What Does “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Mean? (and How to Fix)

If your vehicle is telling you to “check fuel fill inlet,” you drive a Ford. We know this because it’s the only vehicle manufacturer that currently uses this exact terminology inside your vehicle. Whether you drive an Escape, an F150, or something else entirely, it’s a Ford thing.

But before you start cursing out Ford for adding more things to your vehicle, the “check fuel fill inlet” saves you from a lot of extra troubleshooting. It’s a great innovative feature, and it’s something that can save you from an expensive and needless trip to the mechanic.

But what exactly is it, what causes the message to appear, and most importantly, how do you fix it? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you here.

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What is a Fuel Fill Inlet?

The fuel fill inlet is simply another term for the area where you actually put fuel in your vehicle. This is the case whether you have a traditional fuel cap or one of the more advanced systems with a capless gas tank.

It’s a part of your vehicle that every driver knows how to use, even if they don’t know the correct terminology for it!

What Does a “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Warning Mean?

ford check fuel fill inlet message

A “check fuel fill inlet” warning means that the EVAP sensor on top of or inside the fuel tank picked up on a fuel vapor leak. More specifically, it tells you the leak is coming from the fuel fill inlet.

This happens when the fuel cap is missing or because the cap’s seal or gasket isn’t working properly. This can happen if there’s a crack on the seal or if it has some other sort of damage.

What Causes This Message to Appear?

If your vehicle has a “check fuel fill inlet” message, one of the first questions you’re going to have is why it’s on! Typically, the message appears because the gas cap isn’t securely attached to your vehicle or because it’s missing entirely.

However, it is possible that the gas cap has a busted seal or gasket. In short, if your vehicle has a “check fuel fill inlet” it’s because the fuel inlet isn’t sealing correctly.

Related: Why Does the “Service AdvanceTrac” Warning Light Come On?

Is It Safe to Continue Driving?

Ford Escape hybrid

If your Fusion, Explorer, or another Ford vehicle has a “check fuel fill inlet” light on, it’s usually not the most serious condition out there. However, it really depends on why the light is on. If the gas cap is securely in place, there’s usually no problem with driving with the light on.

But if the gas cap isn’t securely in place or it’s missing entirely, you shouldn’t drive your vehicle for too long without fixing it. And there’s good reason for that.

First, it’ll cause fuel vapors to escape your fuel tank and it can work its way into your vehicle. Suffice to say, gasoline smell inside the vehicle’s cabin is not only unpleasant, it can be quite dangerous.

Next, dirt and grime can work their way into the fuel tank without a tight seal. Over time this dirt and grime will contaminate the system and can lead to expensive damage. This isn’t likely to happen immediately, but if you leave the gas cap off for too long it can happen.

How to Fix (and How Much It’ll Cost)

inspect fuel cap

If your vehicle’s “check fuel fill inlet” light is on, the first thing you want to know is how to fix it and turn it off! If this specific warning message is illuminated, the first thing you want to do is rule out the simple things.

Start by taking a look at the fuel cap. Take it off and inspect the gasket. If there are any tears or cracks this is likely the problem. If not, reattach the fuel cap and check to see if the message stays on.

If the light doesn’t turn off after doing this, you likely need to replace the fuel cap. This usually happens because there’s some kind of damage to the gasket or seal, even if you can’t see it.

If you replace the gas cap and the code still doesn’t go away, you’ll need to use an OBD2 scan tool to figure out if there are any additional underlying codes. Not only that, but use the scanner to look at various sensor readings to figure out exactly what’s going on and triggering the “check fuel fill inlet” light.

How to Clear (Reset) a “Check Fuel Fill Inlet” Message

Whether you drive a Mustang, a Taurus, or an Edge, if you have a “check fuel fill inlet” message you want to know how to turn it off!

But if you’re looking for some magic combination to reset the “check fuel fill inlet” message, you’re out of luck. Clearing and resetting this message all starts with fixing the underlying problem. From there, turn off the vehicle, remove the key, take off the fuel cap, put it back on, and then start your vehicle back up.

Usually, this will completely reset the message, but sometimes you need to drive your vehicle around for a few miles from there.

While this method should in theory clear the code, if it doesn’t, you can try disconnecting the battery, letting the vehicle sit for 5-10 minutes, and then reconnecting the battery.

This gives the entire system a hard reset, but there’s still a chance it won’t clear the light simply because the underlying issue is still a problem. As with any warning light or message, it’s all about fixing the reason it’s on in the first place.

Adam Mann

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