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Wednesday 23 August 2017
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Pros and Cons of Capless Gas Tanks

Pros and Cons of Capless Gas Tanks

GM’s 2013 Cadillac XTS sedan is the latest with the capless fuel-filler that’s gaining popularity.

XTS, coming this spring and powered by a 3.6-liter V-6 with all-wheel drive, makes GM the third automaker to adopt a fuel-filler without the traditional gas cap. It follows Ford, which pioneered the feature on the 2009 Explorer and has moved it onto many models.

While easy to regard as the answer to a question nobody asked, capless fueling has some interesting attributes, most of them good, but not all:

  • Less chance for gas smell on your hands. You simply flip open the fuel door and stick the pump nozzle in. Not having a twist-on/off cap is one less contact with a gasoline-vapor odor source.
  • No worries about paint scratching from the dangling gas cap, which manages never, ever to fit properly into whatever holder or restraint the automaker provides to keep it out of the way during fueling.
  • No embarrassing cap-dangle that’s a result of driving off in a hurry and forgetting to put the cap back on.
  • Minimal chance of bad guys siphoning out your $4 gas. Capless systems use various mechanisms in the fuel-filler neck that make it nearly impossible to stuff in a garden hose and drain a victim’s tank.
  • No more discomfort for people with arthritis or other impairments that make the act of twisting a cap awkward or painful.

But there are drawbacks.

  • While limiting the fuel smell that gets on your hands, capless systems can increase the gas smell coming from the vehicle. If you try to fill the tank even a little bit more after the gas station pump clicks off, you’re likely to get headache-level fuel fumes pouring from the area of the filler neck until you drive awhile. Don’t even consider over-filling the tank and driving right home to park in your garage.

  • The same anti-siphon feature means you have to carry the (automaker-provided) special funnel for times you run dry and need to refuel from a gas can instead of a pump. Afterward, the funnel smells like gas and you can smell it even in the trunk.

  • What if you need to siphon gas for an emergency? Like, say, you live in Virginia where you might get the occasional 54-inch snow and can’t get to the gas station to buy fuel for your emergency home generator and really, truly wish you could drain some gas from your car or truck tank to use in the generator to keep the power on? Or, perhaps, you might like to help a stranded driver with a gallon or two but can’t, even if you happen to have a hose.

 



Photo Credit Ford



58 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Capless Gas Tanks

  1. Derek Ellis

    I don’t ever top off gas ever! “rounding up:” to the next whole dollar is just give the oil companies MORE MONEY! just fill it, hear it click and remove the pump. Just think about how much money can add up when people round, and times that my millions. Don’t give them anymore money that you need to!

    Reply
    1. Bob

      Derek:

      Your point makes absolutely no sense at all. How in the world does rounding up give give the gas companies more money? You are going to use it anyway. Of course, you don’t want to over-fill your tank but that’s for technical reasons, not that the gas company will make more money. Tanks are designed to have some area for vapors and over-filling is a bad idea. But rounding up to the nearest dollar is fine. You seem to think that you won’t be using the gas that you round up. Using your logic, you should not even fill your tank. But you need gas and you are going to use what you put in the tank. I think you need a good night’s sleep so you can think clearly.

      Reply
    2. Tom

      Huh? Do you think the gas that you round up just spills on the ground and is just wasted? You are NOT “giving” the oil companies money when you round up. You are just buying more product that you are going to use. You’re going to buy it anyway. In fact, the more you fill up your tank (without overfilling) the less gas you waste driving into and out of gas stations. Your post is sad commentary on our educational system. The scary thing is that you can drive and probably even vote.

      Reply
    3. Bill

      In years passed when going on a trip, I’d top-off the tank with more than just one squeeze. Today, however I tried to add STP gas treatment to my tank and WASTED a lot of it because the Red plastic spout wouldn’t trip the gas-less cap system….Finally had to get the funnel that came with the Ford Truck and clean up the mess on my garage floor!!!!

