Working Out How to Unlock the Fuel Tank Lid on Rental Cars

This last weekend I had to pop back to Melbourne for a day and although I was tempted to drive down and back in my own car it was probably a bit more sensible to fly down and back and hire a car for the duration of my visit. Amazingly, it would have been cheaper to drive down and back but would have required twenty hours of driving in addition to that around Melbourne.

Small price to pay to avoid being exhausted on the road.

Anyway, when it came time to drop the hire car back it wasn’t immediately apparent where the fuel cap release mechanism was located. I must of spent at least five or ten minutes trying to find it under the steering wheel, in the footwell and on the floor itself. Couldn’t find the darn thing.

I then try looking for the manual in the glove box – no manual to be found.

At this point, I am thinking the car rental companies are giving you every incentive to take it back to them without a full tank and have you pay them for it. That said, I wasn’t going to be defeated so easily (even with the impending deadline to board my flight back to Sydney). If you’ve got a smartphone then you can find the answer.


Of course, if you’re going to use a smartphone at a petrol station, hope inside your car and close the door first. You shouldn’t be wafting electronics in front of a petrol pump if you can avoid it.

I just did a search for the make and model of vehicle (in my case I was given a Nissan Pathfinder – rather comfortable but incredibly huge and the fuel economy made me wince a bit compared to my Prius) and “fuel tank open”. I was then able to find this video that showed me how to open the fuel tank lid.

Apparently, you could just push the lid open when the driver’s door was unlocked but that didn’t work for me. I just pressed the unlock button twice on the fob and the lid opened by itself – weird.

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