Do Cars Need Gas Caps?

Wait! My three-year-old son decided to teach me a lesson after I left the gas cap of my car hanging. He took a bottle, went to the tap, and fetched some water. In no time, he had the job done. He had added five liters of water into the fuel tank.

Poor me, what a waste to the gasoline that I had bought the previous day. That aside, let us talk about my neighbor’s predicament. Last Friday, he went drinking in Albuquerque, New Mexico and had a bitter experience. He had left his fuel filler cap open as he was partying in the pub.

The parking lot was so insecure, and the hawk-eyed crooks seized the chance. His gasoline was siphoned, and the fuel tank was left dry. He had drunk all his money and had to spend the whole night in the car.

Even worse, I heard a story about a woman who decided to escalate a marital disagreement. She could no longer tolerate her husband’s promiscuous nature.

Her husband’s Range Rover sport parked in the yard was not spared. She took advantage of the loose gas cap. She easily opened it and set the car on fire. She is now facing an arson case and possible divorce. What a double tragedy?

You have just seen the consequences of a missing gas cap in a car. Your answer as to whether cars need gas caps is as good as mine. We do not want to lose gasoline or have an arson case in the estate. We need gas caps in our cars to avoid such a menace.

You need a gas cap for your car

You absolutely need a gas cap for your car. The gas cap may be small, despised, and more often forgotten, but it plays a vital role in a car. The fuel cap will guarantee your safety in case of an accident by preventing gasoline from coming out.

If your car rolls without a gas cap, you could be in great danger. It also facilitates fuel economy by sealing off any gas that would have evaporated.

The gas vapor goes into the vehicle’s evaporative emission system, where it is reused. This also helps in reducing air pollution. In fact, the gas cap evolution clearly outlines how the fuel cap was brought on board in the United States in the 1970s to control pollution. A little knowledge of how to detect a faulty gas cap can be quite helpful.

A defective fuel cap does not click when the fuel tank is being closed. You can only identify that all is not well with it when you inhale some fuel odor in the vehicle. Without going far, a look at the dashboard will signal that there is an issue with the gas cap when the engine lights are on.

Read your car owner’s manual or contact your mechanic when you need to replace your defective gas cap when it has been worn out over time. This will ensure that you get the best gas cap for your vehicle. Even as an experienced driver, you face the challenge of locating the gas cap?

Worry no more. It is pretty simple. Spare yourself the pain of having to crane your head outside the car windows. You will not have to make another turn in the filling station. Here is the tip. Look out for a triangle or an arrow near your fuel gauge. It will always point in the direction of the fuel cap. Next time you are in the car, try it out.

The historical context of the fuel cap

1970 is the defining moment in gas cap history. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a policy on car emissions. It was a response to research that had indicated that fuel vapors were destroying the ozone layer. The gas cap was adopted in 1971 in the US to ensure built-in evaporative mechanisms in the vehicle system. The United States Congress was to implement the Clean Air Act in 1976.

The policies were more stringent in following years. More strict rules on fuel efficiency saw the birth of the Onboard Diagnostics (OBD) system that monitored how the engine performed. This was a great milestone in the gas cap evolution. An improvement in the system led to the invention of the OBD II that was more efficient. It applied a vacuum nature in the engine and could detect even the slightest leak of vapor.

Roles of a Fuel Cap?

Most people are ignorant of the vital and different functions that a fuel cap performs in a carFirstly, a tight fuel cap will reduce the poisonous emissions.

Most vehicles run on fossil fuel and will release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide when the fuel undergoes combustion. Fuel vapor is known to destroy the ozone layer. A tight fuel cap will mean little or no fuel vapors, which will promote a better environment.

Secondly, the fuel cap promotes safety by preventing gasoline from spilling out of a gas tank. The spill could be perilous in case of a car accident. If the electrical system of a vehicle misbehaves in such an incident, the consequences would be grave. In fact, unfathomable water, debris, and other contaminants are prevented from damaging the car’s fuel system when the gas cap is in place.

Thirdly, the gas cap promotes fuel economy. A tightly sealed gas will prevent the fuel vapor from leaking. As such, the fuel vapor is reused in the car’s evaporative system. This will save you from spending some dollars in the filling station.

Signs of a defective Gas Cap

As a good driver, you will be keen to identify any threat to your road safety, such as a faulty gas cap.

  • You will simply start by confirming if the fuel cap is tight enough. Improper tightening of the gas cap could mean that it has a problem. It is supposed to click when it is properly tightened.
  • You should also be on the lookout for any fuel smells in case you suspect a failing gas cap. The leaking fuel vapor due to a bad gas cap can be smelt if you’re a keen observer. However, in most cars, when the fuel cap has failed, the Check Engine Lights will be turned on to notify you that there is a problem. This is because the gas cap forms part of the emission and evaporation system in your car, and for this reason, a leak in the fuel vapor will be detected by the vehicle’s computer, which will turn the engine lights off.
  • After you have confirmed all these symptoms, you will be in a better position to determine if your gas cap has an issue. For better road safety, do not hesitate to change a defective fuel cap.

Cost of replacing the fuel cap

It is advisable to replace the gas cap as soon as you lose it or when it fails. As much as all gas caps can be said to be universal, it is best to get the most appropriate gas cap for your car.

Reading your car owner’s manual will perfectly inform you of the gas cap to use. Besides, you will get it right if you call your mechanic for advice. If you lose the gas cap in the course of your journey, cover the fuel tank entry point with a rag or bottle until you reach the nearest filling station. If you lose it at home, contact stores such as Autozone for assistance.

The gas cap question; right or left?

Who has not stretched their neck outside the car window to confirm the location of the fuel cap? This is more common in rental cars. That awkward turn that you have to make in the filling station when you get it wrong is so annoying and a waste of your time.

If you want to know where your gas cap is located, check out that a small arrow or triangle near the gas gauge. This is a sure way to solve your problem. Did you see where it pointed to? That is the direction of your fuel tank and gas cap.

Now you can confidently pull up into the gas station, and the gas man will not have to stretch their pipes to make up for your mistake. You are now happy after correctly identifying the location of your gas cap.

Future Implications

The future in the gas cap industry is that most vehicles will go capless. With a capless gas tank, you will be spared from the problem of your hands smelling gas. It will be pretty easy to direct the pump nozzle in after opening the fuel door.

This will also reduce the fuel smell in the car due to leakages that are prevalent in capped gas tanks. With a capless system, petty thieves will not be able to siphon your gasoline. With the quick rate of adopting electric vehicles, the capped and capless gas tanks may be irrelevant.

Climate change is a pertinent issue in the world, and much effort is being made to preserve the ozone layer. Electric vehicles are likely to be the new norm in the future, and gas caps a thing of the past. Before then, let’s hang on to our gas caps as they are our best chance of avoiding fuel catastrophes.