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Fuel Door Lock Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a fuel door lock replacement is between $72 and $113. Labor costs are estimated between $26 and $67 while parts are priced at $46. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Fuel Door Lock?

Some vehicles are equipped with a fuel door that latches automatically when closed and opens with either an electric actuator and switch or a manual (cable-operated) release. The fuel door locks when it is pressed shut and it is opened by means of a button or lever inside the passenger compartment. Other vehicles may feature a manual lock on the fuel door that requires a key to open.

How do Fuel Door Locks work?

How a fuel door lock works depends on the type of lock used. If the lock is operated by a switch, the actuator will receive a signal (usually from the Body Control Module) telling it to unlock the fuel door. A cable operated lock opens when the driver pulls a lever inside the vehicle and the cable pulls the lock open. A keyed lock is located on the fuel door. The operator inserts a key in the lock to open the fuel door, the way one might open a locked cabinet.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Fuel Door Lock?

Regardless of the type of fuel door lock used, a common symptom when the lock is bad is that the fuel door will refuse to open. With an electric actuated lock, the door might not work at all, might work intermittently, or might refuse to latch closed. In the case of a cable operated lock, the release lever could be difficult to pull, may not retract all the way after being pulled, or may be loose. And with a keyed lock, the key might not turn in the lock cylinder or might not go into the keyhole at all.

Can I drive with a bad Fuel Door Lock?

If a fuel door lock refuses to close, the issue is probably one of inconvenience, and maybe one of security. Since the fuel door lock is usually operated when a car, truck, or SUV is low on fuel, a lock that is stuck shut, on the other hand, can become an urgent problem. A vehicle can be driven with a bad fuel door lock. For a time. Running out of fuel - especially if the fuel door will not open - can be a safety concern as well as an inconvenience.

How often do Fuel Door Locks need replacement?

Any fuel door lock should last the lifetime of the vehicle. Unfortunately, sometimes they fail, often because of abuse or neglect. A dirty actuator pin on an electric model can get gummed up and stick if not kept clean. This places undue stress on the actuator and can lead to early failure. Excessive force applied to the release lever of a cable operated lock can cause the cable to stretch or break prematurely, or strain and break the attachment points. And a lock cylinder on a keyed lock can freeze up with a lack of regular use.

How are Fuel Door Lock issues diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a bad fuel door lock also depends on the type. If the vehicle has an electric lock, the technician will determine if the problem is with the switch or the actuator by testing for power (voltage) at both locations. In the case of an actuator that operates with the central locking system, a scan of the Body Control Module may be necessary. A problem with a cable operated lock that will not open or close properly can usually be detected in the feel of the release lever. If the lever is significantly lose, the cause could be a broken cable. If the lever does not move, or moves with too much effort, the cable or release pin could be dirty or corroded. A technician will actuate the lever and sense if the cable or actuator is faulty. With a keyed lock, a technician will lubricate the lock cylinder and test it with the key.

How are Fuel Door Locks replaced?

If the way fuel door locks work, and the manner in which they are diagnosed are different, naturally so is the way they are replaced. With an electric or cable operated lock, the lock actuator is reached by either removing the boot around the filler neck (where fuel is added) or by removing trim panels inside the trunk. With the electric lock, the actuator is replaced. With the cable operated system, the cable is usually replaced. This also requires removing several trim panels inside the passenger compartment since the cable runs from the fuel door all the way to the lever near driver's seat. But the keyed lock may be the trickiest of all. Normally, the only thing required to replace the keyed lock is to pull a retaining clip and remove the old lock cylinder. The new lock is inserted into the fuel door and the retaining clip is replaced. It may be necessary to have the lock cylinder coded to the vehicle key. But if the fuel door is locked shut and the old lock cylinder will not turn, removal of the old lock is a challenge. A technician may try to gain access behind the fuel door to release the lock, but it may be necessary to drill and disassemble the lock before it will come out.

RepairPal Recommendations for Fuel Door Lock issues

RepairPal recommends having a faulty fuel door lock diagnosed and repaired as soon as symptoms begin to prevent a lockout situation at an inconvenient or urgent time. Many vehicles that have locking fuel doors also have some form of manual release inside the trunk, but the release can be inconvenient to access, especially at a gas station.

What to look out for when dealing with Fuel Door Lock issues

Care should be exercised any time work is being performed around the fuel system. Although the fuel filler neck is designed to keep vapors from moving freely, accidents can still happen.

Can I replace the Fuel Door Lock myself?

Replacement of a fuel door lock can often be done by someone with intermediate DIY experience. With vehicles where an electric actuator is tied into the central locking system, a diagnostic scan and computer reset may be required. A cable operated lock requires significant disassembly of trim components.

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