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Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas? 6 Things To Diagnose The Problem

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If you are in your car and can smell gas, there is often that initial panic of why does my car smell like gas?

Many issues with vehicles can go unnoticed for some time, but a smell of gas from your car is one that is hard to miss but is also easy to diagnose.

This can be caused by a couple of things; and we will walk you through them now.


Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas?

Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas?

If you smell gas in your vehicle, you need to check 6 of the following right away!

Most of these can be done quickly and free of charge.

1. Broken or Lose Fuel Cap

Check your fuel cap.

It’s one of the most common reasons why your car smells like petrol or diesel.

After you fuel up the cap could be loose, cracked, or even left open.

It’s very easy to do if you’re in a hurry, and most older cars especially would have no warning light for this.

2. Fuel Tank Leak

A leak in the fuel is another reason why your car smells like gas.

Your fuel tank is vulnerable to wear and tear and it is possible for it to be cracked or damaged.

If your fuel tank is leaking, there’s a strong possibility you will smell it in your vehicle.

You might notice gas on the ground underneath your car in a rainbow-like coloring.

Gas on the ground is one of the clear signs of it, but you might also notice your fuel is dropping a lot quicker than normal.

If these are happening; bring it to your local mechanic or dealership to be checked out.

It’s very important that a leaking fuel tank is repaired or replaced immediately.

3. Fuel Line Leak

This is one of the more dangerous types of gas leaks as it connects to the engine.

The fuel line can be prone to wear and tear and can crack causing your fuel to leak, which will cause gas vapor to leak out of your fuel system.

You will likely notice the smell of fuel in your vehicle while driving or when you finish driving.

4. Loose or Damaged Spark Plugs

You may not think of spark plugs when you smell gasoline and they are often overlooked.

The spark plugs are screwed into your vehicle’s combustion chamber to create the spark that burns the fuel.

It’s important that these spark plugs are tight because if they are loose, fumes from the combustion chamber can get out and get into your ventilation system (HVAC intake).

5. You Just Refueled

This might sound silly but you’d be surprised.

If you just refueled at a gas station, you could get the smell of gas in your car afterward as you drive away.

You could’ve stepped in a small puddle of gas and brought that with you into the car.

Maybe you had the windows open on the pump side of the car and some fumes got into your car.

I also find that after I refuel that the smell of gas is sometimes on my hands.

If the smell continues; then you have a problem somewhere else in your vehicle.

6. Faulty O Ring Or Oil Cap Gasket

This one is a more common cause for why your car smells like gas, and it’s very quick and easy to troubleshoot.

However, this one is often overlooked.

To check your oil cap, pop the hood and locate the oil cap (it will say ‘Oil’ or have a picture of an old oil can).

Look at the area around the cap; if it’s dirty and covered in stains; it’s not sealed properly.

Gas fumes can escape here and cause your car to smell with gas fumes.

Open the cap, clean the area around it and seal it tightly.

After you check the cap itself to ensure that it’s not cracked or damaged.

You also need to check O-Ring underneath the cap.

If you don’t know what an O Ring is, you can find out HERE.

You need to make sure the O-Ring is not missing, cracked, or maybe flattened.

If it’s any of these or looks worse for wear; maybe just replace it altogether. They only cost a few bucks.


Is It Safe To Drive A Car That Smells Like Gas?

If your car does smell like gas, you shouldn’t drive it until you ensure you do not have a gas leak.

A gas leak is dangerous for both you and other drives.

It’s flammable and dangerous for you and a slippery liquid that can cause vehicles behind to skid.

Check underneath your car to see if you have a puddle in a rainbow-like color; this means your vehicle is leaking gas.

It is not leaking, the smell of gas can be caused by a number of other issues I mentioned above.


Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas But No Leak?

If you can smell gas but there’s no evidence of a leak; it’s like the cause of the gas odor is one of the following:

  • Broken or Loose Fuel Cap
  • Damaged Oil Cap or O-Ring
  • Loose, Damaged, or Cracked Spark Plugs

However, if you still can’t find the issue; take it to your mechanic to get checked out for peace of mind.


Final Points

What do you do if you smell gas in your car?

Follow the steps above that we provided; these are the core causes and should be a good place to start to diagnose the issue.

If you are unsure about anything, take it to your local mechanic or dealership to get checked out right away.

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