Title:
Improperly secured fuel cap indication system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The Improperly Secured Fuel Cap Indication System works by having a mini limit switch(es) on the inside of the fuel tank opening. The switch will be pressing against the fuel cap in a strategic location(s) preferably near the locking mechanism(s) inside the tank opening. This will help protect it from the gas pump nozzle when filling up and ensure a proper seal of the cap. The mini switch will always be in the closed position and once the open position is engaged when the cap is removed, it will immediately activate the warning light and subsequent chimes inside the vehicle to alert the driver. The system is designed to prevent unnecessary and costly trips to the service bay saving the manufacturer and customer time and money.



Inventors:
Wilkinson, Richard Allen (Windsor, CA)
Application Number:
12/151155
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
05/05/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D55/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COURSON, TANIA C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard, Wilkinson (2167 MARK AVE, WINDSOR, ON, N9B 3X6, CA)
Claims:
Claim of invention:

1. The invention will eliminate the problematic improperly secured fuel cap when it is either left off the opening of the fuel tank or improperly secured. The invention will alert the driver/operator instantaneously when the cap is not properly secured. The invention will save the driver/operator time and money from having the vehicle checked out by a mechanic when the “Check Engine” light/indicator that currently is activated over time by the problem. It will also save the manufacturer time and money by eliminating unnecessary service calls at the dealerships by the current systems thus leaving the “Check Engine” light/indicator for what it is designed for, the engine.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

Disclosure Document #584044 Aug. 11, 2005

Provisional Patent Application No. US 61/063,584

This invention is designed to alert the operator of a motorized vehicle that he/she has failed to secure or properly secure the vehicle's fuel cap after refueling. The said invention will do so by having a mini limit switch(es) secured to the inside of the fuel tank opening during manufacturing. To eliminate the chance of a spark and a subsequent explosion, all switches will be properly grounded to the chassis of the vehicle and/or have a protective non-conducting layer covering the switch's wiring connections. This mini limit switch(es) will be secured below the threads and/or securing tabs in the tank opening where a proper secured fuel cap will then press against the switch(es) causing it to be in the closed position.

When the fuel cap is not present or properly positioned, the switch(es) will be in the open position thus setting off an indicator light and subsequent chime in the dash/instrument panel of the vehicle to alert the driver/operator to correct the positioning of the fuel cap. The invention should be activated as soon as the key is turned giving power to all other electrical/electronic components within the vehicle without the need for the engine to be running. This will ensure the driver/operator is given prompt notification and can correct the positioning of the fuel cap before he/she is operating the vehicle in traffic.

STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

N/A

REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISK APPENDIX

N/A

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention is geared toward the automotive industry. All vehicles have a fuel cap and the operator/driver can easily forget to secure it after refueling. The current systems are pressure activated and can take a few moments to alert the driver/operator that he/she has improperly secured the fuel cap. By this time, the operator/driver can already be in traffic and may be unable to pull over and properly secure the fuel cap.

In some vehicles a “Check Engine” light will appear on the dash/instrument panel. The indicator light usually gets the operator/driver to go to a service station and pay up to $80 or more for a diagnostics test on the vehicle only to find they have improperly secured the fuel cap.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention will prevent an operator/driver of a motorized vehicle from having to pull over in traffic to secure their fuel cap if in the event it has been improperly secured. It will also prevent the “Check Engine” indicator from activating for this cause and a subsequent diagnostics fee at the service bay. The results are instantaneous and can alert the operator/driver as soon as the key is turned giving power to all electrical and electronic devices in the vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE VIEWS OF THE DRAWING

There are two drawings of the invention. The first is a schematic drawing labeled FIG. 1 that shows how the system will work. The invention is powered by the car battery (1A) at 12 Volts and is grounded throughout the circuit by the vehicle's chassis (1B). The current runs to an Inverter (1C) that will reverse the signal causing chimes (1F) and light (1E) to be activated when the switch (1D) is open rather than closed.

The second diagram FIG. 2 is a cut away of a fuel tank opening to show how the invention can be installed into a vehicle. The fuel tank opening (2A) is used for refueling the vehicle. The cap is then placed in the opening and is either screwed into and/or placed inside and locked into place by the opening's securing tab (2B) and the cap's securing tabs resting below the opening's tabs. The invention is placed directly below the fuel tank's securing tabs where the fuel cap's securing tabs meet (2C). This ensures a properly secured fit by having the cap's securing tabs resting against the mini limit switch (2C).

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

This invention is quite easy to assemble and can be done with already existing materials and applications. This is designed to be cost effective and efficient. The parts are relatively inexpensive.

To assemble the invention, simply bore a small hole underneath the securing tab and threads (if any) in the fuel tank opening of a completely empty fuel tank and secure the switch(es) and seal them with a liquid impermeable substance like silicone, rubber or plastic to prevent any moisture from corroding the switch housing or vapors from escaping the fuel tank. Ground the switch to the chassis of the vehicle and run the wiring to the instrument cluster in the vehicle as per the schematic diagram (FIG. 1) and placed accordingly as depicted in FIG. 2.