What You Need to Know about Gas Caps
Gas caps are common victims of neglect as they're either left at the gas station or not properly maintained. This is a big no-no, though, because driving around without a gas cap-or with a faulty one-can be very problematic. First off all, in case of an accident, you'll be less equipped to prevent fuel spills and decrease the chances of fire without a handy gas cap. Secondly, if you're missing your gas cap or you have one that's seeping out fumes, then both you and the environment can be put at risk. In addition to that, your fuel may evaporate faster if you don't have a functional gas cap. So as you can imagine, this component is very important, and that's why you should have one at all times. Now, before buying a replacement gas cap for your auto, here are some things you need to know.
Types of gas caps
Non-locking Gas Caps
These babies meet OEM specs and can serve as direct replacements for your missing or busted stock gas cap. Such gas caps are simple, but they get the job done. In fact, non-locking gas caps are guaranteed to provide utmost safety and are the preferred caps of many drivers.
Lock Gas Caps
Some people are getting desperate nowadays due to the rising gas prices and are resorting to stealing fuel from other vehicles. With that in mind, many motorists are now opting for locking gas caps that prevent fuel theft. These caps come in various finishes and styles, and feature outstanding fuel protection.
Some gas cap options
Stant 10504 Locking Fuel Cap
A reliable locking fuel cap that prevents fuel theft.
Stant 10819 Fuel Cap
A simple yet functional cap that makes for an ideal replacement unit.
Bust a Cap on Gas Cap Problems
Did you know that you're likely to lose about 30 gallons of gas in a single year if you drive around without a functional gas cap? That's a lot of valuable fuel and hard-earned dough down the drain. To prevent any wasted fuel-and to help you save cash and the environment-you should buy a new gas cap right away. These babies are relatively inexpensive and are sure to be a worthwhile investment. After all, they don't just save you cash but they protect your health as well. Fortunately enough, installing a new gas cap is a pretty straightforward deal. Here are a few simple steps that will help you replace your missing or busted gas cap.
Difficulty Level: Easy
What you'll need:
- Hanky or Face Mask
- Clean Cloth
- Needle Nose Pliers
Step 1: Make sure that your new gas cap matches your vehicle's year, make, and model. Keep in mind that what you're looking for is a perfect cap fit that will prevent the seeping out of gas fumes. This means that you shouldn't settle for just any gas cap.
Step 2: Before you get started on your installation job, make sure that you're taking all the safety precautions. Wear gloves to ensure that you don't get fuel residue onto your hands, and wear a face mask/ hanky over your nose to protect you from the fumes that may seep out of your fuel tank
Step 3: Clean off your fuel tank opening using a clean piece of cloth to ensure that it's free from debris that can enter it.
Step 4: Identify whether or not your stock cap has a cap retention ring, which prevents it from falling out.
Step 5: If it does, then slip the tip of your needle nose pliers underneath the edge of the retention ring's base. Remove the retention ring and place it into your new gas cap. Twist the ring into the cap and see to it that the part of the cap that connects to the vehicle is located on the left side.
Step 6: Twist your new cap clockwise into place until you hear it click three times.
Step 7: Double check if it will fall off easily and then you're all set.
Gas Cap Buyer's Guide
- A gas cap is a physical seal that prevents fuel from leaking out and keeps contaminants away.
- It can last up to around 50,000 miles before warranting replacement, but this depends largely on usage and the environment it is exposed to.
- Foul gasoline smell, fuel inefficiency, and an illuminated check engine light are some of the common symptoms of a bad gas cap.
- You can drive with a failing gas cap but not too long. At some point, you need to replace it to restore the vehicle back into good working condition.
- Size and type should be considered when shopping for a gas cap.
- Gas caps can run anywhere from $0.66 to $124.61 at CarParts.com. They can be bought individually or as a kit.
Your vehicle will likely experience a fuel cap leak at some point most especially if it has been with you for more than three years. This is also likely to be true if the climate where you are is extremely hot.
If you find your gas cap letting off fuel vapors, it could be a sign that its seal is wearing out and is not able to contain the pressure inside the fuel tank anymore. It might be time to look around for a fuel cap replacement as you might find your check engine indicator coming on after the next time you refill your gas.
