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Automakers Are Stealing Your Stuff: Hey, Where'd My Gas Cap and Spare Tire Go?

Your next new car will come with two fewer items. Here's why it's good and bad.


Your next car will come with two fewer items like it or not. The reasons are mainly cost. Here's what will be missing.

Bye Bye Gas Cap
The first is a good thing. You won't have a gas cap to fiddle with anymore. More and more vehicles, like the Ford shown above, are getting rid of the gas cap. It's about time. Since cars all have fuel filler doors now anyway, what point does the cap serve? Well, in an old-style car it was part of the safety and emissions system, locking in the fuel and vapors where they belonged.

However, it isn't rocket science to design a fuel filler door that is self-closing and opened by the proper insertion of a fuel nozzle. Ford and many other automakers now use designs like the Easy Fill shown above to make fueling just a little bit easier.

Here, ICE cars are now one step ahead of electric vehicles. All of the electric vehicles we have tested require fussy covers for both the female receptacle inside the charging door and also for the male charge section.

Hey, Where's My Spare Tire?
Your automaker is stealing your spare and pretending it's for space savings or weight savings reasons. We are pretty sure they are full of baloney. This is a money grab, pure and simple. AAA has found that fully one-third of new models lack a spare tire. And not just in vehicles equipped with run-flat tires (which we despise).

Many new vehicles have conventional tires and no spare or tire-change tools. Instead, you get a baby compressor and a can of gunk to insert into the tire that was punctured. If the sidewall is torn, you are out of luck. Worse, finding a spare as an option is very unlikely. It is typically either there or not. If not, getting one after the car is purchased is unlikely for many shoppers.


Jennifer Sensiba    November 16, 2017 - 2:11AM

My $.02:

GM did a pretty good job on the Volt's charging door. It opens and the plug is open and ready to go. They combined a rubber boot into the door to accomplish that. It would be good if other manufacturers <cough>Nissan</cough> would do the same and make charging a little less fussy.

Ditching the spare tire might give a fraction of a mile per gallon, but we might have CAFE standards to blame for the iffy tradeoff. If you add a tenth of an MPG here and a third of an MPG there with small things, it eventually adds up to something that puts a dent in their fleet mileage and helps sell more crossovers without penalty. If each car were judged on its own fuel efficiency merits by the regulators instead of fleet averages, they wouldn't be so hot to make dumb sacrifices for minimal MPG gains.

Marc Stern    November 16, 2017 - 6:53AM

John: They began stealing the filler flap back in 06 with the Ford Flex. It was the first vehicle to have that type of filler flap. The spare has been disappearing for more than a decade.

claude (not verified)    December 29, 2017 - 3:23PM

The can of gunk to insert into the tire that was punctured , also ruin the tire pressure monitoring sensor a creative way to take more money from our pocket