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Are Chrome Fuel Filler Doors Worthwhile?

Jul 15, 2008
What would the classic look of American muscle cars be like without a fat, brushed aluminum gas cap perched high on the rear? This iconic look is popular for how it unabashedly flaunts a car's power and muscle. The design originally came from racing fuel caps on cars in the 50's and 50's. Race cars needed big fuel doors that were easy to open and shut during pit stops, and they needed to be made of metal so they would be strong enough to handle the aerodynamic stress of racing.

Nowadays, many people want to imitate the muscle car look on their own car or truck with an aluminum-style fuel door. There a few companies which can custom-make fuel doors, using a variety of materials and styles. Some models can even be locked, keeping gas thieves away from your fuel tank.

Putco makes an ABS chrome door cover which mimics the chrome used on the rest of the truck body, so it has a stock-replacement appearance. The door has embossed circular rivets arranged in a ring around the flat center. The cover can be installed very easily, using adhesive tape to stick the cover onto the existing fuel door. No drills or glue is needed. The Putco cover is for visual enhancement only, and doesn't affect performance practically. Another company, AVS, also manufactures a chrome fuel door cover which can attach using double-sided tape.

Chrome fuel door decals like the ones offered by Putco and AVS are just for show. They offer a great look at an affordable price, with most ranging in price from $35-$45, but little practical advantage. If you can spare the cash for the real thing, and have got a little spare time, then read on to learn about the AMI fuel doors.

AMI goes in a different direction with their fuel doors. They offer a variety of styles made out of billet aluminum, giving it a rugged look. They also offer more than one color option, with an all-black door, an all-aluminum door which can be brushed or polished, and an aluminum door surrounded by a black ring. Buyers can also choose to have their door be lockable - an obvious advantage. Rampage products are very similar to those offered by AMI, with fewer rivets used in the design, and only brushed or polished aluminum colors available. Both styles can be ordered with locks as well.

Being able to lock your gas tank might seem like the best way to keep it safe from would-be fuel thieves, but it's important to remember that it's very easy to access a fuel tank directly from underneath the truck body. Persistent fuel thieves who aren't deterred by a lock on your fuel door might gain entry simply by drilling a hole in the bottom of your fuel tank. Replacing a fuel tank is significantly more expensive than replacing stolen gas, so make sure you have ways to avoid this problem before buying a lockable gas cap. Keeping your truck in a garage or well-lit lot should be enough to keep it safe.

In summary, fuel door covers can be a fun accessory to decorate your truck, like the Putco stick-on model, or a functional piece of hardware, like the AMI locking aluminum door. From a practical point of view, AMI's fuel doors are the only ones which offer real practical advantages beyond aesthetics. Their doors cost about $85, with no extra charge for locks.
About the Author
The author Jason Lancaster administrates TundraHeadquarters.com, a web site with info, news, and reviews of Toyota Tundra accessories and Tundra parts.
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