Those With Auto Mechanic Training Will Be Interested to Know Why Fuel Doors Aren’t Always on the Same Side

When a driver is running out of gas and needs to make a stop to fuel up again, the right side is usually where their tank and fuel door is located, right? Not necessarily. 

Different cars will have the fuel door on different sides. Since the decision on where to place the fuel door is typically that of the automaker rather than the result of any government regulations, there’s no one standard side where drivers can expect to find it. But why is this the case? The placement of a fuel door in any vehicle can depend on a host of different factors: convenience, accessibility, aesthetics, and placement relative to other vehicle parts, to name a few. Read on to find out why fuel doors tend to be on different sides of different vehicles!

Why Fuel Doors Don’t Necessarily Need to Always Be on the Right Side of a Vehicle

Since drivers in countries like Canada drive on the right side of the road, it would appear to be more convenient for them to turn right to access a gas station. However, this creates an issue during peak times for refueling, as long lines can happen if too many cars have their fuel door on the right side. When the fuel door is placed on the left side (the driver’s side), this decision can be because the automaker doesn’t want to create too much congestion when the car refuels. 

Placing the fuel door on the driver’s side is considered more convenient for drivers

Students in automotive school might want to know that safety considerations can also factor into the decision. For example, if the fuel door is on the right side, the driver no longer has to refuel while standing between the car and surrounding traffic. This is especially relevant in situations where a driver has to pull over on a highway and refuel using a canister.

Other Motivations That Students in Automotive School Should Know

Of course, while safety and convenience are important considerations with regards to the placement of the fuel door, there are other factors that can come into play. Eagle-eyed students in auto mechanic training may notice that fuel door placement can also be the result of packaging and underbody components. Should there be bigger parts on one side that make it harder to place the fuel door there, it will instead be placed on the other side. Since the underbody of a vehicle contains many different parts, this can help determine which side is the easier one for the fuel door to be placed. 

Although engineering factors can determine which side the door is placed on, ultimately, having the fuel door on the left side is more functional, while the right side is safer if drivers have to refuel in a pinch on the side of the road. 

Refueling on the left side can also prevent drivers from waiting in long lines

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