Check Fuel Fill Inlet: The no B.S. solution

If the check fuel fill inlet message appears on your dashboard, it most likely means you have some dirt in your fuel fill inlet. All you have to do is clean it out and the message should go away. It’s just that simple

What is a fuel fill inlet?

Do you really need me to answer this for you?

I hope not!

But if you really don’t know, it’s the place where you put fuel into your car. 

I agree, fuel fill inlet is kind of a stupid name. 

But this is what happens when the engineers who make our cars try to create names for car parts. 

If it were up to me, I would call it, “The thing where you put gas in your car.” Just sayin’.

If you want my opinion (and I know you do!) car companies should have their engineers work with their communications staff who can come up with better names for parts.

Ford Easy Fuel System

If you’re seeing a Check Fuel Fill Inlet message on your car’s dashboard, chances are you’re driving a Ford. This message is tied to Ford’s Easy Fuel system.

The Easy Fuel system is a capless fuel filler on Ford cars. It was introduced in 2008 and has been rolled out across the entire Ford product line.

So why did Ford go capless?

The capless system does some cool stuff… 

  • The fuel filler area is always closed, so it helps reduce evaporative emissions (go green!)
  • You don’t have to fumble around with a dirty gas cap
  • A dangling gas cap won’t scratch you car
  • The design of the system makes it difficult for gas thieves to siphon your gas

Here’s a short video from Ford on how the system works:

Check Fuel Fill Inlet Message

If you see the Check Fuel Fill Inlet message on your Ford’s instrument cluster, it most likely means your Easy Fuel system needs to be cleaned. You can easily clean it with some compressed air, a can of cleaner like Seafoam Spray and the fuel fill funnel that came with your car.

Here’s the steps you you need to take in order to clean your Easy Fuel System:

  1. Spray the air on and around your fuel fill inlet to clear away loose debris.
  2. Spray the cleaner on the inlet flap.
  3. Jam the fuel fill funnel in and out of the flap several times to work in the cleaner.

Here’s a great no-BS YouTube video by Bubba Blue where he shows you how to clean your Easy Fill system:

How do I turn off my check fuel fill inlet light?

After you clean your fuel filler inlet, the alert should go away on its own. If it doesn’t turn off right away, it may take several driving cycles to turn off. 

Ford acknowledges this in most of their car owner’s manuals. The following text is from an F150 owner’s manual:

If the check fuel fill inlet lamp or CHECK FUEL FILL INLET message comes on, the fuel fill inlet may not have properly closed. The inlet may have stuck open or debris may be preventing the inlet from fully closing. At the next opportunity, safely pull off the road, turn off the engine, open the fuel filler door and remove any visible debris from the fuel fill opening. Insert either the fuel fill nozzle or the fuel fill funnel (see Refilling with a portable fuel container for funnel location) provided with the vehicle several times to dislodge any debris and/or allow the inlet to close properly. If this action corrects the problem, the check fuel fill inlet lamp or CHECK FUEL FILL INLET message may not reset immediately. It may take several driving cycles for the check fuel fill inlet lamp or CHECK FUEL FILL INLET message to turn off. A driving cycle consists of an engine start-up (after four or more hours with the engine off) followed by city/highway driving. Continuing to drive with the check fuel fill inlet lamp or CHECK FUEL FILL INLET message on may cause the service engine soon lamp to turn on as well.

In case you didn’t notice, the above paragraph was clearly written by an engineer, lol.

How did my Easy Fuel system get dirty?

There’s a lot of reasons why dirt gets into your Easy Fuel system.

Ford does a pretty good job of creating a seal between the fuel door and Easy Fuel fuel fill area. But over time these seals can wear out and allow debris to get into the fuel fill area.

Driving in places that experience harsh winters can cause excess dirt to get into your fuel fill area. Ice melt chemicals, salt, and sand get kicked up all over your car and make it filthy.

If you do a lot of off-roading in your Ford, it creates opportunities for excess dirt to get into your fuel filler area. It doesn’t even take hard-core off-roading to kick up dirt and grime. Maybe you have an unpaved driveway or have to drive on a dirt road to park at the trailhead of your favorite hiking trail. Dirt happens!

What if cleaning doesn’t turn off my check fuel fill inlet light?

If cleaning doesn’t turn off your fuel fill inlet light, try cleaning it again.

If a second cleaning session doesn’t help, use an OBD scanner to check if your car is throwing any other trouble codes.

Your car’s fuel system is pressurized. If your car’s on board computer detects a leak in the system, it will trigger a trouble code.

In fact, this is the very reason why you see a check fuel fill inlet message when your Easy Fill system is dirty. The dirt and debris prevents the flap in your car’s Easy Fuel system from closing all the way. Because a tight seal isn’t being made, air is being sucked into the system. So your on-board computer thinks it’s a leak.

The same thing happens in traditional fuel fill systems that use gas caps. If you don’t fully tighten the gas cap after a fill up on a traditional system, the car’s service engine soon light might turn on.

All that said, if cleaning out your Ford’s Easy Fuel system doesn’t turn off your check fuel fill inlet light, you may have a vacuum leak somewhere else in your fuel system and an OBD scan can point you in the right direction.


If your check fuel fill inlet light comes on, it most likely means the area where you put fuel into your car needs to be cleaned. Cleaning this area is a simple process you can do yourself in just a few minutes. Once cleaning is complete, your light should be reset.

**image used in the header image courtesy of crocustt**

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