It may seem like an insignificant car component, but a gas cap or a fuel cap is a very important car part. If you drive a late model or a modern vehicle, then there is a chance that you have a gas cap that is connected to your car by a tiny rubber tether or fastener. This is in place so you don’t unscrew the cap and place it somewhere else as you refuel.
But if you have a car that is not outfitted with that little fastener or tether, you may decide to drive down the street with no gas cap. Many of us have lost our gas cap and have been able to retrace our steps and get it back. Others of us have lost it for good.
So, the question of the hour is: “Can I safely drive without gas cap on my vehicle?” The answer is you can, but you want to either find the original fuel cap or purchase a replacement soon. Let’s examine the importance of the gas cap and why you need one in the first place.
Does Driving Without Gas Cap Cause Issues?
In a word, yes it does. Let’s look at some of the small issues that arise, when you drive without a gas cap:
A Little Gas May Be Lost
There may be a bit of gas lost due to your missing gas gap. But this isn’t due to any kind of spillage of gas while you’re driving. This is due to evaporation. Your fuel filler neck helps to prevent any kind of sloshing. Any kind of loss of gas can potentially harm the environment. It will also cost you a bit more money, because you have to fill up a bit more often. So, driving without your gas cap is not an “earth-shattering” catastrophe, but you don’t want to drive without it for the remainder of your driving days.
Moisture and Debris
While you accomplish those daily errands, without any gas cap on your gas tank, you run the risk of both moisture and debris finding their way into the gas tank. Although you have a fuel filter that can prevent most of the dirt and debris from coming in, you DO want to get a gas cap on your fuel tank soon.
You May Not Pass Inspection
Are you thinking that your car will pass inspection without that gas cap? Think again. If you live in a state that has vehicle emissions inspections, your car is not going to pass the inspection unless you replace the gas cap.
The bottom line here is that there are definite consequences of driving without a gas cap. But in the grand scheme of things, they are pretty insignificant. Thankfully, the solution is a simple one. Gas caps are not expensive and easy to replace. You can buy a replacement gas cap at your local auto parts store. or even online. Just make sure that your replacement gas cap is one that is designed for your specific car. You certainly won’t break the bank purchasing a gas cap. The health of your vehicle will be in tact too.
What are Some Symptoms of a Failing or a Bad Gas Cap?
Even though a gas cap is small in size, you may have one that is on its way out- and you need to replace it. So, what are some of the symptoms of a bad or a failing gas cap? We have some “red flags” you should look out for.
Your Gas Cap Is Not Fitting or Tightening Properly
Many drivers find that they have a common issue with their gas cap: it doesn’t fit properly. Many gas caps are crafted to click after they are sufficiently tightened. So, if you have a gas cap that is supposed to click and it doesn’t, then this may be a sign that you need to replace it.
The Smell Of Gas
Many drivers experience a potent fuel smell from their vehicle. This may be due to a broken, damaged or a cracked gas cap. If you are driving around with a broken or a damaged fuel cap, then there is a good chance that fuel vapors from the gas tank can leak from the filler neck. This may cause you to smell a strong gasoline odor from the vehicle- as the gas vapors are escaping.
The Check Engine Light Will Come On
Did you know that the absence of a gas cap can cause your check engine light to come on? That dreaded and illuminated “Check Engine Light” on your dash, is yet another symptom of an issue with your car’s gas cap. The fuel cap on your vehicle is part of your vehicle’s evaporative emissions system. Problems can arise if there is an absence of the gas cap or there is a damaged gas cap. If you have a fuel cap seal that is offering an improper fit, then your Check Engine Light will come on, as your vehicle’s computer system detects a leak or an issue. A failing or a bad fuel cap isn’t necessarily going to cause a serious issue with the performance of your car. But the absence of it, or any cracks in it can cause your Check Engine Light to come on.
Are Gas Caps Universal?
Indeed, gas caps are universal. But just because of such, don’t take it to mean that any and all gas caps can and will fit your vehicle. You want the correct gas cap for your car, due to the sensors that your car has. You can find a great deal on a gas cap, and still potentially have that Check Engine Light be on, or some other minor issue. Why? Your vehicle’s sensors may not work with the wonderful gas cap you just purchased.
Why Do Motorcycles Have Locking Gas Caps?
The locking cap for a motorcycle fuel tank simply offers the motorcycle owners a better sense of security. The locked gas cap also slows down a potential thief, should one want to steal the gas in your motorcycle.
Are Locking Gas Caps Worth It?
The decision to buy a locking gas cap may be ideal for you, if you have a serious fuel or gas thefts in your community. If you are living in an area that has large rates of fuel or gas theft then you may benefit from a locking gas cap.
How Do I Know If My Gas Cap Is Vented?
In some shape, form or fashion, just about all modern vehicles have a vented gas cap. You can look at the bottom of the cap- that faces the gas- to see if it is vented or not. You can then look and see if there is a valve inside of it. Back in the day, older gas caps weren’t vented. They were just a cap that had that twist lock. In theory, you could probably use a non vented gas cap on your car, due them having a filler neck. So, if you come across an “old school” gas cap in your garage or tool shed, check and see if you can place it on your car as a replacement gas cap. Take it to a mechanic for that extra assurance.
What Is The Best Gas Cap?
It’s important to note that fuel caps are divided into two main categories: non-locking and locking. Check out some high-ranking gas caps that may be the perfect replacement gas cap for your vehicle.
Gates 31838 Fuel Tank Cap
This particular gas cap offers two-way action, heavy duty construction, a fuel resistant rubber seal and more. The cap also meets OEM specifications. The cap also has a lock system that is easy-going. Its cost is just under $7.00. You can click here to learn more!
ACDelco Locking Fuel Tank Cap
Another fuel cap that is a favorite among many, is the ACDelco Locking Fuel Tank Cap. Not only does this gas cap a heavy-duty gas cap, but it is a cap that has a click lock and deters fuel thieves from stealing your fuel. Additional features include: engineering that provides a tight seal, it comes with two sets of keys and more. Click here to learn more!
Stant 10508 Locking Fuel Cap
The third gas cap on our list is the Stant 10508 Locking Fuel Cap. This gas cap is crafted of quality and durable OEM materials, and also features an OE Vacuum and Pressure relief system. You cannot forget about the locking mechanism that this fuel cap has. That mechanism ensures high security, so that fuel thieves stay away. This gas cap retails for about $13.00. Click here to learn more!
Gates 31844 Locking Fuel Cap
Not only does this Gates 31844 have a water-resistant feature, but this fuel cap is crafted of a strong and premium thermoplastic compound ensuring quality durability and resistance. Other features of this Gates gas cap include: a two-way vacuum and pressure relief mechanism, strong and sturdy rubber construction and more. This Gates gas cap retails for about $13.00. You can click here to learn more!
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