Every driver may experience a lost gas cap issue while driving. A lost gas cap is usually only noticed after the next gas refueling.
Some advanced cars have timely warning light indications for loose gas caps, but mostly it is not present in other vehicles.
Can you still drive without a gas cap? The answer is yes, but you must drive carefully to ensure the fuel won’t slash out from the tank.
But for safety purposes, you must find some alternative gas caps before you proceed with driving. We’ll provide useful alternatives in this article that may save your day!
Why Is Gas Cap Important?
A gas cap helps the fuel efficiency of your car. It will prevent fuel vapors from leaking out in the filler neck or tank.
Leaking fuel vapor can cause hydrocarbon emissions that may cause air pollution.
It also prevents any damage and contaminants from getting into your car engine system that may affect its performance.
Fuel leaks can be a problem without a gas cap since it is highly volatile and can threaten your health.
Alternatives On Gas Cap
If you can’t replace your gas cap right away, some alternatives can help you reach your destination before grabbing a new gas cap.
But be sure to replace your gas cap with a brand-new one for your safety and convenience.
Here are some helpful gas cap alternatives:
1. Use Aluminum Foil
If you have aluminum foil at home or any left in your car, you can use it to cover your gas tank.
It’s a good and safe alternative you can use in the meantime before you drive or continue driving.
- Cut off a small piece that is adequate to wrap the filler neck of your gas tank.
- Then, secure it using a rubber band; it will close the filler neck well but ensure not to tear the foil.
- You can double the foil before sealing it with a rubber band to ensure it won’t tear.
2. Use a Plastic Bag
If you don’t have aluminum, you can use a plastic bag instead. It’s another best alternative you can utilize, and you don’t have to spend money on it. Grab a plastic bag and start sealing your gas tank!
- Get a plastic bag, crumple and insert it inside the filler neck, but make sure not to tear the plastic to avoid leakage.
- Another option is to warp it around the filler neck and zip it with a rubber band, just like the aluminum foil.
3. Use a Plastic Bottle
The plastic bottle is recyclable, and you can use it ideally as your temporary cover on your gas tank. You can utilize it with two options: the bottle cap or the bottom part.
Here’s how you use a plastic bottle as your gas cap alternative:
- If you have a plastic bottle with a cap that is enough to warp your car’s filler neck, grab it and make it your temporary gas cap. If it fits on your car filler’s neck, cover and secure it with a rubber band or duct tape.
- If you can’t find any plastic cap that fits your filler cap, get an empty plastic bottle and cut its bottom part.
- Make sure you have tools to help you cut the bottle, such as scissors, a knife, or a cutter.
- After you cut the bottom, use it to cover your gas tank.
- If the bottle needs to be tight enough, you can secure it with duct tape to tighten it.
4. Use a Cork
If you have a lot of wine bottles at home that have a cork that fits on your car’s filler neck, you can use it.
It’s a good alternative if it fits enough on your gas tank; it can cover your tank to avoid fuel leakage.
- If you find cork that fits on the filler neck, insert it into the opening and tighten it as you do with the wine bottle.
- If it does not fit, you can wrap the cork with plastic until it fits on the filler neck.
- Bond it with a rubber band to ensure the plastic won’t detach on the cork.
5. Ask the Pump Attendant for a Spare Gas Cap
Another alternative that may help you is to ask attendants at the gasoline stations if they have spare gas caps.
Some motorist leaves their gas cap unknowingly when they drive rashly.
Many attendants keep those left gas caps; you may find caps that may fit your car’s filler neck.
6. Purchase a Universal Gas Cap
You can buy a universal gas cap first, apart from buying the original one.
You can purchase universal gas caps in some convenience stores or gasoline stations. Most gasoline stations sell it as it is a common problem among drivers.
Usually, universal gas caps are plastic or rubber that can fit easily to filler necks by pushing inwards until it works well if you want to remove it, twist and pull it.
7. Use a Cloth or a Rag
If you can’t use the six alternatives, you can use a cloth or rag for the time being to cover your gas tank temporarily. Although, it is the least method we recommend for safety purposes.
- Get a cloth or clean rag and crumple it, then insert it into your gas tank.
- Make sure that the cloth or the rag is clean and does not tear easily to avoid debris penetrating your gas tank.
- Push down the cloth or rag on your car’s filler neck to tighten it to ensure it covers your gas tank adequately.
Why don’t we thoroughly recommend this method?
It’s because cloth or rag may soak on the gas and it may start to drip, which may cause trouble such as fire.
Fuel is highly volatile, and cloth can absorb it; therefore, it is still possible that the fuel will still leak once it is oversoaked.
Especially when you have a long-distance drive, we recommend using the other alternative to ensure your safety.
To ensure your safety in driving, use the alternative for the time being and do not use it permanently.
Fuel is highly volatile and may cause serious troubles such as fire that may harm your safety and health.
Please be aware of the bad signs of a gas cap. Such as the check engine light appearing, the smell of gas whenever you are in your car, the discoloration of your fuel tank opening, the problem of tightening your gas cap, and poor fuel economy in your vehicle.
If you notice some bad signs, replace your gas cap immediately. It will save you trouble in losing your gas cap unnoticed while you drive.
Dealing with lost gas caps can be troublesome as it will threaten your safety; good thing there are some helpful alternatives you can use in the meantime.
But the best thing to avoid it is to take note of the bad signs of the gas cap.
When you notice the signs earlier before your long trip, you can still have time to replace them.
Proper maintenance or regular check-up of your car will ensure that every part down to the gas cap is working correctly.
It saves your driving experience from troubles such as a lost gas cap that cause worries.
Patrick started his love affair with cars in his childhood. Over the years, he claims a sturdy hold on his driving skills, along with a thorough understanding of cars. We can expect some interesting, holistic, and pleasurable blogs with his flair for writing and his love for cars.
Being a car enthusiast, Patrick has experience comprising of two decades in which he has ridden some of the meanest and strongest machines in the automotive industry. His previous avatars include an automotive professional, photographer, and journalist, and you will certainly experience the roundness of experience in his piece on this site.
In his second decade of reviewing cars and analyzing tools, Patrick is all set to give you convincing, reliable, and the latest information regarding what’s happening in the automotive industry. Currently, he owns a BMW Z3 but cannot get his eyes off Aston Martin DB5. He is a car enthusiast; he loves cooking and listening to music, especially jazz. Here are some of the pieces written by our ace author.