Fuel Door Actuator Shopping: How to Buy the Best-Quality Actuator
A fuel door actuator is a device that opens and closes your fuel door from the inside of your car with a push of the button so that you won't have to manually go to the fuel door to open it. The symptoms of a malfunctioning fuel door actuator include it not always opening when the button is pressed or it completely dying so that it remains unresponsive no matter how many button pushes you do. If your actuator is so busted that you're doing regular manual releases at gas stations, then it's about time you got a replacement for it.
A Few Suggestions When Buying
- Consult Your Dealership First and Foremost: Maybe your dealer could fix the actuator without you having to pay for a replacement. The cause of the malfunction could be the solenoid, could be a stuck door harness that requires a little oiling, or it could be the button itself (maybe it's not receiving electrical signals that allow it to control the actuator). It's only when the repairs cost more than the part should you decide to buy a replacement fuel door actuator.
- You Don't Have to Go OEM for This One: While buying an Original Equipment Manufacturer replacement involves fewer risks, ensures compatibility with your car, and immediately fixes the problem, it's okay to take a risk here and go aftermarket instead to save money. After all, it's not like when your vacuum check valve is busted, wherein buying a part becomes a matter of safety (the check valve is an important component of your brakes).
- Saving Money by Buying OEM-Standard Aftermarket Parts: There are loads of OEM-level aftermarket fuel door actuators out there (since it's a relatively easy-to-replicate part). Just make sure you're buying a compatible actuator in light of the make, model, and year of your car. You should also get aftermarket recommendations from friends, family, your dealership's repairman, and any gearhead that you're acquainted with online or offline.
- Know the Hallmarks of a Good Actuator: Whether you buy it at a hidden local auto shop full of aftermarket spare parts or through an ecommerce site filled with positive reviews and ratings, your door actuator should possess the following benefits. It should have the specs of the actuator it's replacing, it should reestablish the ability to release the fuel door, and it should feature durable housing and a proper fit every time.
- If It Still Doesn't Work When the Replacement Is Installed: You should definitely do electrical troubleshooting before buying a replacement. It's because if the new actuator still fails, then chances are there isn't any "juice" getting into your solenoid when you push the button. Either that or it wasn't installed properly.
Things to Consider
Excellent aftermarket actuators showcase OEM-standard performance at the fraction of the price of an OEM part. Claims that it has gone through a battery of tests isn't worth much to an online shopper like you because there's no way of proving it. Therefore, your best bet in getting a good fuel door actuator is to get good recommendations from friends or try your luck with ecommerce sites that offer 30-day money back guarantees and one-year warranties on parts. Also, always remember that more often than not, the negative or neutral product reviews are the most honest.