You probably see folks filling up in Austin, TX, doing it all the time. Chances are you've done it before. I used to do it, I only stopped cause I was too lazy though, not because I realized it could be hurting my truck.

Come to think of it, I remember when I was a kid, my stepdad used to use his body to rock his truck to trick the gas pump into squeezing more gasoline into his tank. What the heck was that about it?

Topping off was something I did when I was younger, probably some carryover from my stepdad's habit, but I eventually stopped. But honestly, I just got tired of playing that game of click, squirt, click, squirt. I didn't know it was bad.

If you haven't figured it out yet, it's overfilling your gas tank. Doing it can hurt your vehicle. And, yeah, sure there's a little room left in your tank after that click, but that's by design. The gas pump automatically stops when sensors indicate the car’s tank is full. At that point, you should put the nozzle away.


Here's what AutoTrader says about topping off:

Overfilling the gas tank can ruin the car’s evaporative emission control system. The EVAP system prevents gasoline fumes from escaping from the tank and fuel lines into the atmosphere. While the EVAP canister is efficient at filtering gasoline vapor, it’s not designed for liquid gasoline coming from an overfilled gas tank.

The potential negative effects on the vehicle, the environment, and your wallet should overshadow any benefit of forcing another half gallon of gas into your tank.

Tips to help prevent overfilling:

  • Stay next to the pump in case it doesn’t automatically shut off.
  • Pay attention while filling up your tank.
  • Stop pumping when the handle clicks off.
  • Do not “top off” when refueling.

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