Grazed knuckles

Let me set the scene for todays petrol station performance.
Headed out for a freeway blast with the tank just about a quarter full. Would be nice to take the opportunity to fill the car up I figured. Pulled into the usual location (where I had my last bowser performance) only to discover that there was no high octane (unleaded 98), available. Damm. Decided to simply continue on and fill up at a different location on the way back.
Car performed flawlessly down the freeway and back along the old freeway.
Here’s a thought. Why not fill up at a location away from the main road, things should be quieter, no? So before returning to the freeway for the last part of the return trip I pulled over into a petrol station on the old freeway which didn’t seem too busy.
I found a bowser on the right hand side so I wouldn’t have to go through the stretching exercise I did last time. I popped the fuel cap and turned the car off to fill up.
Hmmm…that’s not good I thought as I tried to remove the fuel cap. I couldn’t budge it. What the hell?

The fuel cap is actually metallic and has rather a long thread on in when compared to other cars. I heaved and hoed but still the cap wouldn’t come loose. As you can see from the above image the cap has a number of indentations around it that ‘should’ make it easy to twist. Problem is, the cap is stainless steel which is rather slippery.
So I tried using a cloth to improve grip, no go. I tried two hands, no go. It wouldn’t budge. The other problem was the cap is recessed into the body and has the release mechanism on one side of this recess and the hings for the cover on the other. This meant that my big fat hand with short stocky fingers was not REALLY the best tool for the job (let along the rest of what the hand was attached to it would seem!).
After some more heaving and hoeing, I began to think that maybe it would be better if the car cooled down. Perhaps there was some sort of vacuum happening that was holding the cap tight? Maybe I’d have to just continue back and try and remove the cap in the privacy of my own garage rather than putting on another show of Ferrari owner’s incompetence in public.
More heaving and hoeing, which also lead to plenty of grazed knuckles and cut fingers as my hand kept slipping around the cap and of course running into the other sharp objects in the vicinity.
Ok, maybe it’s not me. Maybe my hands are too greasy? I therefore waited until someone nearby was heading back to the shop and asked whether they could assist. They heaved and hoed as well but to no avail. I thanked them and felt relieved that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t seem to have any strength this morning.
The best chance I was going to have to budge the cap was to use two hands. I took hold, braced myself against the car and the ground and twisted with all my might. I must have looked a right ninny, BUT the cap started to move. One more intense twist and the cap came free. Phew.
As I filled up I pondered why this had happened. I’m sure I didn’t screw the cap on THAT tight last time I filled up. I’m also pretty sure that the recent service on the car wouldn’t have caused this. Hmm..interesting. All I can put it down to is me tightening the cap too much and with the car being hotter than previous fill ups (being at the end rather than the beginning of the run).
With the car refuelled I screwed the cap back on lightly and just finger tightened it. Doing it that way kinda makes sense as the whole recess area for the fuel really isn’t designed for putting your whole hand in there. Seems to be a message in that eh?
Off to the register I went, with my performance complete, to make payment and accept my silent ridicule. Luckily, most people have more important things to worry about at this time of the year but I at least hope I could give someone a chuckle.
On the return leg it was time to dwell on the more positive aspect of the incident (what there was of it). At least it happened in a location off the main road and not at one of the normal ‘mega’ service stations that I was planning to refuel at. You gotta look at these things as a glass half full don’t you? Otherwise you’d never go for a drive again!

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