What is a gas cap?
A gas cap or a fuel cap is a physical seal that keeps the fuel inside the tank and blocks contaminants from entering. It keeps your car safe by preventing gasoline from leaking out, thus stopping any accidents that it could possibly cause. It also helps produce a cleaner burn by holding fuel safely inside the tank for proper combustion.
Likewise, a fuel cap helps you save gas by allowing you to maximize every drop of fuel that is distributed throughout your system.
Gas cap replacement
The life of a gas cap is relative to use and the environment it is exposed to. On average, it can last up to 50,000 miles before needing replacement.
Note that the gas tanks located in the fuel systems of most cars today must be completely sealed. If the fuel cap gets too loose from long-time use or from its seal breaking or rolling over, it can trigger the check engine light prompting you to replace the entire unit.
A cracked, missing, or loose fuel cap can set off error code P0457 because a leak will likely be detected in the evaporative emission control system at this point. Take your vehicle to an expert mechanic if this code appears on your scanner for proper assessment.
Bad gas cap symptoms
There are several symptoms that can point to a bad gas cap. Being aware of what these are will help you act immediately as soon as you spot any of them. Read on below to find out what they are:
Strong Smell of Gasoline
A strong scent of gasoline can mean that there is a leak in the gas tank or fuel line. It could also mean that the fuel cap fell off or has loosened up. If you aren’t sure of the culprit, better get it checked by an automotive professional to avoid having to second guess.
Poor Fuel Economy
Find yourself refilling your gas tank more often lately? It could be a sign of a bad fuel cap, too. When a cap has any leaks, is loose, or happens to go missing, the fuel inside the tank is likely to evaporate, leaving you with less than you are supposed to have.
Illuminated Check Engine Indicator
There are a lot of errors that can activate the Check Engine indicator, and one of them is a faulty gas cap. Have your cap checked for any issues to confirm whether or not it could be causing the check engine line to come on.
Can you drive without a gas cap?
The short answer is “yes.” After all, there is a flapper valve in most systems nowadays that prevents fuel from flowing back out. However, gas cap replacement is not something that should be put off for too long. Otherwise, you’ll have to deal with the issues brought about by a bad cap, which can affect the surrounding components and result in costlier repairs in the long run.
Not only will a failing gas cap mess up your vehicle’s fuel consumption, it can also cause harm to the environment and damage the structure of your engine.
What to look for in a replacement gas cap?
After confirming if you need to change up your gas cap, it’s time to shop around for a replacement. There are several things you should consider when looking for a new one.
Refer to your vehicle’s manual to find out the exact specs that you need so that you get the right part for your ride. In case you don’t have access to the measurements, you can just take note of the make, model, and model year of your vehicle so that you can search for the specific part with the best fit accordingly.
Fuel caps are divided mainly into two types: locking and non-locking. The former, as its name implies, has a mechanism that enables it to be locked in place. The latter only needs to be either snapped or twisted into place.
Always go for quality. Some replacement gas caps do not go on as tight as they should be, so watch out for that when shopping for one.
How much is a gas cap?
The cost of gas caps can range from $0.66 to $124.61 at CarParts.com. They can either be sold individually or in a kit. Units for left, right, or passenger side locations are available. To get the exact match for your vehicle, indicate its make, model, and model year along with the name of the part you are looking for in the search bar. You may also use the filters to refine your search as well.
If you are planning to get them installed by a professional, you should also factor in labor costs into your budget. On average, you’ll have to pay anywhere between $29 to $38 for that exclusive of other fees and taxes.
Gas cap care tips
Now that you have a brand new gas cap, you’d want to care for it properly so that you can get the most out of its life. Here are some ways you can do so:
- Refrain from overtightening your gas cap. Reaching the first click and stop is enough.
- Keep your gas cap clean to prevent the formation of build-up that can contaminate the gas if it drops into the tank and cause clogging of the fuel pump.
- Make sure your gas cap is screwed on securely before starting your engine to avoid leaks and other issues that may cause the check engine light to come on.