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Fuel cap replacement
Fuel cap replacement cost
The fuel cap (fuel filler cap) has a very important part to play. Since the 1970s, vehicle manufacturers started to reduce passenger vehicle emissions. One element of achieving this was to reduce the fuel vapour being released from car fuel tanks.
Vehicles began to be fitted with emission control system monitors and an evaporative emission control system (EVAP) which sealed the fuel system of a vehicle, preventing fuel vapour from being released into the atmosphere.
Fuel evaporates rapidly and if exposed to air will pollute the environment, even if the car is parked. Consequently, the importance of the then ‘insignificant’ fuel cap jumped into the spotlight.
Now, when the fuel cap fails it can illuminate the vehicle’s check engine light as the system senses a fuel vapour discharge. Also, if the humble fuel cap is faulty it not only can increase fuel consumption but could also create a potentially dangerous situation should a spark cause ignition from flammable vapour leaking from the vehicle.
We handle the fuel cap every time we fill up. Next time you do so, examine it. The cap can quickly get damaged or wear out over time. If your fuel cap needs to be replaced this will cost you around $20 to $160. Price will depend on the make and model of the vehicle and the type of fuel cap required for that specific vehicle.
Some vehicles don’t have the traditional fuel cap and instead have what is called a capless fuel filler. If you have one of these, you won’t have fuel cap issues but you should still make sure the system is not faulty and closes off properly. If you notice any potential fuel filler problems take your car it to an AutoGuru mechanic to get it checked over.
What is a fuel cap?
The fuel cap that seals the fuel tank can have varying looks and styles depending on the vehicle. They all perform the same function which is to provide a seal and prevent dirt, water and debris from entering the fuel tank. The cap is usually constructed from plastic or metal and will have a ring seal and a thread to fix it to the fuel tank pipe. They have a one-way air release valve which allows air to enter the tank and maintain pressure. Most fuel caps will click into place and others may be locked into place.
When replacing a fuel cap it is recommended to purchase a good quality cap to ensure safety and better fuel efficiency. Ideally, get one with a retention ring (leash) to attach to the fuel door so the cap doesn’t get lost or forgotten when filling up.
Symptoms the fuel cap needs replacing
- You can smell fuel in your car or around the fuel filler area (other than when you fill up)
- Check engine light is on
- Damage to fuel cap or the gasket is missing
- Fuel cap is stripped and can’t be tightened properly
How is the fuel cap replaced
- Remove leash of old fuel cap from the door (if required)
- Attach new fuel cap leash to door (if required)
- Remove faulty fuel cap
- Fit new fuel cap, make sure to tighten until you hear the click or until it doesn’t turn any further
- Close fuel filler door
Tips to remember
After replacing the fuel cap, the check engine warning sensor light may stay on for a while. If it continues to stay on for a lengthy time the computer may need to be cleared or the system looked over by a qualified mechanic.
If you smell fuel vapour around your vehicle that doesn’t go away soon after filling up, have the vehicle looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
How important is replacing the fuel cap?
If you drive with fuel vapour leaking from the car then you risk ignition of the flammable vapour, an unpleasant smell in the car and poor fuel economy. Vapour also pollutes the environment. If that doesn’t persuade you, if the check engine light stays on and you keep driving, another serious issue could arise that will go undetected.
Looking to save on fuel costs? Here are 7 helpful tips on how to increase your fuel economy.