starting the car increases the likelihood that it will catch fire.
Yes, it’s rare. Your car isn’t going to burst into flames simply because you pump gas with the engine running, but when you consider the possible consequences, it’s best to take the simple precaution of shutting off the engine.
Reentering your vehicle while the gas pump is running increases the risk of a fire.
Static electricity is a further reason why gas station fires occur. Anytime you get ready to pump gas, you should discharge any static electricity by touching something before reaching for the gas pump. If you don’t, there’s a chance that the static electricity will discharge and start a flash fire once you take the nozzle off.
So why not get back in your car while the fuel is being pumped? When you reenter your car, you pick up more static electricity, so when you reach to remove the nozzle from your car, a flash fire can result.
A quick internet search leads to videos of gas station fires. Those videos make it clear why being careful—even what some may call overly cautious—is always smart when fueling up.
What Else Should I Avoid?
Static electricity can also start a fire right before your eyes by igniting gas vapors. Before you grab the gas pump, it’s a good idea to touch something to release static electricity. This is an efficient and straightforward preventative measure that can stop flash fires.
The easiest way to prevent an unexpected calamity is to get in and get out. While filling up with gas, avoid using a vaporizer, smoking, or playing with your phone. Each of these activities increases the amount of static, heat, and electricity in the environment. Keep on task whenever you are at the gas stations near Westbury because the risk isn’t worth it.
Conclusion: Don’t Put Gas in a Running Car
So while the answer to the question “can you leave your car on while pumping gas” is technical yes, the real-world answer is a resounding no. Turn off the vehicle and take the keys out of the ignition each time you need to fill up with gas.
There are additional safety precautions you can take while filling up your car besides turning it off. Avoid using your cell phone and never smoke or vape while filling up with gas, advises Fix. Static electricity can and has been produced while talking on the phone. In the car, leave your phone behind.