14 Common Mistakes to Avoid at the Gas Station


Filling up your tank might seem like a no-brainer, but hidden dangers lurk at the gas station! From costly mistakes to safety hazards, a quick pit stop can turn into a bigger headache than you bargained for. This guide will unveil 14 often-overlooked missteps to prevent at the pump, ensuring a smooth, safe, and wallet-friendly gas station experience.

Leaving the Engine Running


Keeping your engine on while refueling isn’t just unsafe—it’s illegal in many places. This can spark a fire or cause fumes to accumulate, posing serious risks. An idling engine increases the chances of mechanical failure and unnecessarily pollutes the environment. Remember to turn off your engine when you pull up to the pump.

Using Your Cell Phone


Despite the debate, using a phone can distract and potentially ignite fumes due to static electricity. It’s best to put it away to stay safe. Several incidents have been attributed to static electricity from cell phone usage igniting gasoline vapors. To prevent such risks, it’s wise to finish your call or text before stepping out of your car.

Smoking Near the Pumps

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Gas stations are filled with flammable fumes! A single spark from a lighter, match, or even fireworks can trigger a fire. Extinguish cigarettes and all smoking materials before you even hit the pump. It’s not worth the risk; keep all open flames far away from the gas station for your safety and everyone else’s.

Ignoring Warning Signs


Always read and adhere to the safety instructions and warnings at the gas station. These are not merely suggestions but essential guidelines to prevent accidents. Failing to follow these signs can lead to spills, overflows, or worse. If a pump appears to be malfunctioning, inform the station attendant instead of attempting to fix it yourself.

Using the Wrong Fuel Grade

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The right fuel grade is crucial for your vehicle’s performance and longevity. Using a lower octane than your vehicle requires can lead to engine knocking, which is damaging over time. Conversely, opting for a higher octane fuel than necessary won’t boost performance but will hurt your wallet. Always check your owner’s manual to know the recommended fuel type for your vehicle.

Not Securing the Gas Cap


After refueling, it’s important to make sure the gas cap is tight. Having a loose or missing gas cap causes fuel to evaporate, wasting money and increasing emissions. Furthermore, it can trigger your vehicle’s check engine light, leading to unnecessary stress and a possible trip to the mechanic.

Over Fueling

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When the pump automatically shuts off, resist adding just a bit more fuel. Topping off can cause spills and allow harmful vapors to escape into the air. Moreover, it can flood the vapor recovery system designed to keep these vapors from harming the environment, potentially leading to vehicle damage.

Overlooking Static Electricity


Static electricity is a silent hazard at gas stations, often ignited by simple actions like re-entering your vehicle during refueling. To minimize risk, touch a metal surface away from the nozzle to discharge any static before touching the pump. Always remain outside your vehicle while pumping gas to avoid building up static.

Pumping While Sitting in the Car

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Staying inside the car during refueling might seem convenient, especially in bad weather, but it increases the risk of static electricity buildup. Always exit your vehicle and stay attentive to the refueling process. This reduces static risks and allows you to monitor for any issues at the pump.

Using Gasoline Additives Without Research


While additives can benefit your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency, using the wrong type can cause damage. Understanding what each additive does and whether it’s suitable for your vehicle is essential. Always read the labels and consult your vehicle’s manual or a mechanic before adding any substances to your fuel.

Pumping with Plastic Containers

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When you need to carry extra fuel, use only containers designed for gasoline. Improper containers may not provide adequate ventilation or might react chemically with gasoline. Additionally, always place containers on the ground before filling to avoid static electricity buildup.

Pumping Gasoline into Diesel Vehicles (and Vice Versa)


Diesel and gas engines are built for different fuels. Gasoline lacks the lubricating properties diesel needs, damaging the fuel pump and injectors. The wrong ignition temperature can cause engine knocking and overheating, leading to expensive repairs. Play it safe – stop pumping if you realize your mistake. Most importantly, if such a thing happens, don’t start the engine – that spreads the wrong fuel, causing big problems. TCall a professional immediately if you happen to do this.

Ignoring Air Pressure Stations


Many people pass through gas stations to use the air pressure stations for their tires. It’s important not to overlook this maintenance task. Properly inflated tires ensure better vehicle efficiency and safety. Underinflated or overinflated tires can wear unevenly, reducing their lifespan and potentially causing hazardous driving conditions.

Neglecting to Check Oil Levels and Fluids

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If you’re stopping by a gas station, it’s a good opportunity to check your oil and other fluid levels. Running on low oil or coolant can severely damage your engine. Most stations provide facilities to check and top off these vital fluids, helping you maintain your vehicle’s health and avoid costly repairs down the road.


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