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Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: Everything You Need to Know!

Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: Everything You Need to Know!

Ford started the capless fuel fillers or capless gas tank trend back in 2009 for the 2009 Ford Explorer. Fast forward, there are now a number of automakers that use capless fuel fillers on their vehicles including Fiat Chrysler, Honda, General Motors, and others. This technology no longer needs you to unscrew the gas cap everytime you fill up your tank. All you have to do is stick the gas nozzle from the pump in and it will automatically insert in the filler. Filling up your gas tank has never been so convenient. However, capless gas tanks have some drawbacks too and one of them is a capless gas tank check engine light which is usually caused by the flap in the filler neck not sealing completely due to dirt or grime. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Capless gas tanks are getting more and more popular today but there are complaints and reports made by vehicle owners that are having issues with this technology. Capless gas tank check engine light is one of the most common problems. But what is a capless gas tank? How does it work? What triggers the capless gas tank check engine light? Continue reading and we will tell you what you need to know!


Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: What is a capless fuel tank?


Many vehicles today are equipped with capless fuel fillers. It makes refueling easier since you don’t have to remove the gas cap before inserting the gas pump nozzle. You can directly insert the hose into the fuel filler reducing gas fumes since there is no waiting between the time that the nozzle is removed and when the gas tank is sealed. 


Like the name suggests, you won’t see any gas cap on the gas tank but you will see a small spring-loaded flap in the neck of the filler that keeps the gas fumes from escaping from the gas tank. This is made possible because the spring-loaded flaps are equipped with O-ring-like seals and they are the ones that prevent the fumes from escaping. 


One of the first automakers that introduced the capless fuel filler system was Ford. They made the system interlinked with their keyless entry system that locks the capless fuel filler’s flap when the car doors are locked.  


The capless gas tank feature aims to provide convenience when you refuel, lessen the emission or the evaporating fuel, prevent vehicle-theft incidents, and to reduce the occurrence of filling up the vehicle with the wrong type of fuel. 


Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: How do you fill a capless gas tank?


Refilling fuel on a capless gas tank is easier thanks to its small trap door that opens up when it senses the pump nozzle. However, you need to know the proper procedure on how to fill a capless gas tank to ensure that you won’t experience problems such as a capless gas tank check engine light. 


Most of the vehicles with capless gas tanks have some special instructions written on a sticker found on the inside of the gas door. The procedure is pretty simple, you insert the fuel nozzle, release the pump trigger when the tank is full, wait five seconds, and then pull the pump nozzle out of the filler. 


There are instances when you forget to fill your vehicle up with gas and before you know it, you ran out of fuel. If this happens, keep in mind that you can never use a portable fuel can to refill your tank with gas because it can damage the capless fuel system. It is because there is a flexible spot on a portable plastic gas container that can cause some problems inside the fuel filler. 


Automakers like Ford, Chevrolet and Honda are aware of this problem so they made and included a special funnel that you can use to insert into the fuel filler area when you need to add emergency fuel. Failing to use the special funnel when filling up emergency fuel can also set off a capless gas tank check engine light. A visit to a repair shop or your dealer might also be needed to fix the problem. 

Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: What are the common capless gas tank problems?

There have been many reports from a lot of car owners that they are having problems with their capless gas tanks.  While it provides a pretty convenient way to fill up your gas tanks, it is not built perfect and it has some flaws, too. Here some of the common problems of a capless gas tank.

  • Capless gas tank check engine light. 


Everybody hates the check engine light. It makes you think that there is something wrong with your engine, transmission, or your catalytic converter. It can be a hassle looking for the reason why your check engine light is illuminating thinking it could be another expensive fix. 

If you have checked all the possible culprits that triggered the check engine light but found nothing, then it must be a capless gas tank check engine light. The capless gas tank can trigger the check engine light, too. 

The check engine light will be triggered if there are debris or dirt build ups on the capless fuel filler area. The build ups can cause the flap in the filler neck to not close completely. Many car owners have reported that they too, have experienced this problem. Some even had their cars checked for possible engine problems but the problem turned out to be a capless gas tank check engine light. It can be a hassle to go through the trouble of finding the problem only to find out that it is a capless gas tank check engine light.

The dirt build ups do not only trigger the capless gas tank check engine light, it can also trigger the trouble code P0457 or the evaporative emission control system leak. Fortunately, there is a solution for this problem and it just requires a few easy steps. You can choose any of the following methods.

