Fill ‘er up!

Let’s talk about a car basic—getting gas.

Maybe you’re a driving pro and you know all about taking care of your car.

Or maybe, like a lot of girls, you’re super excited to hit the driving scene—but the details of car maintenance are a bit intimidating. Totally normal! So let’s talk about a car basic—getting gas.

A car’s gas tank holds anywhere from 9 gallons (smallest cars) to 40 gallons (large trucks). Most newer cars tell the number of miles you can go on a tank of gas. Once the gas drops to your car’s low point, the fuel light comes on. This means you better gas up—or you might run out at the top of a hill and coast your way into the nearest gas station (not saying that’s happened, but . . . it was a little bit miraculous to end up right at the pump).

Once that fuel light comes on (usually it’s a little orange/yellow gas pump symbol), head to the nearest gas station. If you want to be ahead of the game, fill up when the indicator shows around a quarter tank left.

Here’s a quick little tutorial so you know what to expect:

Fun Fact: Gas prices fluctuate. When I stopped today, it was right around $2.97 a gallon. For my 12 gallon car, it cost around $35 to fill the tank.

  1. Figure out what side your tank is on. If you look at the fuel indicator, there’s a tiny arrow on one side—if it’s on the left, the tank is on the driver’s side, so pull up to a pump that’s on that side. Make sure you pull far enough forward that the nozzle can reach the tank easily.

  2. Turn off the car. For safety reasons, the car should be OFF when you pump gas.

  3. It’s super easy to use a credit/debit card to pay for gas. Read the pump instructions and follow along (usually insert card; remove card; sometimes put in zip code associated with that card). If you want to pay cash, you need to go inside and prepay the cashier.

  4. Once your card info is registered, you remove the nozzle and put it in your gas tank (most gas tanks either open manually when you push on it or via a button inside the car).

  5. Choose the type of gas you want. Regular works pretty well for most people. Just push the flashing button that says “regular.”

  6. Start pumping! There’s usually a little lever on the handle that will pop down and hold it in place. Let the gas run till it clicks off. If it’s within a few cents of a round number, you can “top it off” but don’t get carried away or the tank will overflow.

  7. Put the nozzle back into the pump. Check the screen and press “yes” for receipt.

  8. Close up the gas tank and hop back in the car.

It’s super easy once you get the hang of it. And hopefully it’s a little less intimidating now that you know what to expect!

Image via Dan Gold

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