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Causes of Gasoline Smell in a Car and How to Fix it


Gasoline smell in car may be an inconvenience or a severe hazard. Gasoline is very dangerous since it is flammable and can start a fire very easily. The fuel smell is a sign that gasoline is leaking from somewhere. This fuel smell is not normal for a car and is normally a sign that there is a problem.

Many people spray an air freshener but it is not enough to get rid of the smell. However, it is important to locate the source of the smell in order to determine the cause and fix it immediately. There are several causes of fuel smell in car. This article will exclusively explore on the causes of gasoline smell in a car and ways of fixing these causes.

Injector leak

The common cause of the fuel leak in a car is the injector seal or o-ring, but it is rare to see an injector leaking. Each injector has an o-ring at the top and a rubber seal at the bottom. These seals and o-rings dry out and eventually crack, hence leaking the fuel. On the other hand, an injector o-ring and seal can leak due to the old age of the car or improper installation of an injector.

To fix the cracked o-rings and seals, someone is required to replace only the damaged seals and o-rings. If the injector is still working properly, then there is no need of replacing it. Fixing an injector seal or o-ring leaking due to old age of the car can simply be replacing all the seals and o-rings. The fuel leak caused by improper installation of an injector requires replacement of the damaged seal and o-ring.

Fuel tank leak

Probably, fuel tank leak is the most common fuel leak of all and there are many reasons as to why the fuel tank is leaking, anything from a punctured tank to a rotted tank. Usually, a fuel tank of a car that is leaking leaves a spot on the parking pavement.

However, this leaking of the tank is a potential danger to people who smoke cigarettes since they might throw them, thus potentially igniting the fuel dripping from the tank. Sometimes a fuel tank might leak at the top due to the moisture and debris trapped on the top of the tank. This trapped moisture and debris rarely dries up, thus causing the tank to rot and eventually leak. In order to fix the leaking fuel tank, it is advisable to remove it completely, inspect it and either repair or replace it.

Fuel line leak

It is very common to have rotted or crashed fuel lines because they travel under the car and there is less protection from road elements and debris. In addition, there are rubber fuel lines that can potentially leak due to the old age of the car. Notably, any car having fuel injection will also have high pressure in the fuel lines, and if it happens to be a weak line, the fuel will spray out of the line hence causing a vapor.

This vapor is extremely dangerous if appears to be near the engine or exhaust. The fuel line can also spray out a mist, which makes the gasoline smell in a car to be extremely pungent and can cause headaches or nausea. However, breathing the smells of fuels is not good for the health because it can lead to brain damage.

To fix leaking of the fuel line, it is advisable to follow the fuel line from the tank to the engine. Probably, the line will be dripping somewhere and it will be very easy to find if the car is fuel injected. Having a professional to repair the fuel line will be a better idea because the mechanic will be responsible for repairing any other problems that might occur.

Faulty canister

A canister is a plastic container filled with charcoal. From the fuel tank, there are excess fuel vapors and this excessive fuel vapors are purged through the charcoal canister in order to reduce the emissions before it is sent out into the atmosphere. However, there might be a fuel smell if the charcoal canister has a crack in it or it is leaking through a faulty seal or vent.

The check engine light would illuminate and set a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) if the charcoal canister did have a problem. It is important to pull the code first if there are smells and the check engine light is on because it usually points in the right direction on what could be causing the problem.

Gas cap

A fuel smell in a car can occur due to a loose or missing gas cap. The gas cap can also leak fumes due to its faulty, thus causing the check engine to illuminate with a DTC. However, the leaking fumes from faulty gas cap leads to gasoline smell in car.

After having a fuel smell, it is advisable to check out quickly if the gas cap is loose or missing in order to avoid dangers caused by this fuel smell. Notably, a small gas leak would cost a couple hundred of dollars to fix, but if not taken care of, it might cost a total loss of the vehicle.

Using a fan

Running a fun inside a car with a leaking fuel takes in outside air with the fuel smell. However, there is vapor sucking into the passenger compartment through the intake of fresh air. It is not possible to stop fumes temporarily from entering the vehicle when using a fan, but using the recirculation button on the climate control, it is possible to stop the air from being drawn in from outside.

This recirculation button recalculates the cabin air, hence stopping the air from being drawn in from outside. Instead of using a fan, leaving the car with door-open for at least 24 hours is the best option in order to get rid of that fuel smell. The steady airflow in the interior will evaporate the fumes in the car, thus creating a fresh air.

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