Mike vs. Housemate: Who's Right About Proper Fill-Up Technique?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Oct 27, 2015

Dear Car Talk:

Please settle an argument between my housemate and I: Should you fill your tank from the side opposite the pump -- i.e., stretch the pump hose across your car? I say you should not do this.

-- Michael

Well, to settle the first argument, it should be "my housemate and me," Mike.

Unfortunately, you lost the second argument, too. If the hose reaches the fuel filler neck and "seats" in there well enough to allow you to activate the fuel pump, you can pump away.

Many modern gas pumps still use a rubber bellows around the filler nozzle that seals the filler hole and captures gasoline vapors, rather than letting them escape into the atmosphere.

Those rubber bellows are being phased out, but there are still a lot of them around.

On those pumps, if that seal is not formed, the pump won't activate -- and you'll be standing there listening to the handle go "click, click" without pumping any gas.

But if your car is narrow enough, and you park close enough to a pump that you can reach the hose across your trunk and fit it comfortably in the filler neck, you have our blessing, and the blessing of the petroleum industrial complex, Michael.

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