What Does “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Mean? [Causes And Fixes]

Whether it’s a serious issue or not, your attention is needed whenever your car’s dashboard lights up with a warning message. One of the warning messages that can come up on your dash is the “Check fuel fill inlet” message.

So, if you see this warning message on your dashboard, what does it mean?

It simply means your car’s fuel cap is damaged, loose, or contaminated with dirt. When there’s a problem with your vehicle’s fuel cap, the onboard computer reads the cap as opened. This is what triggers the “check fuel fill inlet” message.

However, other reasons could cause the “Check fuel inlet” message to come up on your dash.

In this article, we’ll highlight the probable causes of the “check fuel inlet” message in your car and signs of a bad fuel fill inlet. We’ll also point out steps to fix the “check fuel fill inlet” message and answer other related questions. Stick with me!  

What Is a Fuel Fill Inlet?

The fuel inlet consists of the fuel cap and the inlet pipe that leads to the fuel tank. It is where you place the fuel pump nozzle when fueling your car.

Due to its odd name, a lot of drivers don’t know it’s a part of their car that they interact with regularly. So when the “Check fuel fill inlet” message comes on, they are often confused.

Without the inlet, you can’t fuel your car. It can be found outside your car in the same compartment as the fuel tank.

What Does The “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Warning Message Mean?

The “check fuel fill inlet” message occurs mostly in Ford vehicles. Whenever this warning message comes up on your dashboard, it signals that your fuel cap has not been closed properly or that there is an EVAP leak near the fuel tank fill inlet.

The fuel cap covers the fuel fill inlet and is a vital part of the evaporative emissions (EVAP) system.

When the fuel cap is closed properly, it creates a vacuum pressure seal that keeps your fuel tank’s contents intact. This allows fuel to flow through the fuel system.

If the fuel cap is not closed properly, debris can get into the fuel tank, and there can be a vacuum leak. When this happens, the onboard computer sends the “check fuel fill inlet” message to your dashboard to call your attention to it.

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Is Driving With An Active “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Warning Dangerous?

Driving around with an active “check fuel fill inlet” warning may not put you in immediate danger. However, it can have a significant impact on the performance and health of your car.

If you drive with an active “check fuel fill inlet” warning, it can lead to many problems for your car. It can cause your car to run rough, cause very poor fuel mileage, and also cause your engine to stall.

If the warning message is triggered by a leaking fuel tank, you put yourself and other road users in danger when you continue to drive around without fixing it.

What To Do When The Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning Light Is On

When the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message comes up in your car, navigate to a safe place and turn off your engine. Then try to determine what the problem is and how it can be fixed.

So, how do you figure out what the problem is? You can do this by carefully examining the fuel cap and seal, the fuel door, and the fuel inlet. You should look out for cracks and any signs of leakage or wear.

You’ll have to repair or replace the damaged parts if you notice any cracks, leaks, or damage.

The Causes Of Check Fuel Fill Inlet Warning Message In Your Car

It’s not just a loose fuel cap or an EVAP leak that triggers the “Check fuel fill inlet” message in your car. Other factors can trigger the message; some of them include the following:

1. Clogged Fuel cap

When dirt builds up around the fuel cap, it can trigger the “Check fuel fill inlet” warning.

Dirt can get into the fuel cap, and as it accumulates over time, it can prevent it from closing properly. It can also cause pressure to build up in the tank if it blocks the vent on the fuel cap.

Letting dirt sit in the fuel cap for too long can also lead to the corrosion of vital parts of your fuel system.

The solution to this problem is to get the dirt out of the fuel cap with a can of compressed air. Release the compressed air into the vent in the fuel cap, and you can get all the dirt in the vent out.  

2. Damaged or loose fuel cap

The “check fuel fill inlet” warning message in your car could be the result of a damaged or loose fuel cap.

Your fuel tank’s gas cap could wear out or erode over time. When it does, it’s unable to close properly. This causes the onboard computer to always send “check fuel fill inlet” warning messages.

The best way to fix this is to get a replacement. Once the fuel cap is damaged, there isn’t much that can be done to repair it. However, tightening the fuel cap will do the trick if the fuel cap is loose.

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3. Overtightened Fuel cap

An overtightened gas cap can trigger your car’s “check fuel fill inlet” warning. When your fuel tank’s gas cap is tightened too firmly, it can cause pressure to build up in the tank and prevent fuel from flowing well.

