Some car issues can be ignored for a while, but a gas smell in the cabin is not one of them. You should make an appointment at a repair shop immediately if your car smells like gas. A gas leak could cause your car to catch on fire.
Don’t panic just yet though. While sometimes gas odors can result from scary and expensive car problems, the smell might also be an easy fix. Here are four answers to the question “why does my car smell like gas,” ranked from least to most concerning.
Damaged or Open Gas Cap
First, the bad news. The gas cap prevents fuel vapor from escaping your gas tank, so if it’s broken or not closed, gas fumes will leak out of your car. Not only does this smell bad, but it leads to gas you paid for evaporating instead of powering your engine.
The good news is that replacing a gas cap is both easy and cheap. Unless you drive a luxury car, a new gas cap shouldn’t cost more than $20, and you can do the repair yourself instead of taking it to a mechanic.
Spark Plug Issues
Spark plugs ignite the fuel inside your car’s engine. They screw into a hole that can potentially release the air-fuel mixture in the cylinder. If you have a spark plug that’s damaged or improperly installed, it may let gas fumes leak into your HVAC system.
Faulty spark plugs will also make your car less fuel-efficient. If you have basic car repair knowledge, you can replace your own spark plugs. The plugs themselves are relatively cheap as well.
Broken EVAP System/Charcoal Canister
Your car’s EVAP system directs some engine fumes to a charcoal-filled tank for extra filtration before they are released. This reduces the levels of harmful chemicals in your car’s exhaust.
The EVAP system could make your car smell like gas in two ways: the charcoal canister could be cracked, or the valve that controls fume release could be broken.
Gas Leaks in Tank or Fuel Lines
A gas leak is the most dangerous possible reason your car smells like gas. If the fuel leaking out of your car finds an ignition source, your vehicle could go up in flames.
The fuel lines carry gas from the tank to your engine. They are visible underneath the car, and if you’re handy you can patch them yourself.
A leaky fuel tank is a much bigger problem. If you catch the leak early, a mechanic will be able to patch it, but a big hole will necessitate a new fuel tank. That could run you upwards of $1000.
Car Smells Like Gas? Turn to the Pros
If your car smells like gas it could mean big trouble. You might be able to fix it yourself, but it’s always a good idea to seek professional help.
In a perfect world, you would take care of any car issues before something bad happened on the road. The world isn’t perfect, so if you need roadside assistance, Dugger Services is here to help. Whether you need a tire change, new battery, or fuel delivery, they can come to you to get you back on the road.