Car Smell: Gas - What is Means and How to Fix it

January 27, 2012

If you notice your car has a gas smell , you should get rid of the smell immediately. This is not a normal smell for your vehicle and is normally a sign that there is a problem. It is not enough to spray an air freshener; you need to fix the cause of the smell. The smell is a sign that gasoline is leaking from somewhere. Gasoline is dangerous because it is flammable and can start a fire.

Materials & Tools:

  • Cardboard
  • Drip Pans
  • Gaskets
  • Hoses
  • Seals
  • Other replacement parts

Step 1. Gas Car Smell Can Be Due to Gas Leak

The first place to look for a leak in a modern car is the fuel tank vent hose or the fuel injection line. Older cars, pre-1980’s, have a carburetor float bowl. When you shut off a pre-1980 car there is normally some boiled fuel  that will create a smell of gas.

Step 2. Finding the Leak

If you suspect a leak then do not turn the car on. Check the top of the engine for wet gasoline. You want to look near the fuel pump, spark plugs, and injector lines. Also go to the back of the car and check if there are any drips coming from the fuel tank. Front of the car leaks mean the fuel injector has a problem and back of the car leaks are due to a problem with the fuel tank. You can place cardboard or drip pans under your vehicle to capture the leaking gas and determine where the problem is.

Step 3. Replacing Items

There are several items that can be replaced which might fix your gas leak. You want to investigate all fuel line fittings and fuel lines. You can also look at the vacuum line fittings and decide whether to replace or clean the fuel injectors. Your gas cap could be faulty and replacing the cap is a quick fix.

Step 4. Ignition Timing

There is the chance that your ignition timing is off. This timing is off when the spark hits the combustion chamber. If the timing is off then this can cause the fuel economy to get worse, affect the engine power, and decrease the life of your engine. There are many factors that go into the timing of your engine and to get it checked or fixed you will most likely need a mechanic.

Step 5. Fuel Pressure Regulator

There is the chance that the pressure in the regulator is set too high. This pressure is designed to allow only the needed amount of fuel to go to the engine and then send the rest back to the gas tank. The most common leak is in the diaphragm where gas leaks into the vacuum tube. You can reset the pressure but if the diaphragm is broken then you will need to replace the fuel pressure regulator.

Step 6. Not Fixed

If you have tried many things and it still smells like gas, then take the car to a trusted car mechanic. You may have a very small leak that is only a problem when the car is on. The mechanic will know exactly what to look for. Let them know what you have tried.

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