When a car is running, gasses from the combustion of fuel need to escape from the engine. The gas cap plays an important role in taking in fresh air and releasing exhaust fumes from the vehicle. If this system is not working properly it can cause many problems, including damaged cylinders and valves, loss of power and loss of gas mileage.
When a car is running, the engine sucks in air and pumps it into cylinders. The gasoline-powered car provides fuel for this combustion process. In a diesel engine, the device that does this job is called an.
Loose gas cap causes serious engine damage
The gas cap must form a seal with the opening at the top of the tank. Underneath, there’s an opening where vapor from inside the tank can get out without letting any more air in. If your gas cap fits too loosely, dirt and moisture could enter through this vent hole. That causes corrosion throughout the fuel system which will eventually cause problems for your entire vehicle – expensive ones!
A loose gas cap actually causes damage to your engine in several ways:
- It lets dirt particles get into the fuel system which causes problems.
- It lets ventilation of fumes from your gas tank get inside of your car, causing a build up of gas vapors and possibly even an explosion.
- The problem is bad for the environment too because it’s leaking fuel vapors which are pollutants.
Problems associated with Venting
Venting problems can cause pressure in the evaporative emissions system to rise; this may cause damage to various parts in that system (such as hoses). Loose cap also affects driving behaviour by increasing fuel consumption because when petrol gets spilled over the road, drivers will try to accelerate quickly or brake hard in order to reduce friction between tyres and road surface; this forces air out of the way at high speeds – but cars need air for the combustion engine.
Problems asscoiated with Loose gas cap
A loose gas cap can also cause problems for your warranty – if that’s not void already due to modifications of the car or some other reason. It causes damage to your new car because of emissions, fuel economy and environmental issues mentioned above. This will cost you extra money in the long run.
Problems associated with Fuel spills
Fuel spills are very dangerous too; think of what would happen if you weren’t able to brake quickly enough while driving on slippery road? You could have a major accident! That means more expense again, this time for car repairs. A loose gas cap is responsible for approximately one litre of gasoline spilling out per 100km driven so it doesn’t take much before you’re experiencing really bad effects. The fumes emitted by leaked fuel are also very toxic.
How to tell if your gas cap is loose
- Time to check if your gas cap is loose. The first thing you have to do is stop the car, turn off the ignition and take out the key. Open up your hood and find your gas tank which is usually located on one side of the vehicle.
- Next find a screwdriver and remove the screws around it. Now, as carefully as possible take off your gas cap (be careful not to spill gasoline) and look at it closely because this will tell you how much air it lets in while driving:
- If there are scratches around top part of the seal then that means that there’s too much airflow and you need to tighten up your gas cap or drive faster (if that helps).
- If there are scratches around the bottom half of the seal then that means that there’s too little airflow and you need to get a new gas cap.
- If there are no visible scratches then that means that your gas cap is doing its job perfectly and air flows in and out just enough to maintain a good driving speed.
Also, if the gasket on your existing gas cap is more than 1/2 of an inch thick or there aren’t any holes at all (in which case you should get a new gas cap) then you can drive pretty fast but not as fast as someone with the perfect one. Good luck!
10 car problems caused by a loose gas cap
A loose gas cap is a lot less urgent than, say, a broken axle or an overheated radiator. But it can still be annoying and lead to bigger problems-and what’s more important, a properly sealed fuel tank will save you money over the long run because you won’t lose gas to evaporation.
Here are 10 car problems that have been attributed to a loose gas cap. See if you’ve ever had any of them yourself:
When vapor pressure builds up in your gas tank as a result of a loose or missing fuel cap, your engine has to work harder for the same performance as before. That extra stress can cause rough idling and stalling, as well as accelerating issues from moving parts being starved for lubrication. And the harder your engine has to work, the more gas you’ll use.
A loose or missing fuel cap will result in one of two different types of acceleration problems: either a significant loss of power or merely sluggish pick up when you first press down on the accelerator pedal. Either way, it’s an inconvenience that should be addressed as quickly as possible because it can lead to other issues-like stalling completely while you’re driving! It’s also likely to damage your vehicle over time due to excess friction created by inconsistent air pressure inside the tank.
