- Use a Flat Tool: Try sliding a credit card or a similar flat tool into the gap near the door, opposite the hinge side. Gently pry it open. It might help to have someone hold the internal lever up while you do this. This method often works when the door is stuck due to dirty hinges or a worn-out spring.
- Temporary Fix: For a quick fix, you could slightly bend the catch inside the fuel door. This makes the latch release more easily. However, be careful not to bend it too much, or it might not close properly.
- Lubrication: If you manage to open the door, lubricate the hinges. While WD-40 is a common choice, it's not the best for long-term solutions. Consider using a specific automotive grease for more lasting results.
- Check the Spring: Sometimes, the issue could be a broken spring. Since your Prizm shares parts with the Toyota Corolla, you could find a replacement spring at a Toyota dealership.
- Inspect the Latch Mechanism: If the problem persists, it might be due to a stuck latch release mechanism. This could be due to a broken spring or a mechanism clogged with dirt and grime.
- Professional Help: If none of these solutions work, it might be time to seek professional help. A mechanic can diagnose and fix the issue, ensuring a more permanent solution.
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