Method Number 1. This method will require you to use compressed air and a funnel. To begin, blow the capless fuel filler and get your tunnel. Place the funnel inside and stick it out, begin to blow the fuel filler again and stick the funnel inside for at least 30 times. 

Method Number 2. You just need to use the funnel for this method. All you have to do is take the funnel in and out of the filler until all the buildups break loose. This method requires patience and time. One car owner reported that it took two hours for the mechanic to do this method until the capless gas tank check engine light turned off and there have been no problems or issues experienced caused by the capless gas tank ever since. 

Method Number 3. This method requires you to use your vehicle’s special funnel and a brake cleaner or a WD-40. Get the funnel, insert it in the fuel filler, and spray some brake cleaner or WD-40. You can repeat the process as many times as needed to make sure that the dirt build ups are gone.  

These three methods can come in handy every time you encounter a capless gas tank check engine light since dirt build ups are usually the ones that trigger it. If the problem still persists even after cleaning the filler, then have your unit checked to get the right diagnosis. 

  • Gas pump stuck in the capless gas tank.

Gas pump stuck in the tank is one of the common problems of a capless gas tank. Many have reported and complained about this problem on various automotive websites and help centers. This problem might be caused by some issues with the fuel station nozzle. The fuel pump nozzle might have a loose or gapped sleeve at the tip of the spout. 

You will be able to remove it on your own but there are instances where you won’t be able to. If ever you experience this problem, you can spin the gas line and push in and out. Do it several times and you should be able to remove it. Just remember that you don’t have to use much force or pull too hard since you might damage the flap. 

You can also try to pull out the nozzle by reaching down into the filler neck along the side of the spout using a long and thin object that can’t cause a spark. Use it to hold the flap open while you pull the fuel nozzle out.  

Sometimes, all the gas pump nozzle needs is a little push even deeper to be able to remove it. To prevent this problem from happening, you can examine the fuel nozzle’s tip of the spout before you fill your tank up. If the tip of the spout has gaps then it might not be safe to use it. 

  • The capless gas tank won’t open.

There are instances where the flap won’t open even if you try to insert the fuel nozzle in. If you happen to encounter this problem while you are trying to fill up your gas tank, it is advised that you should try to find and use another gas pump nozzle on the gas station. Small nozzles don’t usually open the fuel filler flap even after several attempts. The gas nozzle has to be the correct size to make the flap open. 


Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: What are the advantages and disadvantages of a capless gas tank engine?

Capless gas tanks are created to make refueling more convenient and easy. Although this type of gas tank can cause problems like a triggered capless gas tank check engine light, it still has a lot of advantages. But will the pros outweigh the cons? Let us find out!


  • Capless gas tank advantages.


One of the advantages of a capless gas tank is that there will be a lesser chance of having gas smell on your hands. As easy as flipping the fuel door open, you can stick the pump nozzle in and you can already fill up your gas tank. There’s no need to unscrew the gas cap which is one less contact with the source of the gasoline odor. 

It can also be considered an advantage when you don’t have to worry about scratching your paint caused by a dangling gas cap. You can also have a peace of mind knowing that you won’t lose your gas cap or forget to put the gas cap back on and drive off with a dangling gas cap. 


Capless gas tanks can also reduce the risk of having your fuel siphoned by some bad guys. The capless gas tank system utilizes many mechanisms in the fuel filler neck making it difficult to insert a hose and siphon the fuel out. 

  • Disadvantages of a capless gas tank.


You won’t be able fill up your tank even more after hearing the gas station pump click. Doing so can increase the gas smell coming from your vehicle. It is advised that you stop filling up your tank when you hear the gas nozzle click. 


You need to use the special funnel if ever you have to refuel from a gas can in case of emergencies. It might not be that much of a problem since your vehicle probably has that funnel but it will take the gas’ odor after using it and you might be able to smell it even in the trunk.


If you need gas from your car for emergency use such as for generators or helping a friend out, you won’t be able to siphon it from your car even if you have the tools for it. 


Capless Gas Tank Check Engine Light: Final Word


The capless gas tank check engine light might be an issue for some but if you know how to deal with it and fix it, it won’t seem like a problem anymore. Capless gas tanks make filling our tanks up more easy and convenient. It is something we didn’t know we needed.