Why Are Sam’s Club Gas Pumps So Slow? (All You Need to Know)

why are Sam´s Club gas pumps so slow

Known for offering its members exclusive savings, quality merchandise, and affordable fuel prices, Sam’s Club is one of America’s most popular wholesale stores.

For the most part, Sam’s Club is beloved by citizens from California to Maryland – but sometimes, Sam’s Club’s squeaky-clean reputation is tarnished by the inefficiency of its gas pumps.

Here are possible reasons why Sam’s Club gas pumps are so slow:

  • Clogged Fuel Filters
  • Nozzle Mode
  • Poor Pressure
  • Out-of-date Pump Configuration
  • Tripped Air Leak Detection System

Possible Reasons for A Slow Gas Pump at Sam’s Club

1.    Clogged Fuel Filters

Inside of the commercial fuel pumps outside of the Sam’s Club gas bar, there are fuel dispenser filters. Fuel dispenser filters are exactly what their name suggests — filters within the fuel dispensing portion of the gas pump.

They are made of tightly interlaced fibrous materials that have been twisted and turned in all directions to create a filter membrane.

This membrane consists of a large number of small pores that allow gas to soak through, much like a cheesecloth or mesh that one might use for straining.

The smaller the pores the better the gas is filtered and the more debris gets left behind.

That being said, fuel dispenser filters can get clogged with this debris, as they transport fuel from underground pipelines.

With the transport lines underground, it makes sense that there would, on occasion, be natural dirt and large particles that make their way into the gas supply, only to be filtered out before reaching your car’s gas tank.

In addition, they should be replaced at least yearly or when they have been used to filter 300,000 gallons of fuel.

When this filter gets stopped up or old, it stops allowing fuel to pass through at the speed that it did before. This results in slower-than-usual fill times for customers.

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2.    Nozzle Mode

In some cases, your slow Sam’s Club pump could be a result of something as simple as the nozzle of the offending pump being in the wrong mode.

Nozzles come with a slow-flow mode that can be turned on for any reason, and if your nozzle is in that mode…well, the results are obvious.

3.    Poor Pressure

If your Sam’s Club is located in an area that sees cold, below-freezing weather, the pump could be slow due to pressure issues. When pumps are turned on in the morning – especially in cold climates- they must be primed.

This means that the pumps should be engaged for 10 seconds to build the pressure up within the tank to a level that can achieve quick fill times for the day’s customers.

After being used for 10 seconds, the pump should be allowed to rest for an additional 10 seconds before being used for the first time that day.

You could think of this priming process the same way one would prime a wind-up toy car.

4.    Out-of-date Pump Configuration

If both the nozzle and pump filters are good to go and in working order, then the problem could be that the pump may be in need of a configuration upgrade.

Making the upgrade should boost the system enough that the flow rate is improved to a degree that is noticeable.

If the submersible pump comes in with horsepower under 2, then a configuration upgrade to one with a minimum horsepower of 2 could very well stop the slow-flow issue.

In addition, the adoption of a manifold pump configuration with a smart control could do wonders to remedy the problem.

During high-use times of day, also known as “peak hours”, this system would automatically engage a second pump.

This not only makes flow rates faster but also doubles as a backup pump should the first one become clogged or otherwise fail to perform and serve as a method of distributing lead between the two pumps to balance the levels out without too much manual labor or thought.

5.    Tripped Air Leak Detection System

Also inside of every gas pump is an air leak detection system. This system is designed to respond to leaks in the underground line, which can be both costly and dangerous.

This system is built so that it’s set off or “tripped” when it detects a 3-gallon per hour airleak in the line, regardless of location or reason for positive detection. 

When this happens, the system automatically shuts down part of the system, effectively reducing the flow rate of the pump.

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The delivery system does not completely shut down but does slow down to the point that Sam’s Club may start to receive complaints about the efficiency of their pumps.

Once it has been brought to the attention of Sam’s Club workers and the previous reasons ruled out, a professional would be called in to discern the reason for the leak and locate it.


If you suspect that Sam’s Club’s gas pumps are flowing more slowly than usual, consider the fact that any one of these issues could be at play.

Then, take a moment to alert the gas attendant if possible. If no one is around or available or the gas bar is unmanned, report the problem to the store by phone.

A slow pump is not only inconvenient for you, the customer, but could also prove to be the beginning of a very costly maintenance or repair operation for the store — one of which they would surely appreciate being aware of before an escalation occurs.




Jeff is an automotive technician, technical writer, and Managing Editor. He has held a lifelong passion for cars, with a particular interest in cars like the Buick Reatta. Jeff has been creating written and video content about transportation, automotive, electric cars, future vehicles as well as new, used for more than 18 years. Jeff is based in Boulder, Colorado.

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