Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Replace a Fuel Filler Cap

fuel filler cap

The fuel filler cap secures the entry to the fuel tank of a vehicle and it is made of metal or plastic.

Most fuel filler caps have threads, which are fixed to the tank pipe with matching threads. A rubber gasket at the top is compressed when the cap is fixed and it stops fuel and fuel vapor leaks. The fuel filler cap also has air vents that allow the air to enter into the tank and maintain pressure.

Generally, fuel filler caps can be used as a closure for the fuel tank. Most fuel filler caps are sealed by turning them until you hear a clicking sound. Other caps have locks within them requiring a key to open them.

  • Note: It is not recommended to use a fuel filler cap with a key insert. These type of caps generally have a small leak around the keyhole.

check engine light on the dashboard

On vehicles from 1996, the emission control system monitors the fuel vapors and illuminates an engine light when there is leakage. If the seal is damaged or if the fuel filler cap does not seal the tank properly, the engine light will be illuminated along with the fuel door light. If this light comes on, check the fuel filler cap and see if it is screwed on properly. Most of the time, the problem may be solved by replacing the defective gasket. However, cleaning the cap and/or greasing the gasket may also help in a few cases.

Signs of fuel filler cap failure

At regular intervals, ensure that you check your vehicle for any signs of fuel filler cap failure like:

  • The smell of gasoline or diesel vapors around or near the fuel filler cap
  • The gasket of the cap is split or missing
  • The cap has a crack
  • The threads on the cap are stripped

If the fuel filler cap fails, the engine management system will record this event. A fuel level sensor will send information to the car’s computer about the level and resistance transmitted to the gauge.

Engine light codes related to the fuel filler cap

Fuel leakage in a vehicle can be very dangerous. Liquid fuel does not burn, but the vapors given off by the fuel are extremely flammable. If there is a leak at the fuel filler cap, there is an increased risk of the fuel vapors igniting when rocks are thrown up into the wheel well causing a spark.

  • Warning: Do not smoke around a vehicle if you smell fuel as the fuel vapors are very flammable.

Part 1 of 3: Prepare to replace the fuel filler neck

Having all of the necessary tools and materials prior to starting the work will allow you to get the job done more efficiently.

Materials Needed

Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat, hard surface. Make sure that the transmission is in park mode (for automatics) or in 1st gear (for manuals).

Step 2: Secure the vehicle. Place wheel chocks around the front tires that will remain on the ground since the rear of the vehicle will be lifted up.

Engage the parking brake to prevent the rear tires from moving.

Part 2 of 3: Remove the fuel filler cap

Step 1: Locate the fuel filler cap. Open the fuel door to gain access to the fuel filler cap.

Step 2: Check the fuel filler cap. Look at the fuel filler cap for any exterior damage. Remove the fuel filler cap from the fuel filler neck and remove the cable from the fuel door.

Look at the threads on the cap to see if they are stripped.

Step 3: Check the gasket. Remove the gasket that is on the bottom of the fuel filler cap. Check the gasket for any cracks or distortion.

Step 4: Check the fuel filler neck for any damage. If you notice any damage, the fuel filler neck may be failing.

Step 5: Clean the fuel filler neck threads. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to clean the threads on the fuel filler neck.

Part 3 of 3: Install the new fuel filler cap

Step 1: Install the new gasket onto the new fuel filler cap. Screw the new fuel filler cap onto the fuel filler neck. Ensure that the threads lock fully onto the fuel filler neck.

Step 2: Hook up the cable to the fuel door. Use the combustible gas detector and verify that there are no fuel vapors leaking from the fuel filler cap.

Close the fuel door

Step 3: Drive the vehicle. During the test drive, go over different terrain like bumps to allow the fuel to slosh around inside the fuel tank. This will cause the fuel to bubble up and create mass amounts of vapor.

Step 4: Check for warning lights. Monitor the dash for the engine light to appear.

If the engine light comes on even after replacing the fuel filler cap, you may need to get the fuel system checked for possible electrical issues. If the problem persists, seek help from one of the certified technicians at YourMechanic and get them to inspect the fuel filler cap and determine the cause of the problem.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Throttle Return Spring Last?
Not all vehicles on the road feature an electronic throttle control (ETC), which is also called drive-by-wire. For vehicles that don't offer this system, they have a throttle cable instead that...
How to Find the Keyless Code on a Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer
Many Ford Explorers and Mercury Mountaineers were manufactured with an option known as the Ford keyless entry keypad. Some models refer to it as SecuriCode as well. It...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...


Related questions

Q: Smell of gasoline during driving on a 2003 Vauxhall Corsa

Start by watching my video "does your car smell of gasoline?" That will show you all the steps to do. But, in a nutshell, you'd want to check the gas cap to see if it's loose or leaking. You'd...

Q: Fuel Rail System Error Code

Considering that the code is related to a problem in the fuel system, you should leave it to the professionals to avoid personal injury. When fueling the car, check twice to make sure the fuel cap is fastened properly. Low...

Q: Gas tank door burnt black.

The most common cause for a P0440 code is the fuel cap seal. I suggest making sure that the fuel cap is tight by turning until it clicks. If you are sure that your fuel cap was tight, replace the...