      Nowadays, I top-iff for another reason: Reward Points ;>) Some credit cards will give TRIPLE POINTS for dollars spent on gasoline purchases. I got to noticing on my bill that if I had spent just another few cents, I’d get triple points for a “full dollar” purchase. At the TRIPLE POINT ratio, a month of gas buying makes a significant positive point count when going to the next dollar….

      Think about that next time you put it on a credit card that you payoff in full each month…. Bill

      Reply
  2. bob t.

    How about vandalism to your gas tank with kids putting things into your tank….No cap that you can lock and most do not have locking gas doors on the autos.
    BAD IDEA.
    I do not want a capless auto.. Nor will buy an auto with this system.
    Good thing we have other makers doing things right by provide locking gas doors and gas caps.

    Reply
    1. sherry

      I had my gas stolen out of my new ford fusion. no locks the theives have figured out what to do. They took my whole tank. Great. I am trading my car in. BOO!

      Reply
      1. Michele Sanders

        Wow, that is a first! Haven’t heard this one before. Rather than trade it, why don’t you have a good anti-theft system on it? They make good ones that don’t cost a lot and if the car shakes, it will go off. I think that might be a better plan.

        Sorry to hear this happened!

        Jerry Reynolds, President
        Car Pro Radio Network

        Reply
  3. randall kershaw

    what about the grand kids filling it full of dirt and water there should be a lock on the door at least

    Reply
  4. Jonny

    I just got a Tesla P85+. It is now my only car. No more gas worries of any type. Much less this capless nonsense.

    Reply
  5. Luis

    Bob T … No one offers a locked gas capped anymore. That was back in 1950… Now there are locked gas doors. Like my Acura. This capless system won’t allow you to Syphone gas without “the provided tool” the fuel door will also lock. Must have just read the title and commented. Wow.

    Reply
    1. Neal Evans

      There are actually locking gas caps for sale at all auto stores as well as most big chain stores. They are a pain in the butt in my opinion, but if you need one….you need one!!

      Reply
  6. Kristin

    I have a 2012 Ford Mustang with the capless system on it. I have the codes 0455 and 0457 coming up which say I have a small leak and a large leak. The EPA website says that this should be covered by the Design and Defect warranty. I called Ford and they sat it is not. The woman who answered the phone said she had the list and it said the filler neck is covered but not the carbon canister or the purge valve which Fords diagnostics said needed to be replaced. When I got off the phone with her I looked of the list she was reading from and I did see the filler neck at the bottom where she said it was. 4 lines above that it said Evaporative Emission Control System. I googled that to see what was included in the system and lo and behold it said Charcoal Canister, purge valve, and filler neck. All of the things the dealership said I needed to replace. Also in me reading I found a site that said nothing really should ever go wrong with the canister as all it consists of is a canister with charcoal in it. I have spoken with others who have also had problems with this system. It is hugely expensive to fix. Not a fan.

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      Kristin, sorry to hear of the issue. I am sorry, I’ve had NO experience with this at all, I wish I could help. You might talk to a different Ford dealer, or go up the ladder at the Ford Hotline.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
    2. Jon

      Hey Kristin, I’m having the EXACT same issue as you. I can’t pass my smog test due to this. My engine light is on and it’s due to the small evaporative leak and the culprit is the “easy fuel no cap” design. I have a 2009 Mazda Tribute which is under Ford and my mechanic and also the smog test guy said I needed to go to the dealership to get the neck replaced. I talked to the Mazda dealership and they said they highly doubt they will cover this even though it is a design flaw on THEIR part yet I’m having to pay for THEIR mistake. I was wondering where you got this “list” showing the filler neck and evaporative emission control. Also, how is all of this working out for you? Did they cover the charges or did you have to pay for everything?

      Reply
    3. chris

      Fight it document it and find out if others are having same problem leave a paper trail .call the district manager. Don’t take no for an answer.

