A gas cap is the lid that seals a gas tank, to make sure that no gas or vapors escape the tank while the cap is on. Gas caps are a very critical and complex part that helps keep a vehicle safe and efficient. Gas caps are only meant to be taken off when refueling at the gas station. Most caps will be secured to the vehicle using a string or some other device which will help the driver from losing the cap. When tightening a gas cap, a few clicks is often heard which tells the user that the cap is secured properly.
Gas caps are important when a vehicle gets in an accident, because they reduce the risk of gas spilling, which can cause a large fire if it is ignited. A gas cap protects the atmosphere and keeps toxic fumes from being released, in a closed place such as a garage. Having a gas cap will also increase fuel economy by not allowing the gas to evaporate.
The most common type of gas cap used on a vehicle is the fender well cap. A fender well gas cap is made out of zinc, and is not supposed to be exposed to the elements for long periods of time. This gas cap is usually covered up by a door which folds open or closed. The second type of gas cap is the exposed cap which is able to be subjected to the elements. This cap is usually made out of chromium and nickel, which is able to ward off weather extremes. Although plastic may be all that is seen that screws into the filler housing, there is a lot more inside a gas cap than can be seen.
Newer vehicles often have sensors on the gas cap which can sense if the cap is off or even tightened enough. Many of these sensors can also pick up a leak of gas or vapor, if one is occurring. Sensors typically send a message to the dashboard, which will display a message warning like the service engine soon light.
Some gas caps have a pre-vent feature, which is designed to prevent spraying of gas when the cap is removed to refuel. Vehicles that can run on E85 fuel will usually have a bright yellow gas cap, to remind people of the special fuel required. Some gas caps have locking features that will help prevent fuel from being stolen when the vehicle is not in use. Vehicles that have a locking gas cap usually have a button inside the passenger compartment to unlock the cap, or it is done using a key.
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