General Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Do you have a locking gas cap on your vehicle, and if not, why not?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (18729points) July 21st, 2015

A bunch of years ago I disrupted some idiots trying to steal gas from my truck and ever since have had a locking cap.
I also worried about idiots trying to put shit in the tank to screw up the vehicle, also why I have a locking cap.

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32 Answers

DoNotKnow's avatar

I have a 10.6 gallon fuel tank. If someone is crafty enough to want to pry open my cap cover, get to the cap and steal my gasoline, I have to admit – I’d be impressed. And then I’d move.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Um, I haven’t seen locking gas caps since the 70’s and 80’s. I guess I could get one, but I don’t have one.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The outer cover can only be opened by a latch inside of the car.

When one of the nephews was very young, the curious tyke poured birdseed into his father’s gas tank. It didn’t go over too well.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL!
Once upon a time a friend and her husband came to visit. They had 2 boys. One was 15, the other 12. The 15 year old had his learners permit so driving was all he thought about, you know.
It was dark, and I had reason to go out in the front yard. There the boys were, the 15 year old in the drivers seat, the 12 year old standing next to him, in front of the open door.
The instant they saw me they started doing something frantically.
I said, “What are you guys doing?”
Breathlessly they said, “Nothing! Here’s your keys!”
Well, next time I went to drive the car…the key wouldn’t go into the ignition. It hit me then that they’d put the key in the ignition, but didn’t know about the little button you had to push that would release the key. Instead, in their panic, they just ripped the key out.

I took the problem to their Mom, who was one of my best friends. She talked to them. They denied it. She backed them up. I was flabbergasted.
I said, “Well, I suppose someone could have been wandering along, saw keys in the ignition (and I never leave keys in the ignition,) and just ripped them out.”
She said, “Well, that isn’t very likely!”
I just stayed silent.
It kind of hurt our relationship, you know? She felt I was calling her boys liars (well, they were!) but I never flat out said it.
As the boys grew (they’re in their 30’s now) I’d sometimes corner them and whisper that they needed to confess! They would just look down at the ground ashamed.
Don’t know if they ever did.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Pachy's avatar

Only a lever that opens it from inside the car. It could easily be pried open, and if someone’s desperate enough to want to steal gas out of my tank, I say let ‘em. ;-)

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thye problem @Pachy is not just the loss of the fuel,it’s the freakin damage these idiots do trying to get it,plus some just love to vandalize and put something in the tank to screw up the vehicle.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It sounds like @Pachy and I have the same style of gas tank protector.

@SQUEEKY2, even if we were to go with the lockable gas cap, the outer cover would still have to be pried open. My vehicle is almost 20 years old and is kept in a locked garage unless in use. If someone is desperate to break into mine out of any others in a parking lot for the possibility of obtaining who knows how much fuel at any given time, it’s a small risk to take.

Zaku's avatar

Mine has a locking door over the non-locking cap, linked to the car door locks. Was the manufacturer’s decision.

My previous car had the same design, and it was the first catastrophic failure of design. One power door lock went out, causing all passenger doors to be inoperative. When I first went to refuel after that, I found out that I couldn’t refuel the car with a power door lock out, either. All on the same circuit. So I had whatever gas was left to make it to a mechanic. Great design. I would prefer manual door locks and manual windows, but OMG who does that now? Costs more money, etc. Annoying, like most modern car electronics. Designed to be expensive things that will fail and need replacing, it seems to me. Simple non-computerized manual solutions were better, and easily fixed by standard mechanic.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I use an old, beat up Jeep CJ from the early 1970’s. I don’t think they had locking gas caps back then.

CWOTUS's avatar

In the great scheme of things I could worry about, it’s pretty low on the list. Not that I spend any time worrying about anything, but still…

In the passenger cars and light trucks that most of us drive, the vehicle design includes, as several have pointed out, a locking cover for the gas cap, which is only (normally) opened from inside the vehicle’s cabin.

Since it is just a sheet metal cover and the lock is not at all “high security”, this can be easily bypassed or destroyed – in seconds – by someone who is determined to get at the filler nozzle. So it’s not as if there is “zero concern”; it’s not a highly secure situation.

On the other hand, my tires are worth nearly $100 apiece, and can be ruined if someone with a pair of diagonal cutters wants to clip off the nozzles – which would take even less time than fiddling with the fuel filler gauge. The windshield can be quite easily crazed, and the other winds even more easily broken. The sheet metal all over the surface of the car can be easily dented or punctured, and it doesn’t take a lot of force to rip off a bumper (even less to do it just halfway). Not to mention that anyone with a few minutes and access to YouTube can learn how to very simply and quickly open a locked car door with few or no tools, making all of the contents at risk. Aside from all of that, if someone wants to kill a driver, brake lines are easy to cut or puncture, and unless you know from experience, training or practice how to recover from “suddenly, no brakes” – or recognize the signs of decaying brake function, and take appropriate corrective action – then that’s a bigger potential problem, too.