      Reply
    4. Jenn

      Thank you for writing this. I knew Capless was a bad idea. I just want to see some proof. They would tell me that race cars uses them. But that only bases it on how long a race car is around. About a month or so

      Reply
  7. Jimmy

    2012 Mustang owner. I always find gas stain on the body of the car just underneath the gas cap area. It looks as if it’s an overflow but I usually only round off to the nearest dollar or half dollar. Anyone have any answers why this happens? Car is white and the stain is unsightly. Don’t want the paint discoloration.

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      Jimmy, fumes will often cause this, I suspect your vent hose is crimped somewhere, that’s not uncommon. I wish I could tell you with 100% certainty and I hope you get to the bottom of it. A good compounds, followed by a hard wax should take the stain out.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  8. Patti

    I have a 2011 Ford Escape Limited. I have never had an ounce of trouble with this vehicle. Last week, my engine light came on. I took it to my mechanic and he pulled up the code that it was registering. He wrote it down for me, and it’s either P/44A or p144A. Evaporative Emission System purge vapor line restricted/blocked. He says it does not hurt the vehicle to drive it, but that light is causing my OCD to kick into overdrive.

    Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      I would recommend getting it into a Ford dealer for repairs. I think it could cause you some problems as time goes on. plus it won’t pass inspection this way. I doubt it will be an expensive repair at all. I’d get it fixed and be done with it.

      Thanks for listening to the show.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  9. esgillespy

    Someone tried to steal my gas. It didn’t work, but they cut the hose and left an inch of it hanging out. My wife went to work, got half way there and needed gas. Now we have to figure a way to get it out, which I’m sure want be cheap, plus can’t put gas in it.

    Reply
  10. Sarah D

    I have a 2014 Ford Fiesta ST and here recently every time we get gas it shoots gas around the nozzle. Then of course it runs down the white paint and makes a real mess. Or better yet, it shoots out and onto my work outfit. It’s way out of control, and I am fed up!! Anyone else with this issue? Any suggestions? Is it a venting problem?

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      That is not normal and something you should take to your dealer and have them look at it.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
    2. Charles Smythe

      I have a 2014 Fiesta SE, and when mine fills up, the nozzle shuts off, and then gas sprays back out of the filler neck. I’ve had it at the dealership four times now, and they have replaced the whole assembly, and it still does it. They have since referred me to Ford Customer Care, and they have a claim working against it. We will see what they come up with.

      Reply
      1. Michele Sanders

        Ford may need to send a field engineer to look at it, but I am sure they will get to the bottom of it. I appreciate you listening to the show!

        Jerry Reynolds, President
        Car Pro Radio Network

        Reply
    3. Donna Henderson

      The other day while i was fueling up they same thing happened to me. I had to hold the nosel and the problem was fixed. The gas attendant said that happebs to many customers.

      Reply
    1. Walter Mitty

      There is always a chance that some mentally challenged person will tamper
      With your fuel system and, as someone said earlier, put foreign objects in
      Your tank such as sand, sugar, etc., etc. and goodby engine. Capless is
      Okay, I suppose, but come on, let me lock my fuel access door. Is there
      Any aftermarkets out there to circumvent this ridiculous idea?

      Reply
  11. Leslie

    Is it simple for someone to poor sugar in your capless tank because on the Ford f150 Fx4 the gas lid doesn’t lock in any way at all

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      No. You cannot insert anything except a gas pump in there. No worries at all!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
      1. scott

        Sure you can. A 1/2′ piece of PVC conduit fits right in there. It’s not Fort Knox.
        I bought my truck used, sans the funnel, had to add some seafoam and viola a 1/2″ piece of conduit attached to a funnel made it so.

