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what does the check fuel fill inlet light mean

Check Fuel Fill Inlet – What it Means and How to Resolve It

| by Michelle Yang, Esq.

Warning lights on your car’s dashboard are essential to understand and look out for. They’re meant to notify drivers when attention to an issue is needed. While some warnings can be extremely serious, others are subtle and call for a simple fix. 

Some widely known warning lights include the check engine light, seatbelt, low fuel, tire pressure, and washers. However, many drivers don’t know what check fuel fill inlet means on their Fords. In this post, we’ll review what the fuel fill inlet is, possible causes for the “check fuel inlet” warning sign, and how to fix it.

If you’ve purchased or leased a defective Ford, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Cali Lemon Lawyers for a free case consultation today.

What is Fuel Fill Inlet?

what is fuel fill inlet

Fuel fill inlets are the openings where fuel is poured into your Ford’s gas tank. For example, when you’re filling up at a gas station, this is where you’ll put the nozzle of your gas pump and fill your tank with gasoline. It comprises the gas cap cover and an inlet pipe that enters the car’s gas tank.

What does Check Fuel Fill Inlet mean?

what does check fuel fill inlet mean

Check fuel fill inlet means either a low or empty gas tank or poor gas flow from the fuel pump to the gas tank. When this happens, the check engine light will flash on your car’s dashboard, indicating an issue with your car’s fuel system. The check fuel fill inlet warning sign has been a cause for concern for multiple Ford cars including Mustangs, Fusions, F150s, Explorers and others.

What Are The Possible Causes of Check Fuel Fill Inlet?

Here are some of the culprits of the check fuel fill inlet.

1. Loose fuel cap

A loose fuel cap or missing cap is the most common culprit of a fuel inlet warning light. The fuel cap is an essential component of the evaporative emissions (EVAP) system, and for good reason.

  • For starters, a gas cap prevents fuel leakage and dirt or debris from entering your fuel tank.
  • A vacuum pressure seal is formed when the cap is properly secured to the inlet, allowing pressurized fuel to flow smoothly through the system.
  • Furthermore, the fuel cap ensures that dangerous gases and pollutants are contained within the tank, preventing their release into the environment.
  • The fuel cap also traps fuel vapor that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, allowing your car to reuse them.
  • As such, when the cap is not tightened correctly or damaged, it can cause gas leaks and low gas mileage.

2. Over Tightening

If you overtighten the fuel intake cap, you risk damaging the rubber seals, allowing gasses from the tank to escape through the fuel cap. This will also cause the instrument cluster to check the fuel tank fill inlet error message.

3. Dirt and Debris

Dirt is also a primary culprit in checking fuel inlet lights, especially in vehicles with capless seals. Smudge build-up and debris can get caught between the spring-loaded lid and the walls, causing an EVAP leak. 

With newer models, this issue was addressed by adding a flap at the beginning of the inlet, but as the fuel door, it is also prone to losing tension and allowing debris to enter. Fixing this problem is as simple as cleaning the seal and getting a replacement when damage is detected on the fuel cap or tank inlet.

Detecting Gas Cap Issues

detecting gas cap issues

Generally, there are two ways in which you can detect gas cap issues; not tightening and fuel smells.

Fuel Cap not Tightening

A built-in mechanism makes a click when the fuel caps are adequately tightened on the fuel fill inlets. If it does not click when tightened, it is likely worn or damaged. In this case, a replacement is preferable.

Fuel Smell

When the fuel fill inlet cap has compromised sealing, fuel vapors will escape into the surrounding area. The vapors release a stronger petroleum odor as you approach the gas door. In other cases, the smells may be because of a missing fuel cap. In this case, however, you will know when the dashboard fuel filler cap light illuminates.

Vacuum Pressure Leak

vacuum pressure leak

For the fuel pump and engine to receive enough fuel, a constant pressure inside the fuel tank is required.  If there is a vacuum pressure leak in your car’s fuel system from the fuel cap, piping, or tank, the check fuel fill inlet light on your dashboard will illuminate.

Loose Fuel Door

The fuel door mechanism is spring-tensioned to keep it flush with the body of the car. However, tension can decrease with time, and the fuel door can begin to sit loosely. 

This would not be an issue with a standard system, but there are vehicles with Ford’s Easy Fuel capless fuel filler system, which relies on the tight seal to keep the vapors contained. When the fuel door doesn’t shut tight, the car’s sensor will report an EVAP leak or the check fuel inlet error code.

EVAP leaking

A leaking or faulty component in the EVAP system can cause the check fuel fill inlet on your car’s dashboard. If this is the case, the check engine light will appear on the dashboard alongside the fuel filler error warning light.

A minor issue, such as an improperly covered fuel tank, could be the culprit. However, a more severe problem, such as damaged or broken evaporative emission control system components like the pressure sensor, could also be to blame.

Faulty Fuel Tank Pressure Sensor

The FTP sensor, as the name implies, measures the gas pressure in the fuel system. It is a vital component of the evaporative emission control system (EVAP). This allows you to determine if a fuel system leak came about by evaporation. 

This can result in engine stalling, poor acceleration, poor gas mileage, and difficult starting. The solution to this problem is to get a certified mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem.

How Do I Check My Car’s Fuel tank Fill Inlet?

how to check your car's fuel tank fill inlet

Here’s a quick guide to inspecting your car’s fuel fill inlet.

