My experience with Ford’s Easy-Fill capless fuel system has been universally positive. It’s one of those why’d-it-take-so-long ideas and I’m surprised it hasn’t become the industry standard. It’s also certainly reduced the number of
women drivers who leave the gas station with their fuel caps dangling or missing entirely.
On Saturday, however, the 2012 Edge SEL AWD currently being driven by my son’s mother experienced a most unusual issue: the Easy-Fill mechanism stopped working. And on further examination, it turns out that this malfunction isn’t as unusual as I’d thought.
Easy-Fill is more complicated than it looks at first glance. It locks the filler door in place unless the power door locks are released. It also won’t release unless a fuel nozzle of the appropriate size is inserted. Those are two Things That Can Go Wrong, of course. Naturally, this happened to the Edge in question when there was about two gallons of fuel left in the tank. Ford provides an additional plastic nozzle to be used in the Easy-Fill to facilitate the use of portable fuel canisters, so we placed said nozzle in the Easy-Fill and hammered it lightly, to no effect.
While I was busy experiencing defeat at the hands of a plastic nozzle, my partner in the enterprise was busy Googling for other occurrences of the issue. Although some of the issues are due to sheer stupidity, it would appear that sticking Easy-Fills aren’t that uncommon, with the cure usually being a vigorous hammering at the dealership.
After admitting defeat, we sent the Edge to the dealership, where the Easy-Fill promptly worked as designed and advertised. We have it on a two-year lease which is almost up, so we aren’t going to worry about it too much, but I’d think twice about buying a Ford with the feature unless I knew a good solid way to get the thing open in a pinch. It’s a complicated mechanism that might not be 100% ready for prime time in all circumstances. Ironically, the same thing’s been said about SYNC more than once.
It’s easy to admire Ford for relentlessly pushing technology into the marketplace, but it’s also natural to wonder if a little more caution wouldn’t be warranted at times. Not necessarily a Honda’s worth of caution; who wants five-speed automatic transmissions and Eighties-era in-dash displays? But a little more might not go amiss, eh?