Buying gas? Turn off your engine, don't smoke (duh)

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND
  • Updated: January 31, 2014 - 11:12 PM

Q: I was wondering if you could address a common occurrence — people fueling their vehicles with the engine running. I filled up this morning and was the only one of about 10 cars that did not have the engine running while pumping into the gas tank. The other complaint is smokers who stand by their car, cigarette in one hand and gas nozzle in the other. I realize that a lot of these people don’t know how to read, but maybe you can educate some of them.

A: With most vehicles built since 1996 when the Federal OBDII diagnostic and emissions standards were introduced, removing the fuel filler cap with the engine running will defeat the evaporative emissions system and trigger a “Check engine” light. A scan tool is often necessary to clear this fault code.

Here’s my take on your comment about refueling while smoking; it’s not an issue about the ability to read or even common sense. Most folks have some concept of the inherent and obvious danger of having an open flame in close proximity to highly volatile fuel vapors. But since they’ve never experienced a fuel fire while refueling and haven’t actually witnessed this happening to anyone else, they’ve become numb to the danger and fail to take the obvious and simple precaution — extinguish the smoke before opening the fuel filler cap.

Wasn’t it comedian Ron White who said it best? “You can’t fix stupid.”

Q: I have a 2013 Ford F150 purchased new one year ago that now has 7,795 miles. Recently the driver display reads “Battery saver — turn off or restart engine.” My dealer ran numerous tests and found nothing wrong and said I should drive the vehicle more. I worry that one morning my truck will not start.

A: A quick Internet check revealed that you’re not the only newer F150 owner experiencing this issue. The battery saver system is designed to prevent the battery from being discharged to the point where it may fail to start the vehicle. This message will illuminate if, with the engine not running, the ignition switch has been left in the on position for 45 minutes or battery voltage reaches a low state of charge.

With the low mileage on your year-old truck, it’s possible the battery voltage is somewhat low due to infrequent use, short trips and cold weather.

Make sure the battery cables, terminals and connections are clean and secure. Fully charge the battery at home and then drive the truck for a week or so to see if the battery saver message comes on again. If the message returns after a number of drive cycles, you may well need to drive it more frequently and/or more miles — or utilize a “battery tender” to keep the battery charged while parked. And ask the dealer to let you know if they see any service bulletins addressing this issue.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 0 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto 4
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Odorizzi 0 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 3
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Hammel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Tanaka 3
St. Louis - LP: J. Kelly 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: W. Peralta 5
NY Mets - WP: D. Gee 5 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. McCarthy 2
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 1 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: C. Lee 0
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wood 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 2
Cleveland - WP: Z. McAllister 3 FINAL
Detroit - LP: A. Sanchez 2
Washington - WP: D. Storen 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: M. Dunn 3
Seattle - LP: F. Rodney 2 FINAL
Texas - WP: P. Figueroa 3
Boston - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: L. Garcia 4
Kansas City - WP: D. Duffy 6 FINAL
Houston - LP: J. Williams 4
Toronto 0 Postponed
Minnesota 0
Oakland - LP: D. Pomeranz 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 5
Colorado - LP: J. De La Rosa 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: A. Cashner 4
Los Angeles - LP: J. Howell 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 2
Chicago 86 FINAL
Charlotte 91
Indiana 101 FINAL
Orlando 86
Atlanta 111 FINAL
Milwaukee 103
Dallas 105 FINAL
Memphis 106
Detroit 111 FINAL
Oklahoma City 112
Houston 100 FINAL
New Orleans 105
LA Lakers 113 FINAL
San Antonio 100
Brooklyn 85 FINAL
Cleveland 114
Philadelphia 100 FINAL
Miami 87
Utah 136 FINAL
Minnesota 130
Washington 118 FINAL
Boston 102
Toronto 92 FINAL
New York 95
Golden State 116 FINAL
Denver 112
LA Clippers 104 FINAL
Portland 110
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Montreal 5 FINAL(OT)
Tampa Bay 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 4
Dallas 3 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Red Bull New York 2
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters