Effects of a Loose Fuel Cap in Audisby Konig Admin August 2, 2018
In today’s market of electric, hybrid, and even self-driving cars, it is hard to believe that your driving experience could be thrown off by something as simple as a loose fuel cap. However, a fuel cap that is not affixed correctly can cause both your car and the environment important safety concerns if you are unable to get it fixed quickly.
A Cause for Concern
The most likely way you will discover that your fuel cap is loose is that you will receive a check engine warning alert on your dashboard. When this warning light comes on, you should first check to be sure your fuel cap is on tight. The most common reason for loose fuel caps is when users fail to secure them tightly after refueling. However, over time and repeated use, the seals around them can crack and break, requiring a replacement.
One problem you may face if you do not secure your fuel cap immediately is that the warning light will not re-engage for other, potentially unrelated issues that may occur in your vehicle. These other problems may lead to more dangerous and more expensive problems. You may be unable to distinguish between malfunctions. A loose fuel cap though should not be overlooked as an unimportant safety concern.
A Major Safety Hazard
When your gas cap is not fitted tightly, you lose evaporating fuel. This vaporous fuel is flammable and, under the right circumstances could ignite and cause serious harm to you and your vehicle. Even outside of that kind of catastrophic event, your vehicle will continually leak that fuel vapor into the air. When that air mixes with combustion gasses in the ozone layer, it creates smog.
Vehicles built after 1996 have EPA-certified sensors that are triggered by fuel vapor emissions. That is how your vehicle is able to detect that your gas cap is loose. This process is used to reduce air pollution. Your gas cap helps regulate the emission of these vapors with a dual-action valve that relieves any extra pressure in the tank and also allows outside force in if a vacuum develops within the fuel tank itself. If the leak test fails, your check engine light will illuminate, and it will send a diagnostic trouble code indicating an emissions leak.
As well as being a significant motor safety hazard for you and the environment, a loose fuel cap may cause you to lose mileage in your vehicle. With too much unregulated fuel vapor escaping the vehicle, your fuel supply depletes faster than usual, causing you to lose precious gas mileage.
How to Correct a Loose Fuel Cap
If you see your check engine warning light come on, you should find the first safe place to pull over and ensure that your gas cap is on and fitted tightly to your gas tank opening. Many fuel caps today click several times to lock them in place. If you notice the fuel cap is not fitting appropriately or failing to secure in place, you should take it to your trusted local auto mechanic for inspection as soon as possible. If the fuel cap appears to be locked in place, but the check engine light remains on, you should also take it to your local mechanic so they can identify the source of the check engine light.
How Konig Motorsport Can Help
The European automotive specialists here at Konig Motorsport have focused their expertise so intently on Audi vehicles that clients from all over the areas of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Vista, and Encinitas, CA come to us for our services. Loose fuel caps are not unique to Audis, but they can be a serious enough problem to require the expertise of trained mechanics.
At Konig Motorsport, you can expect professional service and technicians that will be sure to give your Audi a full inspection to prevent further problems with your vehicle and save you the time and money of multiple appointments. If you would like us to help adjust or replace your loose fuel cap or would like to find out more about our certifications for working with Audi vehicles, please call us today. We look forward to helping you continue a safe and secure driving experience in your Audi.
* Audi S4 image credit goes to: tomeng.