Check Fuel Cap Honda Accord: How To Fix The Issue

by Conner Mckay

“Check Fuel Cap” is undoubtedly one of the more common warning indications your Honda Accord will give you. As you may expect, the message wants you to have a look at the fuel cap to ensure that it’s on there securely. However, the warning message may also be displayed when the fuel appears is tightly secured in place. Fortunately, there are various methods to approach the situation.

The issue is generally caused by a loose gas cap but other reasons can exist as well. Keep in mind that you will have to drive your car around for a while after the problem is repaired before the message vanishes. Learn more about fuel caps and how they affect your Honda Accord in our article.

Modern Technology And The Fuel Cap

Vehicles today are equipped with advanced systems named On-Board Diagnostics or ODB-II. These systems moderate numerous components of a vehicle. Granted, your vehicle can be a bit pricier initially but you end up saving more in the long run.

When a problem is detected by the OBD-II scanner, it will show a warning message on your vehicle’s dashboard. You should never ignore these turning messages. The ECM is the component that detects such leaks. The Check Fuel Cap on a Honda Accord is not that hard to fix.

If you see a sign like that, know that you are dealing with a pressure leak. If the fuel tank has sustained damages, isn’t tight enough, or is completely gone, a message like that is generated.

Emissions System Problem

There is no instant danger associated with this problem, and there’s no reason for you to risk everything and pull over to the side. Still, we recommend:

  • Pull over once at a safe location and turn the engine off. Allow it to cool completely before proceeding. Find the button that unlocks the gas cap and depress it to open. The button can be found under the steering column.
  • Screw the gas cap in a counterclockwise direction to open it.
  • Make sure the gas cap is properly seated this time when you put it in place. Check to see if the threads line up properly. You should hear 3 clicks as a sign that you have done this step correctly.

Technically, the car should be back to normal and you can resume driving. The light might remain illuminated for a day or two after that but that’s no reason to worry. However, if the light stays on for longer than that, we suggest using an OBD-II scanner to get to the root of the problem.

The Evolution Of Gas Caps Over The Years

Out of all the things your car has that may concern you, a gas cap may be at the very end of the list. We often make the rookie mistake of ignoring this part till it goes bad. Gas caps have evolved greatly over the past years.

Traditionally, fuel caps were added to cars to protect the tank from debris and rain. The more developed automobiles had vent holes in caps which equalizes the internal pressure of the tank and environmental air whenever gas was extracted.

Come the ‘70s the general public and carmakers were more concerned about the environment and safety. Gas tanks are prone to explosions and a decent, sturdy cap could save lives. Plus, it would use less fuel.

Check Fuel Cap

For the next three decades, fuel caps received hundreds of modifications. Automakers made caps that secured the seal despite having a broken crown. The government passed more stringent environmental laws in the early 1970s. Evaporative loss requirements were established. Today’s caps are equipped with developed venting systems and are easier to put on. Almost all of the locks so you don’t have to stress over thieves stealing gasoline from your vehicle.

In addition, they are constructed of materials much less likely to degrade due to external factors. Gas cap problems are generally easy to fix. If the car doesn’t work properly even after you have secured the cap in place, we recommend buying a new cap. A Check Fuel Cap warning message could seem scary but it’s not the worst!

Most people would not bring their car to a professional simply because the fuel cap is malfunctioning. That being said, if there is something wrong with the fuel tank, you best take that car to a mechanic for repairs.

Check Fuel Cap Symptoms On Honda Accord

Despite the Check Fuel Cap sign being on, your Honda Accord will drive and run just fine. You may, however, notice a subtle smell of gas (especially if the tank is full). Consider the message accurate if the fuel smell reaches your nose. Replace the fuel cap if the smell persists.

Fuel Cap Problems On Honda Accord

What are the factors that can make a fuel cap misbehave? Well, there are quite a few:

1. Missing Gas Cap

This isn’t as much a problem as a situation where your car is completely missing the fuel cap. When there is no gas cap, your vehicle will display a warning message instantly. Replacing the cap should clear the sign.