It can also cause damage to the rubber seals on the gas cap and cause vapor to escape. To fix this, you only need to loosen the fuel cap a little, and the “Check fuel fill inlet” warning should disappear.

4. Leaking EVAP system

The EVAP system keeps and recycles vapors in the fuel tank. It prevents emissions, which can be dangerous to the environment, from escaping.

If the EVAP system leaks, it can trigger the “Check fuel fill inlet” warning message. It will also trigger the check engine light on your dashboard.

A loose fuel cap could be the reason for an EVAP leak. It could also be the result of a damaged component of the evaporative emissions control system.

To determine if your EVAP system is leaking, you can use an onboard diagnostic scanner (OBD-II). When scanning, look out for trouble codes P0455 and P0456; they indicate you have an EVAP leak.

All you may need to fix this is to tighten the fuel cap, but if the problem is with a component of the EVAP system, you’ll need to seek professional help.

Check the video below for how to fix an EVAP leak in your car.

YouTube video

5. Defective fuel tank pressure sensor

A defective fuel tank pressure sensor can trigger your car’s “check fuel fill inlet” warning.

The fuel tank pressure sensor (FTP) is responsible for monitoring the gas pressure in the fuel system. It senses when there’s an EVAP leak in your fuel tank.

So, if your fuel tank’s pressure sensor becomes defective, it will give inaccurate pressure readings.

The best solution to this is to replace the sensor. The replacement process can be complicated, so it’s best to seek the help of a mechanic.  

What Are The Signs Of A Bad Fuel Fill Inlet?

Aside from the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message, how else can you know there’s a problem with your fuel fill inlet?

The following signs can tip you off when there’s a problem with your car’s fuel fill inlet:

1. Fuel smell or leak

If your fuel cap is in good shape, it will prevent vapor and fuel smell from escaping. However, when it’s faulty, you constantly smell fuel in your car. Sometimes you may even notice fuel leakage around the fuel tank.

So if you smell fuel in your car or notice leaks around your fuel tank, it could be a sign of a problem with your fuel fill inlet.

2. Check engine light is on

The fuel cap seal is one of the many things that can cause your check engine light to come on.

The gas cap is a component of the evaporative emission system, and when it goes bad, your car’s computer will sense it. It then triggers the “check engine light” in your car.

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Although the check engine light could come on for various reasons, it could be because there’s a problem with your car’s fuel fill inlet.

3. The fuel cap is not sealed tightly

As stated earlier, the fuel cap is part of the fuel fill inlet system. It is designed to lock in place when it is closed.

So, if the fuel cap is not sealing properly after it’s fully tightened, it’s a sign that it’s worn out.

How To Prevent The “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Warning

Many things can trigger the “check fuel fill inlet” message in your car. The key to avoiding it is to carry out the necessary preventive measures.

Some of these measures include:

  • Inspecting the fuel fill inlet for any damage, cracks, or debris that may be present.
  • Ensuring you keep the fuel fill inlet clean regularly. You can use a soft cloth or brush to remove dirt or grime.
  • Use only high-quality fuel in your car. Low-quality fuel can cause damage to your fuel system.
  • Also, always ensure you’re not low on fuel. At the very least, always keep your tank half full.
  • Finally, always take your car in for regular check-ups to keep all parts in good working condition.

Steps To Fix The “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Message In Your Car

There are a couple of steps you can take to fix the “check fuel fill inlet” warning whenever it comes on.

The following are some of the steps you can take when the warning message comes on:

  • Check the fuel cap to see if it’s closed properly. If not, make it firmer by tightening it a little more.
  • If the cause of the warning message is a missing fuel cap, replace it as soon as possible.
  • If debris has accumulated around the fuel cap, get a soft cloth and clean the fuel tank area.
  • Finally, if an EVAP leak is the problem, you may have to seek the help of a mechanic.

If your car has a capless fuel inlet system, the video below can help you better understand the steps to fix the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message in your car.

YouTube video

What Does The “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Mean On Ford?

The “check fuel fill inlet” warning message occurs in most vehicles, but it is rampant in Ford vehicles because of their capless fuel filler system.

Ford vehicles pioneered the transition from traditional fuel caps to the capless fuel filler system. It was first introduced on the 2009 Explorer.

However, the check fuel fill inlet warning message could mean different things on different Ford models. Let’s take a look at what it means for some models.

1. Ford F150

When the check fuel fill inlet warning message comes on on a Ford F150, it’s often because it is not properly closed. Sometimes it also means a problem with the pressurized seal between the gas cap and the tank.

