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How do I use the self-serve pumps at gas stations?
  1. Pull into the gas station and drive up to a pump you can position near your gas tank, which is usually at the rear of your car, on either the right- or left-hand side. If your car needs special fuel such as diesel, make sure you pull up next to the appropriate pump.
  2. From inside the car, pull the lever that opens the cover to the gas tank. It's usually marked with the figure of a gas pump. It may be on the floor to the left of the driver, or it may be in the glove compartment. Consult your owner's manual if you have a hard time finding it. Of course, you may have a car that doesn't use a lever; the cover may just open when you pull it back.
  3. Prepay for the gas either by giving cash or your credit card to the gas station attendant, or by sliding your credit or ATM debit card through a slot at the gas pump. If you pump less gas than you prepaid for, the attendant will give you change after you pump the gas. If you can use your credit or ATM card at the pump, there will be no need for change. The slot for your card will be clearly marked on the pump. These markings will include directions on which way to hold your card when swiping it through the slot. A digital screen will give you directions on what steps to take, including when to punch in any PIN numbers on the keypad.
  4. After prepaying, open the cover to your gas tank (you've already released the locking mechanism on the cover from inside the car, remember?) and unscrew the cap. Put the cap somewhere where you can find it and remember it easily.
  5. Take the pump head from the type of gas you want to use (which octane you want to buy, leaded or unleaded gas, or diesel), and place the nose of the nozzle into the opening for the gas tank. Make sure you fit the nose down as far as it can go.
  6. Lift the lever on the pump on which the pump head was resting (or press the "start" button, which will be clearly marked). This turns the pump "on," and the pump indicator should clear and register zero when you do this.
  7. Squeeze the lever inside the gas nozzle's handle and begin pumping gas. If you gave the gas attendant cash, the gas will pump until the amount reaches the prepaid amount--or it will stop when the tank is full. When the tank is full, the lever on the handle will click and turn itself off. Sometimes the handle will do this when you start pumping gas, in which case something needs to be reset; the station attendant can help you fix this problem.
  8. If you want to fill the tank, just squeeze the nozzle's lever and set the clip at the bottom of the lever. As described above, the pump will shut off automatically when the tank is full.
  9. When you're finished pumping, remove the nozzle and put it back in the holder, pulling the holder back down to do so.
  10. Put the cap back on the gas tank, and close the cover.
  11. If you need change back from the station attendant or you need to retrieve your credit card and sign the credit slip, take care of that. If you prepaid at the pump, the digital display on the pump will ask you if you need a receipt. If you want your receipt, press yes on the keypad, take the receipt, and go!

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