        Reply
  12. Mike

    Crazy – so I go to put some gas line antifreeze in my wife’s 2013 Escape – and it runs all over the place – for some reason the spout did not open the flap – to allow the liquid to enter the tank – NICE…..NOT!!!!!!!
    So either I have a problem with the mechanism – or Ford needs to check their design for this to work – it’s going to be -5 this week – and even through the vehicle sits in a heated garage at night – it’s outside during the day…..anyone have any thoughts?????

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      There is generally a small funnel next to or under the spare for just these situations. It is the same size as a gas pump nozzle. Hope this helps.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  13. Shelley G

    I bought my 2012 Ford Mustang used about a year ago. I am happy with the capless gas tank and have had zero problems with it mechanically – and no issues with anyone trying to steal my gas (and i live in a moderate crime/vandalism area. BUT – there is one thing im finding difficult. We have harsh temps in the winter (like right now is only 11 degrees, and windchill is close to neg 5 degrees) and i want to add some HEET to my tank. The small longnecked funnel isnt opening the tamper-resistant slot so i can’t add it to my fuel. 🙁

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      Shelley, good to hear from you. If the funnel that came with the car is not working, taking it to a Ford dealer and ask them to change it out. If you go back to the place you bought it, they should just give you another one.

      Hope that works out for you!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  14. Marty Mannion

    my 2014 jeep no cap fill broke I have to buy the whole assembly for $349 plus $180 labor. they don’t sell just the exterior piece?

    Reply
  15. Chris

    This is not Ford fault. It’s the epa and carb requiring manufactures to reduce fuel vapor when fueling because of “globull warming”. To many people can’t figure out how to put the cap back, so now we are having to live with this. I’m a Ford tech, many check engine lights caused by loose filler caps over the years. Capless is to save you from yourself. And Ford DOES offer a locking cap for the system. And it is very easy to open the latch, just activate the two tabs on the side and push the door open, your not going to be stranded because you can’t get it open. All that being said, yes it still isn’t a perfect system because it doesn’t always seal correctly especially after a few years. Hopefully it gets better some day.

    Reply
  16. Donna

    I just brought a locked gas cap from advanced auto…for the same reason. Kids in the area keep opening my gas tank door and it is capless. I think one day they are going to put something in it. I take the cap off before i drive. I am not sure if it will mess up my engine driving with a cap.

    Reply
    1. Carol Caskey

      Where did you buy that locking gas cap? I need one for my 2015 Cadillac CTS……vandalism is my concern.

      Reply
  17. Concerned Renter

    Not great for rented cars either… If the tank is nearly full and you just have to get it back to the mark… it won’t let you fuel it up!

    Reply
  18. Ken

    I just recently purchased a 2016 Ford F-150 with the Easy Fuel System. I am very concerned about not having a locking gas cap or a locking fuel compartment door. My concerns arise from someone previously putting sugar into my gas tank and thus ruining my engine. These vehicles cost too much money to take a chance on something like that happening, especially if your employment would make your vehicle more susceptible to vandalism. I have done research and there does not appear to be any locking gas caps or plugs for the 2016 F-150. I have tried to get an answer from Ford, but the representative did not answer my question. She rather gave me an explanation of how the capless system works. What I really would like to know is this. Does the capless system prevent someone from putting a sugar based liquid into the filler neck that would subsequently enter your gas tank the next time you put gas into your vehicle? I would appreciate a straight answer that I could understand. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      To my knowledge, there is no way for someone to do that and I have never heard of a single case of this happening. Ford is not the the only company using them, I see them on many of the cars I review. Honestly, I do not think this is a concern at all.

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  19. Obie

    New car with capless tank. 200 miles in, ‘Emissions System Trouble’ light comes in. Apparently the seal is not perfect so fumes are escaping and it needs to be replaced. I applaud innovation but I get very annoyed having to bring the car in for service for something like this. Of course the part is back-ordered… It seems these things are failure prone. A better design would be to provide you with a cap so you decide what to do or make it a dealer installed option – and I would have skipped.

