How to Fill a Motorcycle Gas Tank? (The Right Way!)

Filling motorcycle gas tank

Filling up your motorcycle gas tank albeit simple can feel like a daunting task. Especially if you are a beginner rider.

So, in this post, we are going to break down filling your motorcycle gas tank into a simple step-by-step guide.

Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Steps to fill a motorcycle gas tank

Now, what are the steps to refuel a motorcycle gas tank then?

Here is your step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Pull up your motorcycle to the fuel pump

First, locate the fuel pump or gas station nearby and pull up your motorcycle.


I know I know. This is silly and we all know it.

But since this is a beginner guide, I want to be as thorough and as detailed as possible.

So, go find the nearest fuel pump and take your motorcycle there.

Step 2: Preferably have the pump on your left side

Now. When you are pulling up the motorcycle near the fuel pump, choose to have the fuel pump on your left side.

Why the left side?

Well, once you park the motorcycle on the side stand, the bike leans left.

Filling up the tank is easy when the motorcycle is leaning toward the fuel pump. And not on the opposite side.

It’s not mandatory.

But a good practice. I follow it.

So preferably pull up your motorcycle with the fuel pump on your left side.

Step 3: Turn the ignition OFF

Once you have pulled up the motorcycle, turn off the engine.

You will do it anyway. You need the ignition key to open the fuel tank cap shortly.

But it’s better to do it now.

So turn off the ignition. And then get off the motorcycle.

Step 4: Get off the motorcycle

Some riders like to sit on the motorcycle and fill the tank up. Please don’t!

Get off the motorcycle!

I repeat. Get off the motorcycle.

There can be accidents while filling the gas tank. The fuel can catch fire.

If you have gotten off the motorcycle, one – you are already away from the tank; two – you can escape easily.

Trust me. As rare as the fire hazard might seem, there are numerous examples (example1, example2) of these fire accidents happening.

Warning: The above examples are NSFW as they involve fire hazards.


Get down. Get off your motorcycle first.

Step 5: Park the motorcycle on side stand

Next. Park your motorcycle on the side stand.

The center stand works too. But there is no need for it.

On a side note, here is a guide on when to use the side stand and the center stand.

It doesn’t matter much here.

For ease of use, the side stand works perfect.

So park your bike on the side stand. It’s time for the main course. 🙂

Step 6: Take the fuel tank cap off

One last step before going for refueling.

Take the fuel tank cap off the motorcycle.

You need to take the keys off the ignition first. Then use the same key on the fuel tank cap.

Now, there are different tank cap versions.

Some have a simple lock cap. The keyhole for the tank is open. All you need to do is put the key in, turn it, and the cap opens up.

Some other motorcycles have the tank keyhole covered up. You have to open the cover, put the key in, turn it, and the cap opens up.

Again the cap opening up has different versions as well.

Few tank caps can be removed entirely by rotating. Few caps have their one-end hinged.

Don’t worry about all these different cap versions.

You will intuitively know how to open up the cap from the gas tank.

Step 7: Selecting the fuel

After you take the cap off, it’s time to select the fuel.

Put the card in, say no to wash (it mostly refers to a car wash), and select the fuel you want to fill in your gas tank.

Motorcycles don’t use diesel. They only use gasoline.

Even within the gasoline, you have different fuel types available n the fuel pump.

The different gas fuels have different octane ratings.

Choose the one which your motorcycle owner manual recommends. Say, if the recommendation is unleaded gas 87 or higher, then go for the gas with an octane rating of 87 or higher.

When in doubt, always choose the premium fuel, unleaded, and with a higher octane rating.

Step 8: Place the nozzle inside the tank

Now that you have selected the fuel, time to fill the tank.

Take out the fuel nozzle and place it inside the tank.

This is easy. Still, the cover of the nozzle should be landing on the tank.

You will be fine.

Just put in the nozzle as much as you can in the gas tank.

Step 9: Start the pump

Once you have placed the nozzle in the gas tank, go ahead and start the pump by pressing the nozzle lever.

In few fuel nozzles, you need to press the lever and hold it.

But many modern nozzles have lever locks. So you just need to slide the lever down. The fuel will start flowing out of the nozzle. And into your motorcycle gas tank.

Step 10: Hold the nozzle out if you want the tank full

If you intend to fill the gas tank completely, then it’s better to hold the nozzle out of the tank hole.

This is because, with the nozzle in, it’s difficult to judge when the tank is getting full.

So take the nozzle out and hold it over the tank hole.

One tip.

Do not fill the gas tank to the brim.

Leave some gap.

You need to place the tank cap back. That will take up some space.

If you fill the gas tank to the brim, some gas will flow out once the fuel tank cap part replaces it. (Blame Archimedes man).

Step 11: Put the tank cap back

Now that you have refueled your motorcycle gas tank, it’s time to wrap up.

Place the tank cap back into the gas tank.

Lock it.

Take out the keys. Put it in the ignition switch. And turn the ignition ON.

Step 12: Start the motorcycle and go

Once you turn the ignition ON, you know what to do.

Start the motorcycle and get the hell out of the gas station.

And ride into the abyss.

Have a great motorcycle ride homie!

FAQ Icon


What if you overfill the gas tank?

It is not desirable to overfill the gas tank.

Once you put the tank cap back, the gas will overflow. There might be fire hazard possibilities as well. Especially if the overflowing gas comes in contact with a heated surface or worse, a fire or spark.

So do NOT overfill your motorcycle gas tank.

How much gas to fill in your motorcycle tank?

A good thumb rule is to refuel at 80-90% of the tank capacity.

More than that, there is a possibility of overflowing. You should never fill the gas to the tank’s brim.

Less than that, your frequency of gas station visits will increase.