Can You Put Gas in a Running Car?

2022 Chevrolet Traverse

Can you put gas in a running car and is it safe to do so? Pumping gas while your car is still on is certainly tempting when you’d rather spend those minutes in a heated or air-conditioned space, and it’s not inherently unsafe. So, why are there signs at the gas pump directing you not to do it? The reason is that there are safety risks—and they’re significant enough that allowing customers to pump gas into running cars is a liability for gas stations. 

Get the details in this guide from the North Bend Chevrolet service center, and be sure to reach out with any other questions about car care and safety on Issaquah roads!

Why is it Bad to Put Gas in a Running Car?

Since you can pump gas with your car on and it’s not unsafe in and of itself, why is it bad to put gas in a running car, regardless? There are several good reasons that you’ll see placards on the gas pump directing you to turn your car off before filling up:

  • If gas vapors come into contact with static electricity, they can ignite. And cause a fire. This outcome is more likely if you’ve left the engine running while you fill up. Even cell phone use can create static electricity, and it may be difficult to ascertain the actual risk of vapors coming into contact with it.
  • You may accidentally set off the check engine light. Your vehicle is designed to detect fuel vapor leaks from anywhere in the fuel tank, fuel lines, to the engine. When gasoline vapors escape via the tank cap when you insert the nozzle to fill up, it may trigger the check engine light. You’ll then need to reset the check engine light—otherwise, you won’t know when there’s a more serious issue with the engine that needs to be checked out by a technician.

Schedule Auto Service in North Bend Today

Whether you need routine maintenance or replacement fuel and emissions system parts, North Bend Chevrolet has you covered! Bellevue-area drivers can browse and order genuine OEM parts online and schedule service online in minutes. You can also contact our service center directly for car-care assistance, whether you’re checking transmission fluid or looking for an affordable oil change near Snoqualmie. 


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