1. Inspect the Gas Cap and Seal

Start by ensuring that the fuel fill inlet is sealed properly. Park your car and turn off the engine. Open the fuel door using the provided button or latch. The fuel fill inlet on your vehicle is on the right or left side, towards the back. Examine the area around the fuel fill inlet for any signs of leakage. 

If any are visible, open the fuel door, unscrew the gas cap, and inspect it for damage. Inspect the seals; they should be intact, not worn or cracked, and ensure that the fuel cap is in excellent condition. Keep in mind that even the slightest crack can allow gases from the tank to escape.

2. Examine Fuel Fill Inlet

Examine every component in and out. Use light to illuminate dark areas. Look for issues like rips, wear, and cracks. As aforementioned, a seemingly minor tear can result in extensive damage in the long run.

3. Use a Diagnostics Tool

If the fuel fill inlet and the gas caps are okay, the only way to figure out the problem is by using an OBD11 scan tool. This tool diagnoses your vehicle and retrieves registered codes that identify errors with your car. For example, if you have a P0457 code, it means an error on the EVAP system. You can also check your car’s user manual.

Following the visual inspection of your fuel filler cap and the system, you should repair or replace damaged parts as soon as possible.  Only use original parts designed for your vehicle to avoid any potential issues leading to a shortened life of your car’s fuel fill inlet. 

You can get directions on the manufacturer’s recommended parts from the user manual. After repairs and replacement, check to see if the light has gone off.

Clean the Cap and Fuel Fill Inlet Regularly

If you discover that the fuel inlet is dirty, you should clean it before proceeding with the rest of the problem-solving steps. To begin, gather a cleaning agent, a funnel, and a can of compressed air. This seems to be a commonly preferred method for cleaning the fuel filler and resolving the check fuel fill inlet message. 

Here are the steps to take to resolve the issues.

  • Open the fuel door and use compressed air to remove dirt and debris
  • Inject and remove the fuel filler funnel several times.
  • After closing the spring-loaded lid, spray the cleaning solution on it.
  • Using the fuel filler funnel, the solution extends into and out of the filler.
  • Repeat the previous two steps multiple times.
  • Then, to finish the job, spray some canned air.

FAQs About Check Fuel Fill Inlet Light

Here are commonly asked questions that will help you understand the Check Fuel Fill Inlet warning light.

How can I reset my car’s check fuel fill inlet?

Start by cleaning, repairing, and replacing the broken fuel cap in your fuel fill inlet or gas cap. This should solve the check fuel inlet issue. If this does not work, you may need to scan the computer system of your vehicle to obtain the fault codes. 

Many certified mechanics provide their customers with scanning services. Look for a competent mechanic to help you perform and understand the results of the scans. You may also get a vehicle diagnostics device and use it to check and remove error codes.

How much does it cost to fix a fuel fill inlet?

The price to repair a check fuel fill inlet varies based on the damage’s extent and the car’s make and model. For instance, a simple repair on a plastic fuel fill inlet for a small car would only run you a few hundred dollars, and close to $1,000 for a metal inlet for larger vehicles. On the other hand, the prices could amount to thousands if the whole fuel fill system needs replacing.

Can I drive with a check fuel fill inlet?

The simple answer is yes, but it will cost you a lot in gas. Also, driving while cognizant of check fuel fill inlet warning could significantly harm the car and potentially cause an accident. If you must drive, go slowly and avoid abrupt acceleration or deceleration. If possible, try to locate a secure location to stop, turn off the engine, and wait for assistance.

Where is the fuel fill inlet located?

It is the opening where you insert the gas nozzle to refuel your car. In most vehicles, this fuel inlet is hidden by your gas door, which you must open to access the cap.  The inlet is connected to the fuel tank via a pipe hidden inside your car’s chassis.  

What is EVAP?

The Evaporative Emission Control (EVAP) System seals ensure no pollutants escape from the fuel tank and fuel system into the environment. The importance of this system cannot be emphasized enough since fuel vapors contain a diverse range of hydrocarbons. 

Smog is created when hydrocarbons come into contact with sun and air. Because gasoline evaporates quickly, a vehicle with its fuel system exposed to the atmosphere can emit unwanted gasses throughout the day, even when not used. These uncontrolled pollutants contribute significantly in a vehicle’s pollution rating.

What is a fuel inlet restrictor?

A fuel inlet restrictor is a plate that prevents leaded fuel from being poured into an unleaded-powered vehicle. When both forms of fuel are still used in the vehicle, an inlet restrictor is installed. However, leaded fuel was later banned by regulators making this tool unnecessary, and manufacturers phased it out after a while. This means that it cannot be the cause of your problems.

The capless fuel system and fuel fill inlet; are they the same?

These two expressions have the same meaning. Despite being “capless,” the system still employs caps and flaps to prevent fuel leakage. The only difference is that it opens up when pushed with the fuel nozzle, while the cap system needs you to unscrew or twist the gas lid. As a result, the terms “check fuel fill inlet” (capless and non-capless) refer to the same fuel leakage problem.

Final Thoughts 

By now hopefully you have a better understanding of your car’s check fuel fill inlet light.  If your check fuel fill inlet light is on,  your car’s fuel fill system is compromised. With visual inspections and diagnostics devices and the steps outlined above, you can detect the cause of the problem and solve it.


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