Check Fuel Cap Warning Message: Meaning, Causes & Fixes

Vehicle maintenance may seem a daunting task, especially when a warning message appears on the dashboard for the first time. A check fuel cap warning message on your dashboard could mean several things.

In most cases, retightening your fuel cap is all you need to fix the problem. But don’t worry if that doesn’t address the issues. I’ll explain several reasons that could trigger the warning message and how to reset the light. But first, what does check fuel cap mean?

how to fix check fuel cap light

What Cause check fuel cap Message on Dashboard 

The most common reason the check fuel cap warning message comes up is a loose fuel cap. Or, it could mean the fuel cap is damaged or missing.

Contrary to the common belief that the fuel cap only covers the gas tank, it does much more than that. It is an essential EVAP system component. If it is not adequately tightened, it can lead to several issues in the car. 

A missing, damaged, or loose fuel cap can cause poor engine efficiency, lousy gas mileage, or problems with the EVAP system components.

In reality, let’s see what causes check fuel cap on Honda Pilot and other car models.

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Loose fuel cap

The fuel cap is not there for fancy. It is designed for tightening the fuel door. And it should be secured appropriately. Most car manufacturers design the fuel cap to click when it’s properly tightened. This helps the car owner to know when the fuel cap is secured.

Your fuel will evaporate if the fuel cap is not secured properly. However, the level of fuel that will evaporate varies. Hence, some vehicles will experience poor gas mileage while others won’t.

Damaged gas cap

If the gas cap is cracked, chipped, or damaged, the fuel will evaporate out. The EVAP system sensors will detect this issue and report it to the powertrain control module (PCM). The PCM or car computer will now trigger the check fuel cap warning message on the dashboard.

Missing fuel cap

The check fuel cap message can appear on the dashboard because the fuel cap is missing. It could be you forgot to cover the gas cap after refilling gas at a fuel station. In this case, the warning message is just a reminder to check the fuel cap.

Let’s look at how to reset gas cap light in the next section.

How do I reset the check gas cap message?

The simplest way for Honda check fuel cap reset is to tighten a loose gas cap or replace a missing or broken gas cap.

To do the reset;

  • Switch off the engine and open the fuel cap. The fuel cap opener is typically located beneath the steering wheel or on the floorboards of the driver’s seat.
  • Open the door and go to the fuel door cap. Check if the gas cap is properly tightened. If it is not, remove it and retighten it. That’s all you need to fix the problem.
  • But if the gas cap is tightened. It is likely damaged. Confirm if it is damaged to replace it with a new one.
  • After correctly reinstalling or retightening the gas cap, get into the car and start it. Drive the vehicle for around 1 hour, and the car computer will automatically reset the check fuel cap warning message.
  • If the message refuses to disappear after driving up to two hours, clear it off with an OBD11 code.
  • Keep an eye on the dashboard to see if the light will reappear again. If the light reappears, consult your local mechanic or visit your dealership.

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where is the fuel cap

Can I drive with the check fuel cap light on?

If the check fuel cap light appears while driving, locate a safe spot and pull over. Retighten the gas cap and continue driving. The light will disappear along the way. The light cannot stop you from driving the vehicle.

The purpose of the fuel cap is to prevent fuel vapor from escaping from the gas tank. And that has nothing to do with starting or driving the vehicle.

How important is a fuel cap?

The fuel cap is an essential EVAP system component that helps to normalize the air pressure inside the fuel tank. If the gas cap is not secured or missing, it will cause fuel vapor to escape.  

As small as a missing or improperly secured gas cap is, it can cause you to fail a smog test. Hence, it is best to replace a damaged gas cap before going for an emission inspection test.

check fuel cap toyota

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Is it bad to drive with a bad check gas cap?

It’s not advisable to drive with a check gas cap light, but still, you can drive with it. Mechanically speaking, it is not bad to drive with a check gas cap. The more you drive without the cap, the more gas evaporates from your gas tank. It is estimated that a car without a fuel cap can lose 1-2% of its fuel in a week.

However, it’s important to note that driving with a bad gas cap can cause issues to the EVAP system in the long term. So, it’s essential to fix the problem rather than driving around with the gas cap light.

How long does the gas cap last?

Under perfect conditions, the gas cap will last 50,000 miles. However, factors like the way you take care of the gas cap, the environmental conditions you’re subjected to, and your car models determine whether the gas cap will last more than 50k miles or less than that.

How long does it take for the check fuel cap to go away?

If the gas cap is the root cause, retighten or replace it. After that, the check fuel cap light will go off after 20 minutes to 2 hours of driving.

However, keep an eye on the dashboard and see if the light is going off and on. If the check gas cap on Honda Accord or your respective car model goes on and off, you have a loose gas cap. Retighten it again or replace the component entirely.

How much does it cost to fix a gas cap?

Fixing a gas cap can be as low as $10 or up to $100. The exact cost of fixing a gas cap depends on your car model and where you get the gas cap from. If you get the cap from a junkyard and can fix it, it’ll cost you around $10. But if your gas cap has an advanced sensor, you can pay up to $100 to replace it.

In situations where you have a car with an advanced sensor on the gas cap, you will have to contact a certified mechanic to install the gas cap.

Final Words

In summary, the check gas cap on Honda Civic or any car model is nothing to worry about. You can drive safely without it and replace it at your pace. All you need to fix the problem is to reattach, retighten, or replace the gas cap. Contact a mechanic if the light continues after retightening or replacing the gas cap.


Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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