The fuel door of some cars includes a fuel door actuator or release, which opens and closes it from within your car. It allows motorists to open the fuel door while still in their vehicle at the push of the button.
It's after all quite the useful car part that allows drivers to get gas attendants put gas in their cars without them going out of the car to unlock the fuel door themselves. It's like the actuator for the trunk of the car.
When the actuator malfunctions, you'll immediately know because it involves the door simply not opening or opening sometimes when you press the button. It can also completely die so that it remains unresponsive no matter how many times you push the button.
Recommended Courses of Action
- Maintenance and Prevention: Maintenance isn't just about cleaning your seats and dashboard with KevianClean Leather Cleaner and Conditioner. It's also about taking care of every aspect of your fuel door actuator. You should push or pull the button for the fuel door too hard to the point of breaking it. You should also make sure that the gas attendants or you yourself open and close the door carefully so that you won't end up damaging the actuator somehow.
- Electrical Troubleshooting: You or your mechanic should do some electrical troubleshooting for good measure before replacing the fuel door release. It might be malfunctioning not because it's worn down but instead because electricity isn't traveling towards it, hence it not activating. Troubleshooting involves checking your wiring and solenoid to see if enough juice is getting to the unit whenever the button is pushed. If it's a replacement actuator then maybe it wasn't installed properly.
- More about Tinkering with Your Actuator: Most actuators are connected to wires found in the trunk of your car, on the same side as where the fuel door is. You can also pull from the trunk in a way that forces the actuator open, allowing you access or removal of the unit. The problems that could affect your actuator include the button not working, the stuck door harness needing a little oiling or cleaning, or the solenoid requiring replacement (which is way cheaper than buying a new actuator).
- Buying a Replacement: A good door actuator replacement should share specs with the actuator you want replaced. It should also reestablish the ability to release the fuel door on top of being compatible with it. It should also have a proper fit and feature durable housing so that it won't get damaged like your previous actuator did. There are ratings and reviews on online shops or ecommerce websites that should point you at the right direction for an actuator replacement.