In this article, you can see a couple of useful tips on what to do if you lost your gas cap.
This mishap is one of the more common ones and has happened to almost every driver at some period of time.
Although it causes worry, there are a couple of simple solutions that will enable you to continue driving until you buy a new one.
Besides this, you can also watch a video tutorial at the end of this article or on our YouTube channel.
HOW DO YOU NOTICE THAT THE CAP IS MISSING?
In most situations, you won’t notice that the gas cap is missing until the next refueling.
The first sign that may probably appear is the check engine light coming up on the dash. But this isn’t always the case and it may not happen immediately but after you’ve driven a few dozen miles.
If you read more about check engine problems, click here.
A good thing about some cars is that there’s a convenient warning light dedicated exclusively to a loose gas cap that goes on immediately after you start the car. But this isn’t present in all cars.
Besides this, one more sign is a strong smell of fuel around the car when you make your next stop.
But, in most cases, the truth is that you won’t notice until you’re long gone from the gas station.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOST YOUR GAS CAP?
1. BUY A UNIVERSAL GAS CAP
Buying a universal gas cap is the best solution apart from buying the original cap.
You can find these at most gas stations or convenience stores. Every gas station sells these because this is a pretty common mishap among drivers.
As you’ll see, the caps are usually made from plastic or rubber and are a universal fit for all cars.
Installing the cap is easy, just push inwards and turn until it sits in. When removing, just twist and pull out.
2. STICK A CLOTH INSIDE THE FILLER NECK
You’re bound to have some sort of cloth in the car. In this case, a chamois cloth is used. It can do the job but it can also get ruined by gas.
It would be best If you have some old rags. Just make sure it doesn’t have any dirt on it or doesn’t tear up easily so you don’t accidentally get any debris inside the gas tank.
Just push the cloth inside and clog the filler neck. It should hold for some time.
3. USE A PLASTIC BAG
One more common item around the car is a plastic bag. Use it just like the cloth. Crumple the bag and push it inside the filler neck. Be careful not to tear it.
Another option is to wrap the bag around the filler neck and tighten it. You can use a zip tie or rubber band if you happen to have one. If not, you can try using a piece of string or a shoelace for instance.
4. USE ALUMINUM FOIL
Wrap the aluminum foil around the filler neck and shape a cap around it.
As you’ll see, it will close the filler neck pretty god and have a nice hold on it. Again, be careful not to tear it when wrapping.
5. USE A PLASTIC BOTTLE
You’re bound to have a smaller plastic bottle around the car. If you also happen to have a knife, box cutter, scissors, or else in your toolkit, then this tip can perhaps help.
Use the box cutter or knife to cut off the bottom of the bottle. As you’ll see you’ll get a decent little plastic cap.
Most of these bottles will fit on the filler neck and hold up pretty well.
Of course, watch your hands when cutting.
CAN YOU STILL DRIVE IF YOU LOST YOUR GAS CAP?
The answer to this question is yes and in most cases, you won’t have any major problems.
Perhaps the main reason is that, luckily, most cars have a safety valve or safety gate at the top of the filler neck that additionally prevents gas from spilling out.
But nevertheless, if you don’t have a gas cap, use some of these tips to close the filler neck completely or as much as possible, especially if you’re going to have to drive for a longer period of time.
If the check engine light appeared, it should go off after you’ve put a new gas cap on.
As with almost every car problem perhaps the best answer to what to do if you lost your gas cap is: to prevent it from happening in the first place.
For instance, try to make a habit of leaving the cap in the proper place if it isn’t connected by a tether.
The moment you take the cap off put it on the gas tank door, in the place made especially for it.
Doing this will almost eliminate the problem from happening in the first place.
Also, if you’re lucky and noticed on time that the gas cap is missing and you haven’t driven that far away from the gas station, turn around and try to find it.
Sometimes, you may get lucky and find the cap or someone might have been kind enough to leave it at the pump. Maybe some of the personnel working there may find it also.
One more thing: when the cap is missing try to avoid fast driving and sudden braking. This causes gas splashes inside the tank and increases the possibility of spilling around.
In the end: know that all of these tips are just a first-aid measure until you buy a new gas cap. So, don’t make a habit of driving without one, solve the problem as soon as possible.
The best solution, by far to this problem is buying a new original gas cap.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
WHAT TO DO IF YOU LOST YOUR GAS CAP? YOUTUBE VIDEO