How to Find the Gas Tank on a Rental Car

How to Find the Gas Tank on a Rental Car

It never fails, whenever I get a rental car, it always takes me pulling into a gas station before I make everyone stick their head out of the window to tell me if they see the gas tank door.  You would think I would have learned by now, but no, it’s never on my mind when I pick up the car.  I recently learned a trick that BLEW MY MIND, though.  Did you know you can tell which side the tank is on by looking at the dash.  What?!  I know.

To tell which side your gas tank is on, just look at the gas gauge on the dashboard.  It will have one of two symbols.  Either a tiny arrow that points to one side of the car versus the other or a small gas pump on one side of the gauge vs. the other.  {I always thought the gas pump symbol was just a cutsie way to let you know that was the gas gauge.  Silly me.}

This is going to make my life waaay easier, and I don’t think I’m going to tell the kids the trick.  I’m going to tell them I sensed it when I pull into the station without making them stick their heads out of the windows.  It’s good to mess with them sometimes.

Here’s to smoother travels,


Looking for more Travel Tips? See the full list of Travel Tips HERE!

Related posts:

  • Like on FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Want to get more of this awesome goodness? Sign up here for the newsletter!


  1. Lisa says

    My two vehicles just have the gas pump, no arrows. Maybe it’s just new cars (mine are 2000 and 2008), or just a few manufacturers. I had my daughter run out and check!
    It would be helpful! I often, more often than I care to admit, pull in the wrong way, since my tanks are on opposite sides.

  2. Rochelle says

    No no, she said either arrows or the pump symbol’s location. Is the Sybil on the right or left if the gage; and then see if your tank us on the right of left side of the car. Can’t wait for my hubby to get home do I can check ours! So cool!

  3. Sandi says

    I guess because I have a 2000 Pontiac (and before that a 1996 Sebring), I always thought that the American cars had gas tanks on the left-and foreign on the right. I only rented a 2012 Focus once last year-and we barely used any gas on our trip, so I don’t recall how we figured it out. I’ll have to ask my sister-her car is MUCH newer than mine!

  4. Linda Knoll says

    I just listen to the sound when I click the gas tank lock button. You can hear it open on the left or the right. My car (2008) doesn’t have the arrow, just the image of the gas pump & it’s on the right side, which would be inaccurate.

  5. Lise says

    This has got to be for newer cars. I have a 2002 Subaru Forester, and Dah Hubz has a 2000 Saturn. On BOTH cars, on the dash, the lil gas light or gas pump gauge is on the far left (driver) hand side of the dash readouts (no arrows, etc). However, on BOTH cars, the gas tank is on the right (passenger) side.

  6. Dottie says

    Mavis you crack me up! Sometimes the arrow is not painted/decaled on but lights up instead, so you would only notice arrow if the power is on. Sounds like it depends on the car but all of mine have had them, ’93 and newer. When learning to drive my dad told me about the arrows after laughing at me at the gas station and it totally blew my mind too !!! I do wonder what happened with the hoses at the station though- 15 years ago they were long enough to pull over your car to the far side if you did park wrong and now they are so short ?

  7. anne says

    in older models, the handle of the gas pump indicated which side the tank is located .handle on the right=tank on the right.

  8. Dawn says

    Why am I last person on Earth to know about such things`?…… gas pump indicators, crock pot baked potatoes… who knew? lol!!

  9. Subienkow says

    I know they stopped because of the danger involved if you were rear-ended, but I had a 78 Chevy Nova ( a 4 door, not a cool 2 door) and the gas fill was behind the license plate. I could pull into any pump and be good to go!

  10. Aisha says

    Mavis you just blew my mind!!!! I just got it my car that I had for 4 years and NEVER before have I seen that arrow!!

  11. Rick says

    The fill-up for the gas tank is always on the side that is farthest from the exhaust pipe exit point. For example, if the exhaust pipe exit is on the left, then the fill-up door will be on the right. Why this is true is because If gas is accidentally spilled on the same side where the exhaust pipe is located your car could possibly go up in flames. I learned this from “Car Talk” – NPR. Learn on which side the exhaust pipe is on a car and you will automatically know where the gas fill-up access door is.

    • Lisa says

      That wouldn’t help me in the least! If I can’t remember what side the door is on, I surely won’t remember where my exhaust pipe is! I would have to get out and look, and then I might as well look for the fuel door! If I memorize where the exhaust is, then why not memorize the door location instead?
      I remember one of my vehicles by visualizing how when my son was little I would kiss him through the window as I pumped the gas. Then, for my other car, what window wouldn’t get the kiss!
      I don’t pump my own gas now (not legal in OR), but still use the window kiss method sometimes when I pull in!

  12. says

    I guess my last post didn’t make it because it had a link… Anyway, if you check the hoax and rumor internet sites, you will see that newer cars have arrows, but the location of the pump icon, or the handle on the pump, has nothing to do with the location of the gas tank door.
    So, it’s a coincidence if your gas pump icon matches the door!
    I looked in a truck, with permission, today. It actually said, “Fuel Door” and had an arrow too. You couldn’t miss it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *