One area of your vehicle that remains unchanged for a long time is the fuel cap. Since its inception, the fuel cap has been used primarily to keep fuel in your tank while keeping debris out.
However, technology is evolving, and there’s a gradual shift towards capless fuel fillers. Not only are they convenient and safer, but they also prevent fuel vapors from escaping to the environment.
Ford introduced the capless gas tanks in the 2009 Ford Explorer to make refueling our cars easier. When coming up with the capless fuel fillers, the company said they prided themselves in developing innovative solutions to our everyday problems.
And true to their word, they did. Currently, the technology is standard in vehicles from Honda, Fiat, Chrysler, and General Motors, among others.
However, like any other system, the Ford capless fuel fillers have problems you need to know.
Let’s get going.
4 Ford Capless Fuel Filler Problems To Be Aware Of
There are a few things you should be aware of before investing in a car with a capless fuel filler. These include:
Partially Sealed Gas Tank Flap
We all know the dreaded check engine light that might pop up while you’re on your drive. And since the light may come on due to a myriad of reasons, some would assume that its source is a partially closed flap that seals the fuel tank.
Sometimes, debris or dirt builds up around the capless fuel filler opening, causing a blockage that prevents the mechanism from closing completely.
The flap plays the role of a gas cap in capless tanks, and being part of the evaporative emission control (EVAP) system, it prevents fuel vapors from leaking into the atmosphere.
In other words, it captures the vapors and directs them to a canister, where they transfer to the intake manifolds in measured quantities.
Your Ford’s ECU checks on this and ensures that the fuel system is still pressurized, sealed, and working. When the capless fuel filler is open, the fuel vapors leak into the environment, reducing the gas tank pressure.
This is undesirable and may lead to higher fuel wastage and consumption within the engine. Consequently, the ECU triggers the check engine light to inform you of a leak.
The Gas Tank Metal Flap Gets Stuck
Ford fuel tanks have a metal flap that acts as a seal preventing debris and dirt from getting in and mixing with the fuel. The metal flap also prevents cases of siphoning, as you can’t access the tank easily, which is the case with the capped gas tanks.
However, debris and smudge buildup between the walls and the spring-loaded flap results in a partial closure.
Consequently, the flap loses tension, gets stuck, and allows moisture and debris into the tank.
Keeping it in this position is dangerous as sufficient debris buildup will ultimately affect your Ford’s fuel and emission system. And soon, you’ll be getting a check engine light.
Fortunately, solving the problem is relatively easy, as all you have to do is clean the seal or replace it if it’s broken.
The Capless Gas Tank Flap Fails To Open
Capless fuel systems use a spring-loaded enclosure that automatically seals your gas tank after you remove the fuel pump nozzle. Sometimes, the flap may fail to open when inserting a fuel pump nozzle.
If you find yourself with such a problem, the issue could be that you’re refueling with an incompatible nozzle.
For safety reasons, these flaps would not open unless you try to insert a proper fuel pump nozzle. Any nozzle that’s too big or small would not open the flap.
The Gas Pump Gets Stuck
Have you ever been to a gas station for refueling only to get the fuel pump nozzle stuck in your capless gas tank? You’re not alone, and the problem is common not only to Ford but to all vehicles with capless gas tanks.
The issue may arise due to faulty gas pump nozzles, which may have gapped or broken spout sleeves.
We have seen some situations whereby the gas pump gets stuck, and you can’t remove it no matter the amount of force you apply.
It can sometimes be so severe that fuel station attendants may advise you to call the fire department. To your surprise, they, too, may fail to remove it.
Such a problem was common in Ford vehicles made between 2008 and 2011 that had capless gas tank systems. Current models are less problematic, and you can easily dislodge a stuck gas pump nozzle.
Here’s what you should do if you ever find yourself with a stuck gas pump:
- Rotate the gas pump nozzle and push it in and out while feeling the tension. Repeat the process until you’re able to remove it effortlessly. Be careful while doing so, as too much force might ruin the flap or the nozzle, and you’ll be liable for both damages.
- Use a long thin object to reach down into the filler neck on the spout’s side to try and pull out the nozzle. Here, ensure that the object isn’t metallic and would not cause a spark. Fuel tank sparks are catastrophic, especially when they happen at gas stations.
- Push the gas pump nozzle deeper into the filler neck and see if it gets free when you pull it out. You must inspect the fuel nozzle’s spout for any modifications or gaps that may cause it to get stuck.
The Pros and Cons of the Capless Gas Tanks
If your car doesn’t have a capless gas tank, be sure your next one will. There’s a shift amongst automobile manufacturers to adopt Ford’s capless gas tank system that, until now, seem to be flawless.
Pros of the Capless Gas Tanks
- Fewer chances of fuel smell on your hands
Whether you like it or not, chances of coming into contact with gasoline while fueling is common with capped gas tanks.
It’s so because you must manually open the gas cap to access the tank before fueling your car. Luckily, capless gas tanks are semi-automatic, and all you have to do is push the nozzle through the flap.
- Fewer cases of gas tank vandalism
The open and free-for-all nature of the capped gas tanks means that someone may maliciously put dirt, sugar, salt, or even water into your gas tank. And all these are foreign materials that will damage your Ford’s fuel system.
- Reduces cases of siphoning
We know how common it is to siphon fuel from a capped gas tank. With the capless gas tanks, manufacturers install anti-siphon valves that prevent any tubes from accessing the fuel within the tank.
- You don’t need to remember where you left your gas cap
How many times have you driven off without your gas cap? If you tend to be forgetful after fueling, then the capless system works best for you.
Cons of the Capless Gas Tanks
- Difficult to fuel without a funnel/gas pump
In addition to the problems we’ve discussed, you’ll find it hard fueling your Ford car while on the road. If you have some gas in a container, you can’t refuel unless you have a Ford funnel that directs the fuel into the tank.
Remember, never insert the traditional portable fuel cans, as these may damage your capless fuel filler.
The Takeaway of Capless Fuel Fillers
Capless gas tanks have been revolutionary since featuring in Ford’s 2009 models such as Lincoln MKS, F150, Expedition, Flex, and Escape.
They’re more convenient, longer-lasting, and secure compared to its predecessor. However, if you prefer the capped gas tanks, contact Ford to see if they still offer some models with them.