If you’ve ever driven into a gas station and had a moment of forgetfulness, wondering which side your gas tank is on, you’re probably not alone. Whether you’re in a rental car or just feeling a little confused in a car you’ve had for years, you can spare yourself from having to circle the car around to the other side. The answer lies in a small symbol on your dashboard that you may have overlooked — just look for the little arrow or triangle near the gas gauge.
The arrow indicates which side of the car the gas tank is on. If the arrow points left, the car’s filler cap is on the left. If it points right, it’s on your right. This gas tank knowledge may spare you from having to crane your head out the window or from having to hop in and out of the car. The secret is out — all it takes is a quick glance on the dash to know exactly where to pull up to fill up.
Arrow Indicators on New Cars
This little arrow is on most modern cars, according to Jalopnik. And since most rental cars are new or newer vehicles, they’ll likely have the arrow, too, which offers some relief if you find yourself behind the wheel of a rental.
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Gas Pump Icon on Old Cars
What about in older cars that lack the arrow? Older cars often have a gas pump icon located near the gas gauge, but does its placement lend any clues to the side your gas pump is on?
Unfortunately, there is no consistent correlation between the gas pump indicator and where the gas cap is located on the car, says AutoGuide.com. Sometimes the hose on the gas pump indicator is on the same side of the car as the gas cap, but this is not always the case.
So, if you’ve got a newer ride and can’t seem to remember which side to pull up on when filling your tank, look down to the triangle-shaped arrow for the answer. Otherwise, you may have to check the side-view mirrors before pulling up.