How To Open A Frozen Gas Door And Cap [4 Helpful Methods]

Have you ever gone to fill up your gas tank, only to find a frozen, closed fuel tank door? Or, maybe you can open the door, but the gas cap has frozen? If these issues are plaguing you, we can help. We researched various professional sources, so you'll know what to do.

There are a variety of ways you can open a frozen gas door and cap quickly and easily. They include:

  • Applying pressure to the fuel door
  • Using hot water
  • Using a hair dryer
  • Deicer

Since we know several methods of getting past a frozen fuel door and gas cap, we'll review each one. You might wonder what to do if your gas tank freezes, or if you should keep your gas tank full in cold weather. For answers to these questions and more, read ahead.

Biofuel, Refueling, Gas, Gas station - How To Open A Frozen Gas Door And Cap [4 Helpful Methods]

Dissecting the Methods of Thawing Your Fuel Door and Gas Cap

Hand of a man filling up the fuel tank of his car during freezing snowy winter.

One of the unfortunate drawbacks of having to leave your vehicle parked outside is that it will face exposure to the elements. Imagine having your beloved car or truck sit outside unprotected during a brutal ice storm.

The process of de-thawing it later will take a bit of time and effort as you remove a sheet of ice from the frame.

The area around the fuel door will be one of the easiest points to access. You can follow any of the methods we mentioned earlier in this post, and you'll have both the door and the gas cap open in no time.

The methods we shared above are all pretty quick to give you access to your fuel cap. Some might work better than others for you, however.

1. Applying Pressure to the Fuel Door

When you put an ample amount of pressure on the fuel door, it will move inward a bit. Because these doors are on springs, you'll see that they have a little bit of give. Carefully use your hand to put pressure on each of the four corners. 

If the ice isn't too thick, this will cause the ice to break. As soon as you have done this on all four corners, you should be able to open the fuel door.

2. Using Hot Water

This method requires a bit more care than the pressure technique. But if you have a thick layer of ice, it is more effective. Slowly pour hot water around the fuel door. This will quickly melt the ice.

If the cap has frozen in place, you can you the leftover hot water to loosen it as well. Don't forget, you never want to use hot or warm water on or near any glass surface on your vehicle.

The extreme change in the temperature of the glass can result in cracks or breaking glass. This goes for your side mirrors as well.

3. Using a Hair Dryer

You can also use a hairdryer to get access to your fuel tank. A cordless dryer works best, but one with a cord paired with a long extension cord will also work.

Using the low setting, blow the hot air on the area around the fuel tank door. It won't take long for the ice to melt. If the gas cap has frozen, you can use the hair dryer to thaw it, too.

Avoid using the hair dryer on any of your windows. This heated air is much more intense than the air blown from your defroster.

Similar to using hot water, the hair dryer will cause too quick of a temperature change on the glass. This can make your windshield, side windows, or mirrors crack or shatter. 

4. Deicer

Keeping some deicer handy for inclement weather is always a good idea. You can liberally apply it to your fuel door, gas cap, and key locks to give you near immediate access to your vehicle.

To view this deicer on Amazon, click here.

What to Do if Your Gas Tank Freezes?

The likelihood of your gas freezing solid in your fuel tank is pretty much next to none. It takes extremely cold temperatures for that to happen.

We'll talk a little about that ahead in this post. But it can certainly get cold enough to freeze any moisture that's in your fuel line. That's enough to keep your vehicle from starting.

If you can, push your vehicle into a heated garage. It will take several hours, but the ice particles in the line will melt. Another method is to add fresh gasoline to your tank. Of course, this will only work if your tank isn't already full.

You can also use an anti-freeze treatment in your fuel line. Feel free to add these additives to your fuel tank to keep the lines from freezing over.

Of course, you can always wait. Time will thaw the fuel lines when the temperatures rise.

elevated view of two men cleaning snow covered car in parking lot.

Should You Keep Your Gas Tank Full in Cold Weather?

We recommend you keep your gas tank as full as possible in the winter. This is more for safety reasons than anything.

Imagine the gas tank is close to empty, and then you end up getting stuck in the snow. You would not be able to keep the vehicle running for warmth for very long. 

If you run your fuel tank too low in the winter, any moisture left in the fuel system will freeze easier. This can lead to you needing to thaw the lines.

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What Temperature Will Gas Freeze?

Earlier in this post, we mentioned that it would be very unlikely for your gasoline to freeze. The moisture in the lines will freeze, making it hard to start your vehicle.

But for your gasoline to freeze totally, it would mean taking your car to the coldest place on Earth. Gasoline will freeze around -100 Fahrenheit. Higher octane fuels will take a bit colder temperatures to freeze. 

The coldest temperatures ever recorded on Earth have been in Antarctica. It has reached a bone-chilling -144 degrees Fahrenheit. In comparison, the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the United States have only been -60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Huge high glaciers in winter natural conditions, the sea in ice, snow and blizzards. Arctic winter snowy landscape. The concept of a winter polar landscape.

How Does Heet Work in the Gas Tank?

You may have used Heet in the past to keep your lines from freezing in the winter. Heet is a great fuel additive to prevent this from happening, as well.

Heet works to remove the water from your fuel lines. Over time, moisture will naturally build up in the fuel tank. Heet will cause the water molecules to stick to it.

When the engine is running, Heet's molecules will burn with the rest of the gasoline. And in the process, it will evaporate the water.

Heet is recommended for vehicles in freezing temperatures. It's recommended that you use this additive every time you fill up your fuel tank during the winter months.

Although there are many methods to help you thaw your line, the best method is always prevention. Use a fuel additive like Heet to rid your fuel tank of water every winter, and always drive safe!

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Final Thoughts

There are several quick and easy methods you can use to thaw out your fuel door and gas cap successfully if they become frozen. Don't forget, cold weather can cause the water inside your fuel system to freeze, which will keep your vehicle from starting.

We hope this post on frozen gas caps answered all of your questions. For additional automotive tips and tricks, we recommend the following posts:

How Long Do Spare Tires Last? [And How Far Can You Drive On Them]

Can Engine Coolant Freeze? [And At What Temperature]

Will Adding Oil Make Car Start? [And How To Tell If Your Oil Is Low]

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