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If your vehicle has taken more fuel than the manufacturer recommended capacity, you would probably report the fuel pump as faulty. Here is a detailed analysis of the fuel tank capacity, which explains that in most situation it is mostly because of the vehicle's fuel tank and not the pump.
We often see customers reporting that their vehicles have taken more fuel than the capacity mentioned by the manufacturer. It will normally end up with customers reporting the fuel station for having scammed them. However, most times it is not the case, and the vehicle can take in more fuel than the mentioned number of litres.
Before we understand how this is possible, let's understand some of the important terms that are used by manufacturers to design a fuel tank for a vehicle.
The nominal capacity of a fuel tank: automotive manufacturers will design the fuel tank keeping a standard number of kilometres that a vehicle can travel with one full tank of fuel. It is normally around 600 kilometres with speeds ranging from 80kmph to 100kmph.
The nominal capacity of the vehicle's fuel tank depends on various factors. This includes weight, power, engine displacement, and fuel efficiency; among others. However, the manufacturer also takes into account the availability of fuel stations, when the fuel is almost empty in the vehicle. As a result, the fuel tank will have a spare fuel of about 10 per cent to help you travel those extra kilometres to reach the nearest fuel station.
The actual capacity of the fuel tank: it is always larger than the nominal capacity by about 10 to 15 per cent. There are several reasons behind this design approach for the fuel tank. The fuel inside the tank expands where there is a rise in outside temperature, which can cause leaks due to internal pressure.
Another reason is that there should be no leakage of fuel when the vehicle is parked in an inclined position. To avoid this, the fuel tank will be given spare room for expansion to hold the fuel inside. These are the reasons behind the actual fuel tank capacity being larger than the nominal capacity.
Now coming back to the question of why the vehicle has taken more fuel than the number of litres mentioned by the manufacturer? This is simply because the vehicle has been filled with fuel more than the allowed limit. This means that fuel has been filled to the actual capacity of the fuel tank rather than its nominal capacity.
While filling fuel the hose automatically shuts off after brimming the tank to a certain level. This is called as the safe-filling limit. However, we often see customers at the gas station topping the fuel up beyond shut off point. This will result in excess fuel occupying the buffer space left for fuel expansion, in other terms taking up actual capacity.
We would like to point out that doing this is wrong and cause serious damage and fuel leak. Also, your fuel bill has now crossed the manufacturer mentioned capacity and into the danger limit. As a result, the bill given to you will show more litres of fuel being filled to the vehicle.
So it is best to fill the fuel where the hose shuts off as recommended by auto manufacturers and not top-it-off. Apart from the topping up fuel beyond the allowed limit, there are other factors that can cause your vehicle to take up more fuel as well.
It also depends on the design of the fuel tank which might have sections that cannot be accessed by a fuel pump in your vehicle. This means that the fuel in that section would remain unused. However, due to the increase in the external temperature, the fuel in that section might expand and evaporate. So the next time you fill the fuel, the vehicle might take in more litres as compared to the previous one.
The rated capacity also does not account for the fuel in the lines that leads to the engine. It might not make a big difference, however, there will be some noticeable difference as it can be a long section of pipe depending on the fuel tank placement in vehicles.
These are some of the reasons behind the vehicles taking excess fuel than the one mentioned in the manual.
Thoughts About The Excess Fuel Filled At Petrol Pumps
We recommend customers to fill fuel only till the safe limit as recommended by manufacturers. Motorists staying in regions having high temperature should always follow this, as the chances of fuel leak due to expansion is higher.
The petrol pumps are usually calibrated at regular intervals to ensure the right amount of fuel is being discharged. There might be possibilities of pumps losing calibration, however, it is not the case most of the times.