And that’s just the car. Shall I tell you how easy it is to enter my garage?

If you think to yourself, “Well, now that I’ve got a locking fuel cap, all my security problems are solved!” then you haven’t thought much about the issue.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Zaku I factory ordered my pickup in 1998 with manual windows,locks, rubber floors, and a manual transmission and 17 years later the vehicle has given me very little trouble and would still trust it to drive across the country.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

People I am not just talking about at home in your safe warm garage, how about in town in a dark parking lot, or anywhere else the general public has access to.

JLeslie's avatar

I think some of the vehicles I have I need to unlock from inside my car and some of them I don’t. I’m curious about my truck?? In my mind it doesn’t lock, but I might be wrong, I’d have to check it. The truck tank holds something like 30 some gallons! Costs a lot of money to fill it. When gas is near $4 a gallon we sometimes have trouble at the pump because they put a limit on the credit card amount.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Back in the day when gas was really expensive and fuel fillers went straight into the tank with no evaporative emissions controls, it was easy to push a tube into the filler neck and siphon the tank. A locking gas cap was useful.

Now, the hot setup is to pierce the bottom of the tank with a barbed, 90 degree fitting connected to a hose and quickly drain the fuel into a waiting canister. That bypasses the locking cap and door.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Good God @LuckyGuy not only do they get the gas but then you have to replace the tank!??
Talk about expense!

jerv's avatar

Nope. I don’t even lock my car. Then again, the most valuable thing I keep in my car is a roll of duct tape. Of course, my car looks like it belongs to someone who can’t afford to keep the tank full enough to bother draining when they can get a full tank from the Lexus two spaces over. Ghetto camouflage works wonders.

@SQUEEKY2 Those who steal from you generally don’t care what expense they incur. On the plus side, it’s often possible to patch the tank for cheap; most auto parts dealers sell the kits for $10 or less.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What color is your duct tape, @jerv? Is it Hello Kitty duct tape? Is it Johnny Depp duct tape????

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III Just plain grey. I keep the fancy duct tape in my apartment where I do lock the door.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well hell. There goes my life of crime.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@jerv I have strips of black Guerrilla tape running along the bottom of my dark blue 2002 Silhouette. Stylish and functional. Like the 1993 Chameleon XLE
Here is NBC’s version of the same video. (You might have to search for Chameleon XLE)

@SQUEEKY2 The hole can be repaired. Note I did not say it should be. It said it can be. (J-B Weld)

jaytkay's avatar

I bought a locking cap a long time ago and never bothered to use it. It’s been many years since I have heard of anyone siphoning gas.

keobooks's avatar

I used to have one, but I lost the key several times. So I decided the risk of not having one was better than running out of gas because I lost my gas key.

Buttonstc's avatar

I remember back in the 70s when severe gas shortages prompted gas theft and a need for locking gas caps.

And perhaps if something similar to what Squeeky had to deal with had happened to me, I might have obtained a locking gas cap also.

But, truth be told, it’s just not an issue in the area where I currently live. It’s quite safe around here, both in our driveway and local parking lots, so it’s just not that high on my priority list.

If anything changes then I might feel differently but the biggest recent problem I had with the gas cap was when some wasps built a small nest right inside the swinging door covering the cap. Obviously I didn’t realize it until I got stung when doing a fillup. (I also asked a Q about it here if anyone wants to bother finding it.)

Unfortunately they have not yet built a lock which will successfully keep out wasps :)

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t remember ever being worried about someone stealing my gas, we worried about someone pouring something in the tank that would cost a lot of money to fix.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@JLeslie that is another reason I have a locking cap.

JLeslie's avatar

I just go with whatever is supplied by the manufacturer when I buy the vehicle. If I lived in a place that had a lot of reports of gas tank vandalism or gas theft I guess maybe I would take extra precautions.

It’s always interesting to me how car manufacturers address safety and theft issues. Like cars that have the passenger door unlock automatically when the driver door unlocks. That really bothers me.

jca's avatar

I don’t have a locking cap. My cars in the past 20 years have had the door that you have to pop from the inside. Unless someone is really determined and wants to pry the door open with another object, it’s not an issue. Gas theft has not been an issue that I know of since the mid 70’s around here, and people putting things in the tank has not been an issue anywhere that I’ve lived. Locking cap seems like overkill, for me. What is in other areas, if people feel it’s necessary, then they should get it.

LostInParadise's avatar

My Corolla comes with a latch for the little door in front of the gas cap. It is a royal annoyance, because the door tends to reclose when I release the latch. I can get around this by stuffing my wallet under the latch to keep the door unlatched, so I can open it wide enough to keep it from shutting again.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Gosh. I don’t worry about any of it….

FYI, though, the Sugar in the Gas Tank myth

jerv's avatar

@LostInParadise Busted spring? My ‘86 Corolla’s gas door pops out about an inch when I hit the lever.

LostInParadise's avatar

Thanks for the info. I will have it checked out the next time I bring the car in for repair.

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