One of the most important things about a car that no one tells you…

Petrol / fuel caps – one of the simplest parts of the car – yet the one that gives a lot of people a real headache.

Knowing which side the fuel cap is on when driving your own car is easy (unless you’ve got a really bad memory …like Dory from Finding Nemo bad!), but if you’ve stolen borrowed, or hired a car (or van) you’re not familiar with, then you probably don’t have a clue which side the fuel cap is on.

We’ve all done it, borrowed a friends car, and then to repay the favour gone to the petrol station to re-fill it with fuel*. Just as you approach the pump… you realise you have no idea where the fuel cap is. Well you know it’s either left or right** but which …you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right, but no matter what, you almost always pull up to the pump on the wrong side of the car!

In most (modern) garages it just doesn’t matter, the hoses are long enough to reach around the car… mostly. Of course there’s always that one garage (the one where the attendant has a dodgy eye/haircut) where the hose is just too short and you end up pulling stretching it across the roof, under the bumper and putting the nozzle ‘in’ at an unsafe angle. This usually results in petrol spilling over the forecourt and/or your car!

This need never happen to you again, the car manufacturers are on our side.

If you go and look at your car dashboard at the petrol gauge you will see the little petrol pump symbol, you’re about to notice something about it that you’ve probably never noticed before.

Did you see it? …Look again!
It’s the arrow! Every fuel gauge has this little unassuming arrow. The arrow (just in case you’re a bit slow on the uptake) points to the side of the car that the fuel cap is located.

A simple solution to an amazingly frustrating problem… of course it doesn’t explain why the fuel cap isn’t on the same side in every car! (Anyone know?)

UPDATE: In some cars, there is no arrow (oh the horror!). However, all is not lost… on these cars the icon still gives the game away. on the icon the nozzle and hose appear on the side of the pump that corresponds to the side of the car where your fuel cap is.


**unless you drive the station wagon from National Lampoons Vacation… where the fuel cap is at the back under the licence plate!

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