    Reply
  20. Dana Phipps

    I have a new pacifica minivan. Is there anybody that makes a cover for the cap less system to keep dust out? I live on a gravel road and inside the gas door gets a very thick coating of dust & dirt that will go down in the tank when you push the nozzle in.

    Reply
    1. Michele Sanders

      I don’t know of any such device, and the fuel door when the nozzle goes in is spring loaded and makes a good deal. You could use Saran Wrap and a rubber band if you are concerned. I haven’t heard of this being a problem, however, and many vehicles use these.

      Thanks for listening to the show!

      Jerry Reynolds, President
      Car Pro Radio Network

      Reply
  21. EAC

    Finally found a funnel for 2014 Expedition with the “wonderful” cap less system …

    It is so short, it is difficult to use when putting in dry gas … is there anyone out there who makes a longer one, possible with a flexible neck that will go through both sets of tabs?

    Thank you

    Reply
  22. George Stone

    We went away on vacation for 12 days and our car sat in the garage. When we returned it had gone from a half of tank to less than 30 miles left. Can it evaporate that quickly with the capless system???

    Reply
    1. Jerry Reynolds

      No, I suspect an issue with the onboard fuel calculator, or perhaps a leak of some kind, but it is not evaporation. I would get it to a dealership to make sure everything is OK. Could just be a fluke, one time thing. – Jerry Reynolds

      Reply
  23. Mark Warner

    It amazes me the ridiculous options and accessories the manufactures and engineers build into our vehicles, And the common sense they all seem to lack,Starting off with these capless fuel necks …..idiots ….I just wasted $35,000 on a Chevy Silverado that has a capless fuel neck, which retains dust,water,and any road contaminants on the cover which is recessed about a quarter inch within the fuel neck assembly ,Which will flow directly into the tank at the time of fueling up and over time will build up contaminating your fuel, plugging fuel filters and costly damage to the fuel system ……so we better start bitching now so they fix their mistake …..I expect this crap from Ford…. but GM you guys should know better!!!!

    Reply
    1. Jerry Reynolds

      Mark, these have been around for a lot of years, and I have never heard a complaint. People, including me, seem to really like the system, it’s a time saver for sure. I will pass your thoughts on to GM. – Jerry Reynolds

      Reply
  24. Mark Warner

    2017 Silverado design flaw with capless Fuel neck allows water and debris to enter Fuel system… let them know and let’s fix this issue now….. before your warranty expires leaving you the expense of plugged fuel filters and damaged fuel systems

    Reply
  25. Steven

    It’s bad enough that the government forced the design of portable gas tank nozzles to make them more difficult to use and spill more gasoline as a result, but combined with the capless cap fuel spills are even bigger.

    I have a Ford Fusion rental car with a capless cap and tried to fill the tank from a 5 gallon plastic tank with a nozzle that has to be pressed to the edge of a filler neck in order to allow fuel to pour. The old portable tank design was very ease to use when adding fuel to a vehicle. Now, the combined use of a funnel, the capless crap, and a government dictated portable fuel tank results in more fuel on the ground than in the tank.

    We need less government dictating product designs.

    Reply
  26. Paul

    Bought a used 2012 Ford Fusion…has a gas capless system (never owned one before). All seems good. However, I live in an Ohio county that requires “e-check” for emissions verification. One of the tests is that they verify the gas cap is performing/sealing properly. I can’t find anything on the e-check website for how they handle when a manufacturer makes a car without a gas cap. Anyone with info, please let me know. THANKS!

    Reply
    1. Jerry Reynolds

      Paul, I am driving a ton of cars these days with the capless system, so I would bet they have adapted their standards. You get the same pressure readings with the capless system, so it should be fine! Thanks for listening.

      Reply
  27. barry

    i just purchased a 2017 gmc sierra with the capless fuel system,when I wash the truck water sits in the filler hole,so where does it go, GM why did you follow these other makers , not good

    Reply

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