2. Loose Fuel Cap

Check Fuel Cap

Tighten the fuel cap until you hear a satisfying click. Unless there is a click, the fuel cap has gone bad and needs to be replaced.

3. Faulty Fuel Cap

In fuel caps, there is a rubber seal that sits against the gas inlet. The fuel vapor can easily escape if this gasket goes bad. Thus, the Check Fuel Cap warning message/light will come on.

How To Check Fuel Cap Light On Honda Accord

Usually, the reason behind an illuminated fuel cap light is a loose or incorrectly threaded fuel cap. The light is likely to turn off once the cap has been secured properly. In some scenarios, however, it might be the cap that has gone bad, i.e., is beyond repair.

With wear and tear, small air leaks could form inside the cap, allowing the fumes to seep out and make the fuel cap warning light illuminate on the dashboard. You can inspect the fuel cap to ensure it has been tightened properly. But if the light refuses to turn off, know you have to change the cap.

According to the owner’s manual of a Honda Accord, a bad gas cap can ultimately make the Check Engine Light on an Accord come on. Here’s how to diagnose the situation if you suspect a bad fuel cap:

Step 1

Turn on the engine of your Accord. Inspect the “Check Fuel Cap” light. Even under regular circumstances, some lights on the instrument panel can stay lit for a few moments after ignitions. If the light stays on after those initial seconds, it’s time to check the gas cap. For that, turn the engine off.

Step 2

On the floorboard of the driver’s side, you will find the fuel door lever; pull it and it will pop the fuel door open. Examine the fuel cap after stepping out of the vehicle. Rotate the fuel cap counterclockwise and that should unscrew it. Take it off the fuel filler opening.

Step 3

Reposition the fuel cap. Rotate it clockwise to secure it until the three clicks. Shut the fuel door.

Step 4

Drive your Honda Accord per usual. If the fuel cap light was on because of a loose cap, the light should turn off after the vehicle has been driven for a few miles. In case the light stays on, you may have to replace the fuel cap.

Buy a replacement cap or drop by an authorized service department of Honda to have the system examined. The cap will have to be changed if there is a small leak in the original cap.

Can I Drive Without A Fuel Cap (For My Honda Accord)?

Does your vehicle’s fuel cap need to be replaced but you are unable to go to the local auto shop to get a new one right now? You may wonder whether it’s safe to drive without a gas cap.

Never park your Honda Accord in a public space when it doesn’t have its fuel cap as someone can easily siphon the gas. However, you can drive without a fuel cap as long as you don’t mind stolen gas.

Although you can drive without a fuel cap, it is detrimental to your vehicle as well as the environment. Debris can enter the fuel tank of your Accord and eventually damage the motor. Moreover, when exposed to environmental air, the engine can have the poor fuel economy. Gas begins to dissipate when it comes in contact with air. So, once again, we highly recommend replacing the gas cap whenever necessary.

What Is EVAP?

The gas tank is a component of the vehicle’s bigger EVAP or Evaporative Emissions Control System. The tank works under a certain level of pressure which is secured by the gas cap. If there is a significant change in the pressure to warrant concern, your Honda Accord’s computer will display the Check Fuel Cap warning message. In cases like this, the problem may be more severe than a fuel cap leak.

On any other occasion, the computer would display a trouble code related to the EVAP (most commonly P0457).

How To Repair Check Fuel Cap Message On Honda Accord

Now, let’s see how you can repair the check fuel cap message on your Honda Accord.

1. Make Sure The Fuel Cap Is Tightened Properly

A fuel cap that hasn’t been turned in will cause issues. You should hear for the clicks when turning it which lets you know that they are in place. Furthermore, inspect for any debris that may be clogging up the cap.

