Audis are stylish and known for their high performance, but these sporty cars may experience common vehicle issues, such as a <a href=”https://www.professionalautomotive.com/audi-service>loose fuel cap. If your vehicle’s fuel cap is loose, the check engine warning light should illuminate on your dashboard to alert you of an issue. When the light comes on it is important to check the fuel cap immediately.
Dangers of a Loose Fuel Cap
The fuel cap for a vehicle is responsible for regulating the what comes in and out of the vehicle’s fuel tank. The fuel cap seals the opening to the gas tank, preventing debris, dirt, and dust from getting into the fuel tank and mixing with the fuel. Additionally, the deals prevent the fuel vapors from leaving the fuel tank and getting outside or into your vehicle.
If your vehicle’s fuel cap is loose, then the fuel vapors can escape from the fuel tank. This poses a risk to the environment and yourself as an individual. Fuel vapors are flammable and with the right conditions may ignite causing you and your vehicle harm.
Additionally, when air mixes with combustion gases, such as fuel vapors, it creates smog and other forms of air pollution in the ozone layer. This is an immense environmental hazard, and it is why vehicles built after 1996 have EPA-certified sensors that are triggered by fuel vapor emissions from the vehicle’s fuel tank. These sensors will detect a loose fuel cap and will turn on the vehicle’s check engine light, as well as send a diagnostic trouble code identifying an emissions leak. Older cars will still turn on the check engine light, but do not have the technology to send a diagnostic code.
Symptoms of a Loose Fuel Cap
The following are signs that your vehicle may have a loose fuel cap:
- There is no clicking sound when securing cap after refueling: The majority of fuel caps click several times to lock into place. If your vehicle’s fuel cap is not clicking when you are trying to secure it back into place, then you may need to get it replaced.
- Check engine light comes on: Both old and new vehicles have a check engine light that will illuminate if there are fuel vapors emitting from the vehicle.
- Car smells like fuel: If your vehicle’s fuel cap is loose, then it is not properly sealing the fuel tank and could be releasing fuel vapors that may get into your car, creating a lingering smell of gasoline.
- Lower mileage: If the fuel cap of your vehicle is loose, then evaporating fuel will leak out of your car, causing you to lose fuel. Your gas mileage will decrease because your fuel supply is being depleted faster than usual.
Causes for a Loose Fuel Cap
If your vehicle has a loose fuel cap, it could be caused by any of the following:
- Unsecured after refueling: Be sure to take your time at gas stations to ensure you have properly secured your gas cap to the vehicle’s fuel tank. One of the most common reasons for a loose fuel cap on your vehicle is the failure to tighten the fuel cap securely after refueling.
The first thing you should do if alerted that your vehicle’s fuel cap is loose is check to see if your vehicle’s fuel cap needs to be tightened more securely into place. If you are able to secure the cap in place, but the check engine light remains on, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic for inspection.
- Seal is broken or cracked: Over time the seal around your vehicle’s fuel cap is vulnerable to wear just like any other part and may begin to crack or break. If the seal is damaged, your vehicle’s fuel cap may not fit securely to the gas tank anymore and you will need to have your vehicle’s fuel cap replaced as soon as possible.
You should regularly inspect your vehicle’s fuel cap for any damages to protect yourself, your vehicle, and the environment. If your vehicle’s fuel cap is loose and you are unable to tighten it securely to the fuel tank, come to Professional Automotive in Marlborough, MA. Our qualified technicians will provide your vehicle with expert maintenance to ensure a safe driving experience in all driving conditions.