In most instances, unscrewing and screwing the gas cap back on will resolve the warning message. But if the pressurized seal is the root of the problem, you will have to replace it.

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2. Ford Fusion

Similar to the Ford F150, when the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message comes on on the Ford Fusion, it may also be an indicator that the fuel fill inlet did not close properly. Otherwise, it could be the result of a damaged gas cap.

Inspecting and cleaning the fuel cap area may be the solution to it. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need a mechanic’s assistance.

3. Ford Escape

When you see the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message on the dashboard of your Ford Escape, it means there has been an EVAP leak near the fuel fill inlet.

You’ll need to inspect the fuel tank area for wetness or leaks to determine what has gone wrong. Most times, the fuel cap is the culprit; take the necessary steps to fix or replace it.

4. Ford Explorer

On the Ford Explorer, the “check fuel fill inlet” warning message means the onboard computer has detected a pressure leak in the fuel tank. You can confirm this with the help of a smoke machine.  

A missing or damaged fuel cap is often the root of this problem. Replacing the fuel cap can help remedy this situation.

5. Ford Mustang

The “check fuel fill inlet” warning message on your Ford Mustang means there’s been a problem with the fuel tank cap seal. Either it’s missing, damaged, or has been screwed too firmly.

Inspecting the cap and seal and resolving their problems is the solution. If you will be getting a new fuel cap, ensure you only buy an OEM cap from an authorized dealer. It will save you from diagnostic issues that occur with aftermarket caps.

6. Ford Edge

When the Ford Edge displays the “Check fuel fill inlet” warning message, it also displays a P0457 error code, which means there’s a problem with the fuel inlet system.

The powertrain control module (PCM) is responsible for displaying this error code, and it’s because it has sensed a leak at the fuel inlet system or it’s not sealed.

What Do I Do When The “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Message Refuses To Clear?

If, after exhausting all the steps to fix the check fuel fill inlet warning message, it refuses to clear. You can use an OBD II scanner to clear the message.

If this doesn’t work, it may be time to seek professional help. Get your car to a mechanic or dealer; they’ll know how to resolve it.


Why do new cars have no Fuel cap?

Many car manufacturers have moved on from the traditional fuel caps we know. They now use the capless fuel system in their new vehicles.

Its essence is to save you the worry of removing the fuel cap, replacing it, or tightening it whenever you fuel your car.

However, it is not the case that new cars don’t have fuel caps; instead, they have been manufactured to look like that.

The traditional gas cap we know has now been transformed into a spring-loaded flap inside the filler opening.

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So when you fuel your car, the nozzle pushes the cap out of the way for you to fill up your tank. After removing the nozzle, the internal cap springs back into place.

The capless system also has a rubber O-ring that seals the filler opening and keeps gasoline and vapors from escaping.

The capless fuel fill inlet system design was first seen in Ford vehicles.

Why is a sealed fuel cap important?

As small as the fuel cap may seem, it is a crucial part of your fuel system. But why is this so?

Fuel vaporizes quickly, so a tight fuel cap seal is necessary to prevent leaks from the fuel tank. It also ensures that your fuel stays in your gas tank and keeps your car running efficiently.

In simple terms, fuel caps enhance security, boost fuel efficiency, and lower emissions.

How do I reset my check fuel fill inlet warning in my Ford?

The best way to reset your Ford’s “check fuel inlet” warning is to resolve whatever triggered the warning.

Once you resolve what triggered the warning message, the onboard computer resets and clears the message. You may need to turn the car off for a while and then turn it back on for the message to clear.

However, if the message doesn’t clear after resolving what triggered the “check fuel fill inlet” warning, you can take these steps.

  • Put the power switch in the off position.
  • Open the cap from the Check Fuel Fill Inlet.
  • Proceed to long-press the reset button at the dash for three seconds.
  • After this, put the cap back on and turn the power switch to the on position.

Another option is to use an OBD II scanner to reset it.

All you need to do is connect the scanner to your car and clear the error code memory. This should reset the “Check fuel fill inlet” warning message.

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

Given that there are various types of fuel fill inlets on the market, the amount it will cost depends on the particular type that needs to be replaced.

Also, the diagnosis of what caused the problem will determine how much you spend.

However, the typical cost to fix a bad fuel fill inlet ranges between $100 and $500. But if the damage is extensive, the cost could rise to thousands of dollars.

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