2. Change The Gas Cap

The fuel cap itself might be faulty, especially if has some years on it and is in line for a replacement. As mentioned before, there is a rubber seal inside these caps that has to be checked. If it’s old or broken, replace the cap. When you order a new cap, make sure it is the right one for your make and model. In the case of a Honda Accord, the cap varies between model years.

Fuel caps can be purchased at local auto parts stores or online on eBay or Amazon. Be wary of fake Honda fuel caps, which may not work properly. Although these fuel caps can be cheaper than the real deal, they might not sit properly on the designated spots.

3. Purge Valve

In the EVAP system, there is a solenoid named purge valve. It closes when the car is off, keeping the vapors inside. When your Honda Accord is operating, this component opens up and lets vapors move to the charcoal canister and combust in the motor.

Common issues with the purge valve include not closing and sticking. It can be found on the engine (usually). Most backyard mechanics can replace a purge valve but when in doubt, make sure to take your Accord to a certified mechanic.

An OBD Scanner To Diagnose Check Fuel Cap Honda Accord?

Located a port underneath your Accord’s steering column. Attach the OBD-II scanner to this port and make sure you set the equipment before starting. What this does is clear the system to produce the most accurate results.

Drive your Accord around and check the dashboard for any illuminated warning lights. Consider changing the fuel cap if the fuel cap remains illuminated. Most of the time (at least for 90%), replacing the cap will solve your issues. To learn more, watch this video tutorial.

Having Your Honda Accord (Fuel Cap Issue) Serviced At A Dealership

Dealerships are generally pricier than an auto body shop. You may not be able to have a direct conversation with the mechanic in this case. However, there are quite a few benefits of allowing a dealership mechanic to work on your Honda Accord.

A dealership is more likely to have the parts you need for your car, so you don’t have to wait for days to have your vehicle up and running. Mechanics working at dealerships are certified professionals who will have better knowledge of the model and make of your car. You will be charged by the job, not the hour, thus eliminating the surprise of “What will the total bill be?”

Having Your Honda Accord Fuel Cap Serviced At An Auto Body Shop

Due to the increased expenses, you can expect to shoulder at dealerships, most drivers bring their vehicles to an auto body shop. Plus, here you can have a direct conversation with the mechanic who will repair your vehicle. You can also look around for someone skilled at handling your kind of vehicle.

When searching for the right auto body shop, visit AAA’s website for a list of verified shops. In addition, check for customer complaints and/or reviews on the Better Business Bureau website never hurt anymore. Angi gives you reviews and references for a mechanic.

Check Fuel Cap

If you don’t want to bother spending money on repairing your vehicle, you may want to get a new one. In this case, you can either sell your old Honda Accord and keep the money or donate the car to charity. Old cars can also be gifted to teenagers who are just learning to drive. No kid in the family? No worries! Sell the car and save the money to buy a new vehicle.

Trade-In (Despite A Check Fuel Cap Honda Accord Problem)

When buying a new car, ask your dealership if they will accept a trade for your older car. Note: A dealership will not give you the deserving amount for your older Accord and will capitalize on your disinterest in exploring other, better options. They are well aware that you are prioritizing convenience over money and just want something to get back on the road with. After all, not everyone wants to devote time to sell their old car.

The dealership will offer you a decent trade-in price sometimes. If you are offered a good price, make sure to read the final offer very carefully. Dealerships are sneaky, so when they pull something like this, they tend to slip in clauses to take back the money they offered you for the trade-in.

When you visit a dealership to buy a car, avoid telling them you have a vehicle to trade in (to learn more, check out our guide on how to trade a car that is not paid off). Allow them to quote a final price before suggesting a trade-in.

Selling Your Car Online

Don’t be lazy! You can sell your car yourself online. Many websites allow you to list your vehicle on the platform for a small monthly fee. There, you can upload pictures and specs of your vehicle for potential buyers.

