The fuel filler door on Blue is rather unique. It is located just aft of the driver’s door, and can’t be opened without first opening said driver’s door. I like the arrangement except for one teeny-tiny detail - the little tab on the edge. It’s put there to make the door easier to open when it’s time to fill up, but it has a tendency to catch on my pants pocket as I exit the driver’s side, especially when we’re parked in a tight space and I can’t open the door all the way. If I don’t notice that the little tab is caught on my pants as I squeeze out the door, at the very least, the filler door is left standing open when I close the driver’s door and walk away. On at least one occasion, however, I’ve exerted enough leverage to actually break the hinge that holds the filler door.
It’s not cheap to repair… the dealer wanted $485. If doing it yourself, you can’t just buy a new hinge - you can only buy the entire ‘Fuel Pocket Assembly’. Then there’s the risk of breaking one or both of the trim pieces and having to buy them as well, then having to get them repainted to match Blue’s paint.
As it turns out, the repair is quite simple once you discover a couple of little disassembly tricks. I found the part at an online parts warehouse for $84 - not cheap, but not outrageous either. The repair only took 45 minutes or so, half of which was spent rounding up the tools. I couldn’t find much information online on how to make the repair, so we decided to make our own video. You can click here to watch the video which demonstrates that even a clumsy, fat-fingered old guy like me can manage it.
One way to prevent this from happening again is to park way out in the hinterland, away from other cars. This works well, and also provides an opportunity for a few extra steps while eliminating the risk of door dings from other drivers. We can’t always manage to park by ourselves, however - some parking lots are too small and/or congested.
Another potential solution is to wear spandex or Robin Hood type tights without pockets. This would prevent a pocket from catching on the filler door, but then where would I put my wallet and keys? Tucking them into the waistband just ruins the lines in my opinion. In addition, I suspect that this solution may also come with a reasonable likelihood of getting beaten up.
Driving without pants was also briefly considered, but also discarded. There’s still no place to put my keys or wallet.
Guess I’ll try to be more careful and maybe order a spare fuel filler assembly. Oh, wait! I’m not on Nine of Cups any more; I don’t have to stock spares!