How To Easily Know What Side A Rental Car’s Gas Cap Is On

by SharonKurheg

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a rental car and you need to buy gasoline for it. You get to the gas station and…wait, what side is the gas cap on? It’s on the driver’s side on your car at home, and was on the passenger’s side on the car you had before that one, but what about on this car?

Of course, unless you have a Plymouth Pacer (Joe’s family had one when he was growing up), an AMC Gremlin (my family had one when I was growing up) or a few other cars where the gas cap was on the BACK of the car, your chances are 50/50 for left or right, and if you get it wrong, it’s not really a huge deal – many gas pumps have extra long nozzles so they’ll reach to the other side. Or at worst, you’ll have to pull out and pull back in so the “other side” is facing the pump.

But wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to just “know” what side the gas cap was on?

Turns out, there is.

Of course, you CAN just take a look at the car at some point before you put gas in it. I don’t know about you, but personally, my memory isn’t good enough to do that LOLOL!

Fortunately, carmakers must know there are a bunch of drivers out there with poor memories because they actually have a way for you to know what side the gas cap is on, from inside the car. Idiots like me just never knew it.

Just look for the picture of the gas icon on your dashboard. And then look for the little arrow next to it.

If the arrow is pointing to the left, the gas cap is on the driver’s left side. If the arrow is pointing to the right, the gas cap is on the driver’s right side.


Occasionally you’ll come across a car that says FUEL DOOR with an arrow, but it’s still pretty much the same as the gas icon – the arrow points left or right to let you know where your gas cap is.

Oh, and if there’s no arrow next to the gas icon, just look to see what side of the dashboard the gas icon is, and that should be the side the gas cap is on.

Friends, I’ve spent a SUBSTANTIAL amount of time on this earth, and for about 2/3 of those years, I’ve had my driver’s license. And heaven knows I have rented my share of cars, too. HOW DID I NEVER KNOW THIS?

And the thing is, once you know it, you will never “unknow” it. You’ll know it forever. So for those of you out there who, like me, had no clue…now you know 😉

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Dom February 19, 2019 - 7:04 pm

I think the fuel gauge arrow has been around for at least 10 years, but it’s new if it’s new to you.

T February 19, 2019 - 11:58 pm

Surprised there are people that still don’t know about this in 2019

SharonKurheg February 25, 2019 - 9:23 am

Oh yes, there are plenty! But if they’ve read this post, they know now…;-)

William Y. February 20, 2019 - 12:49 am

Everyone knows this

SharonKurheg February 25, 2019 - 9:21 am

Actually, you’d be surprised at how many people don’t 😉

derek February 20, 2019 - 12:49 pm

Fuel gauges also usually have “F” which means full. Rarely, it’s a fraction, like 4/4 for full.

Another way is that European brands tend to have it on the right and Japanese brands tend to have it on the left. This is because it is slightly safer to have it oppose the driver because that side has a slightly lower collision risk (and rupture of the gas nozzle). In Japan, the driver is on the right and the cars still have a Japanese market mindset. Note that there are quite a few exceptions. American brands tend to have it on the left for driver’s convenience without regard to safety but only maybe 70/30% of the time.


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