Can You Sell A Car Without Registration

If you advertise on any of these websites, know that you will compete with other sellers too. Once you get the interest of a buyer, take your time to fully show them the vehicle. Be honest about its shortcomings – buyers appreciated that. They might haggle over the price or figure they don’t want it at all.

As we say this, it’s important to know that selling a car online can be dangerous. This is a rather big privacy move and if you’re not careful, you may end up giving precious information to perpetrators.

Facts on Honda Accord’s Check Fuel Cap Message:

  1. The Check Fuel Cap light is simply an information light that indicates there is no gas cap in the vehicle.
  2. A loose or improperly threaded gas cap is usually the cause of the Check Fuel Cap light, but other issues can also cause it.
  3. Modern vehicles have onboard diagnostics (OBD-IIs) that can save time and prevent further issues, but they may be more expensive at first.
  4. EVAP systems in modern vehicles prevent gasses from venting into the atmosphere to reduce smog-related emissions.
  5. Other codes that can come up with the Check Fuel Cap light are P0440, P0443, P0442 (just like the P0442 code Chevy Silverado), and P0449.
  6. A purge valve in the EVAP system may also cause the Check Fuel Cap light.
  7. It is safe to drive with the Check Fuel Cap light on, but it is important to fix the issue as soon as possible.
  8. The Check Fuel Cap light can be reset by turning off the engine, making sure the fuel door is open, tightening the cap, and restarting the vehicle.
  9. The Check Engine light should turn off after 10-20 miles of driving with a properly secured gas cap.
  10. If the Check Fuel Cap message remains on, it may be an indication of a deeper problem and should be inspected by a mechanic.

Conclusion For Check Fuel Cap Honda Accord

Fuel caps do go bad from time to time. They aren’t designed to last for the whole service life of a car. The Check Fuel Cap light on your Honda Accord has most likely been caused by a loose or bad gas cap. It can signal an EVAP leak. All of this can be figured out by some simple diagnosis. Follow the steps mentioned above and save your time (and money).


Here are some popular FAQs:

How Long Do I Have To Wait For The Fuel Cap Warning Light To Turn Off?

Once you have performed the corrective measures to fix the illuminated light, it will take a while for it to turn off. If a loosened gas cap was the issue and you fixed it, the Check Engine Light will turn off between 10 to 20 miles on the road.

How Often Should I Replace The Fuel Cap?

As the fuel cap is utilized by the engine constantly, you will have to get this component replaced eventually. On average, a fuel cap lasts 50,000 miles, and longer in some cases if properly cared for. The gas supply of your Honda Accord is very much dependent on this kind of protection and not having it can lead to a bunch of issues.

Can A Poor Fuel Cap Be The Reason My Honda Accord Isn’t Starting?

While a faulty fuel cap can make the Check Engine Light flash across your dashboard, it will generally not be the reason behind performance issues.

How Much Does It Cost To Change A Fuel Cap?

According to an estimate from RepairPal, the average cost for fuel cap replacement is around $89 to $94. Parts go for about $72 whereas labor costs are assumed to be between $18 and $22. We did not include fees and taxes in this range and neither does it count the variations in labor costs due to changes in location and vehicle.

Can A Loose Fuel Cap Make My Car Stall?

A car should still run even if the fuel cap is loose. The absence of a fuel cap does not affect the operations of a car, but the Check Engine Light will come on. Many factors can make a car stall.

What Issues Can A Loose Fuel Cap Cause?

A missing or loose fuel cap will worsen the emissions systems, creating harmful vapors which are then released into the atmosphere.

Can I Drive With A Check Fuel Cap Warning Message On My Honda Accord?

In theory, yes, you should be able to drive your Accord around as the majority of EVAP leaks solely impact the emissions of the vehicle. However, in a handful of cases, the vehicle may run poorly and your Accord will be completely out-of-order. Have the car inspected by a mechanic if the Accord runs badly. Chances are, the issues are more severe than a regular EVAP leak.

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