Is It Wrong To Pump Gas With Your Car On? -Best Way To Fuel Your Car & Safety Precautions

Last Updated on February 4, 2023 by Leepu Da Maxim

It is advisable to stop your car’s engine before refueling at petrol stations. Fueling with a running vehicle can be very dangerous for the car owner and the vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to know the consequences of fueling with a car on so you can avoid different dangerous situations and stay safe.

Key Takeaways

  • When you are pumping gasoline, you should not use electronic devices such as cell phones, which can create sparks
  • It is ideal to turn off the engine to avoid any potential sparks while pumping gasoline
  • You should not overfill the tank because overfilling gasoline can spill and create a fire hazard
  • Fueling with the engine running can create sparks that can ignite gasoline fumes and lead to a fire

What Are The Dangers Of Fueling With The Car Running?

Dangers Of Fueling With The Car Running

In most cases, pumping gas when the car is running is not dangerous, but the act may be dangerous in some situations. Let’s discuss some of the costs of filling the car with gas while the engine is running.

Car Damage

Fueling with the car running increases the chances of accidental ignition since every part of the car is hot when it is running. If a tiny drop of gasoline gets in the wrong chamber, it is enough for the engine, exhaust pipe, and catalytic converter to light up. Therefore, to be safe, it is essential to avoid such hazardous situations by turning off the car when fueling. You should also unplug all devices that may be charging and plug them back in after you finish fueling.

Dangerous Vapors

When you open the hood, then gas vapors may flee. The vapors have plenty of side effects on our environment and inhabitants too. Nonetheless, some cars have a unique feature that recovers vapors hence helping to save the environment. If the gas fumes combine with the air, they may result in congestion when breathing. Additionally, these fumes also contribute to global warming. You should avoid pumping gas with a car running to help protect our environment from harmful vapors.

Will Fueling With The Car Running Damage Your Car

Will Fueling With The Car Running Damage Your Car

It’s unlikely that your car will get damaged when you fuel with the engine running. However, the danger of causing a fire is more substantial than the potential damage to your car. Although it may not damage your vehicle, it does not mean that it will not cause any issues. Moreover, it may turn the check engine light on. Cars are designed to detect any slight gasoline vapor leak from a fuel tank, fuel line, and engine. Sticking the nozzle into the pump gas causes you to open your sealed gas tank, allowing the gasoline vapors to escape. The computer on your vehicle will detect a vapor leak triggering the check engine light.

Best Way To Fuel Your Car In A Gas Station

When you arrive at the gas station, ensure that you’ve read all the provided signs for your safety. Some warning signs include turning your engine off when fueling, not smoking, and grounding yourself from static electricity. You should carefully obey these rules.

These rules are more than warnings. You can think of what would happen if the fuel spills out of the car’s gas tank. Just a single spark from static electricity will light the gasoline. The static electricity is probably starting to form the tips of your fingers. Whenever you get in or out of your vehicle, you generate some static electricity, especially during winter when you are wearing more clothes and your clothing material rubs against your car seat’s fabric, thus causing a charge. When you touch any metal, including the gas pump or the tank, a spark occurs.

Fortunately, you can discharge the static on the body by grounding yourself. The process involves touching any other metal except for the one on the gas pump. If you have gloves on, you can remove them for the grounding process to be effective. Once the charge goes, do not get into the vehicle, or you will have to start all over when you want to remove the pump.

Fueling the car isn’t the most exciting task, but you should avoid bringing your cell phone and other electronic devices to keep you busy during the mission. Electronics produce a discharge that may ignite the combustible gas vapors. It is essential to wait until you fill the gas and leave before using your phone for your safety.

Other Safety Measures To Take When Fueling

1. If you want to dispense gasoline into a container, ensure that you have an approved portable container. It helps if you place it on the ground to avoid igniting the fuel vapors with static electricity. Also, ensure that you fill the container not more than 95% full as the fuel may expand.

2. Tighten the cap after filing to avoid spillage. If a gasoline spill occurs on your container, give it time to evaporate before placing the container in the car.

3. While at the station, you should avoid prolonged breathing of the gasoline vapors. Gasoline should be used in an open area to allow plenty of fresh air.

4. Never use your mouth to siphon gasoline or put it in your mouth for any reason. Gasoline is highly harmful and fatal when swallowed. In case you swallow it, avoid inducing vomiting.

5. Gasoline should be kept away from the eyes and skin as it irritates.

6. Smoking a cigarette at a gas station poses a considerable risk of a fire while pumping gas. A loose piece of cigarette ash is enough to ignite gasoline vapors in the air.

7. In case of fire, don’t remove the nozzle. Instead, move away from the car immediately and alert the attendants to shut off the fuel.

8. Many people may be in a hurry and get distracted when fueling. This may cause them to drive away with the pump nozzle attached to the tank—lack of attention when fueling can cause hazardous effects. If the nozzle gets damaged, you will be asked to repair the equipment, and it will cost you more money. Staying alert is the best virtue while at the station.


Filling up the tank while the engine is running can sometimes be hazardous. Turning your car off ensures that there is no current running through the wires and any hot component has the chance to cool down. With your car engine off, there are minimized possibilities of fire ignition.