If vapor pressure builds up enough within your car’s gas tank, it will start causing fuel mixture problems for your engine. The most common result is that some of the fuel will ignite before it’s supposed to, creating a misfire. You’ll notice this as a knocking or clattering sound under the hood-and if you have an advanced combustion ignition system with multiple coils per cylinder, you may even lose complete power altogether!
Diminished fuel economy
A less-obvious consequence of losing gas due to evaporation is decreased fuel economy. When you lose gas for any reason at all, your car has to work harder because there’s simply less weight in the tank working against gravity when you’re trying to accelerate, go uphill, etc. So not only are you using more gas thanks to evapor loss-you’re using more gas with no benefit in return.
A very similar problem to #2, a sluggish throttle response is when your car takes forever to build up speed-almost as if it’s stuck in gear or going uphill-but there’s nothing actually wrong with the gears themselves. In this case, you’re likely losing gas from evaporation and vapor pressure is causing inconsistent fuel delivery under hard acceleration. This can also lead to engine misfires further down the line because of lack of proper fuel pressure at the injectors/carburetors/etc…
A general decrease in vehicle performance can be caused by a number of different issues, but vapor loss leading to a buildup of vapor pressure within your gas tank is one of them. The more vapor pressure there is within the tank, the harder your car has to work-and that can quickly lead to issues like overheating and premature wear on parts such as belts and gaskets.
Difficulty starting your engine
A lot of driving problems start with a weak or difficult startup after it’s been sitting unused for a while… but sometimes this symptom appears even if you haven’t driven your car in days or weeks! That’s because when you lose gas due to evaporation, you’re also losing some of the fuel additives that keep internal components evenly lubricated and free from corrosion. So if you turn on your ignition and nothing happens, don’t assume it’s just dead battery-check your gas cap first!
Difficulty re-starting your engine (after driving)
If you find that it takes much longer than usual for your car to start up after driving, then evaporative loss may be the culprit. When fuel is heated and pressurized as a result of its journey through your fuel lines and injectors/carburetor, the resulting vapor pressure helps deliver a strong fuel mixture. But if you’ve been losing gas due to evaporation, there won’t be nearly as much vapor present to provide this extra kick… and eventually, this may lead to starting issues similar to #7 above where it just refuses to start no matter how many times you turn the key.
Bad fuel mileage
This problem should be fairly self-explanatory: You’re paying top dollar for the best octane you can afford, and yet your car is still getting less than half its usual fuel economy? Tossing in additive after additive to try and counter this problem won’t help; It’s purely a result of vapor pressure loss due to evaporative emissions.
Check engine light
There are many different problems that could cause your check engine light (CEL) to turn on, but evaporative emission issues such as those seen with #1-4 will definitely trigger it! The check engine light is there because something is wrong with your car and needs addressed ASAP… if nothing else, make sure you at least replace the gas cap like I said above.
How to fix a loose gas cap yourself
If you’ve recently filled up at the pump and noticed that the gas cap didn’t feel quite as tight as it normally does, you may be due for a replacement. Gas caps are inexpensive and simple to replace–just about every car on the road these days has one. If you’d like to save yourself some time and money by doing this simple repair yourself, keep reading.
Tools you need
- Gas cap (obviously)
- Screwdriver or socket wrench
- Flathead screwdriver or knife
Locate the gas cap release button. On most cars made in the last twenty years, this will be located underneath your vehicle’s face just below the windshield wipers. This step might not apply to all vehicles but should certainly apply to most standard gasoline-powered doors. If you can’t find this button, check the owner’s manual to see if your specific vehicle requires an extra step of locating a switch or panel inside the car before removing the gas cap
Accessing the gas cap is fairly simple on most vehicles. Depress the button with your finger and lift up on the cap release to access it. On some cars, you may need to use a flathead screwdriver or knife that is sturdy enough not to bend but thin enough to fit between your hand and the underside of the faceplate. Just be sure not to scratch any surfaces–this isn’t ideal for resale value!
Once, take note of how your old gas cap looks. Is it dirty or corroded? Does it have any visible cracks or damages that might cause a gas leak? If so, order a new one as soon as possible to ensure your safety and keep your car running cleanly.
Installation is even easier than removal. Just line up the gas cap with the base of your vehicle’s filler neck and push down firmly until you hear a distinct “click”.