How to Get a Locked Gas Cap Off When the Key Won't Work

by Elizabeth Sobiski
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pumping gas image by Tammy Mobley from

Locking gas caps can come in handy, especially when there's a possibility of someone helping themselves to your gas. These gas caps require a key to open, which usually deters gas thieves. Unfortunately though, if you lose your keys it also means that you can't unlock the cap either. Fortunately there are still a few ways to get the cap off without having to call a locksmith. The gas cap will have to be replaced after removing it, however, as it may be too damaged to reuse.

Step 1

Push a flat head screwdriver into the lock and turn, the same way as a key. These locks are not very strong, and often this does the trick.

Step 2

Grasp the gas cap tightly with the locking pliers, and give a good twist counterclockwise. The tabs that hold the lock in place should break off and the cap should come off.

Step 3

Press down and turn counterclockwise, as if opening a child-proof medicine bottle. Sometimes the tabs that hold the cap in place just need some space to move.

Step 4

Go to the local auto parts store. Many stores keep a ring of gas cap keys on hand, just for this problem. Gas caps are often keyed alike, so a key from a different lock may work. They will also be happy to sell you a new cap.

Step 5

Call a locksmith. This is the most expensive option, but if nothing else works, it is the most viable option. Just know that if they have to drill the lock out, small shards of metal can get into the gas and end up clogging the fuel filter.

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