If you smell gas this could be a sign of a gas leak

You should never have a gas smell in your vehicle. If you smell gas this could be a sign of a gas leak.

You should never have a gas smell in your vehicle.  If you smell gas this could be a sign of a gas leak.

A gas leak can be dangerous to drive with because it is flammable and it creates a slick surface for other drivers.

A gas leak can cause an explosion or fire if the vapors come into contact with a heat source. This heat source can be something simple as a small spark or a hot surface. If this happens, the gas may ignite putting the passengers of the vehicle and other objects around the car in danger.

You could smell gas from many sources but here are the most common ones:

  • Injector leak
  • Fuel tank leak
  • Fuel line leak
  • Faulty canister
  • Missing gas cap

It really doesn’t matter what is causing the gasoline smell in your car. If you start smelling fuel have it fixed.  If the fuel leak is near the engine or exhaust, it could result in a fire.  The fuel liquid is not the danger, the danger is the fumes, you see, liquid gasoline does not burn; the fumes are what catch fire.

You could also set off codes. P0093 Fuel System Large Leak Detected:

Potential causes for this DTC include:

Fuel injector failure Fuel line common rail leak Fuel pressure sensor malfunction Fuel pump or lift pump failure Fuel heater constantly on Fuel temperature sensor failure Leaks at any point in the high pressure circuit Electrical connector corrosion or seating problems Fuel pressure regulator malfunction Fuel filter plugged dropping the fuel line volume Injector pump leak Fuel control actuator failure Cascade overflow valve malfunction. Short in the electrical harness at the injectors or to the ECM Fuel pressure limiting valve ECM failure.

Fuel Injector Leak
Fuel Injector Leak

Injector leak:

It’s rare to see an injector leak. The most common cause of the fuel leak is the injector rubber o-ring or seal.  Each injector has a rubber seal at the bottom and has an o-ring at the top. These o-rings and seals dry out and eventually crack. Once the o-ring or seal cracks, the fix is just a matter of replacing the damaged seal or o-ring. There is no need to replace the injector if it is still working properly.

If you have an injector seal or o-ring leaking because of old age, I highly recommend replacing all the o-rings and seals. If the fuel leak was caused by improper installation of an injector, just replace the damaged o-ring or seal.

When you suspect you have a fuel injector leaking, open your hood and inspect the fuel rail where the injector are located.  Have the engine running and take a look, if you have a fuel leak, you will definitely smell it, and it will be wet with fuel around the injector that has the problem.

Fuel tank leak
Fuel tank leak

Fuel Tank leak:

I would have to say that a fuel tank leak is probably the most common fuel leak of all.  There are many reasons for a fuel tank to leak, anything from a rotted tank to a punctured tank.  If a fuel tank has a leak, it will usually leave a spot on the pavement where you car is parked, this is a potential danger because people who smoke cigarettes like to throw them out the car window, this could potentially ignite the fuel dripping from the tank.

It’s usually pretty easy to identify a fuel tank leaking, just crawl under the vehicle, and look for wet spots or stains on the fuel tank.  Sometime a fuel tank will leak at the top because moisture and debris get trapped on the top of the tank and it rarely dries out, this causes the tank to rot and eventually leak.  If you have a fuel tank that is leaking, it’s best to completely repair it or replace it.

You may not think you could have a gasoline smell in car if it’s coming from the fuel tank. The fumes travel under the vehicle and enter every crack and crevice.  If your fan is on inside your vehicle, the fumes will be sucked in from the fresh air intake, and will cause a potent fuel smell.

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Fuel line leak:

Fuel lines travel under the vehicle from the fuel tank to the engine, it is very common to have a crushed or rotted fuel line because there is not much protection from road debris and the elements. There are also rubber fuel lines that could potentially leak from old age.

Any vehicle that has fuel injection will have high pressure in the fuel lines. Fuel pressures can run anywhere from 35 psi to 60 psi, if there happens to be a weak line or fitting, fuel will spray out of the line causing a mist or a vapor which is extremely dangerous, especially if near the exhaust or engine. If the fuel line is spraying a mist, the gasoline smell in car will be extremely pungent which could cause nausea or headaches, breathing fuel smells is not good for your health and is very damaging to the brain.

If you think you may have a fuel line leak. Follow the fuel line from the tank to engine, if the vehicle is fuel injected, the line will probably be dripping and will be easy to find. Having a professional repair the fuel line is a good idea. If you have any other problems, the mechanic will be responsible for repairing it.

Faulty canister
Faulty canister

Faulty Charcoal Canister:

Most people don’t even know what a charcoal canister is in a vehicle, never mind what it does.  The canister is a plastic container filled with charcoal. Excessive fuel vapors from the fuel tank are purged through the charcoal canister to reduce emissions.

If the charcoal canister has a crack in it or is leaking through a faulty vent or seal, the result will be a fuel smell and possibly a check engine light DTC. Older vehicles had the charcoal canister located near the front of the vehicle, often in the engine compartment. Since the mid 2000’s, car manufactures  locate them closer to the fuel tank along with a plethora of other emission control devices.

If the charcoal canister did have a problem, most likely the check engine light would illuminate and set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC). Have the codes checked if the light is on..  It will usually point you in the right direction on what’s causing the problem.

Missing gas cap
Missing gas cap

Missing or Damaged Gas Cap:

A loose or missing gas cap can cause a fuel smell in your vehicle. You could find a faulty gas cap. A faulty gas cap can also cause the check engine light to illuminate. Your vehicle performs this self test to check for leaks in the fuel system. If the vacuum test is performed and does not pass, the check engine light will illuminate and set a DTC.

Common sense will go a long way if you have a gasoline smell in your car. A small gas leak that would cost a couple hundred dollars.

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Smell Gas in Car When Using Fan:

Whenever you are running the fan inside your car, you are taking in outside air. If you have a fuel leak, the vapors will be sucked into the passengers compartment through the fresh air intake. The intake for the blower motor is located at the bottom of the windshield near where the wipers sit.

There is one way to temporarily stop fumes from entering the vehicle when using the fan. You can use the recirculation button on the climate control, which will recalculate the cabin air and stop the air from being drawn in from outside.  I don’t recommend using this function for long periods, because it will eventually cause the windows to fog. Using the air conditioner while in recirculation mode should prevent fogging.

Gasoline Fuel
Gasoline Fuel

 

So always remember, It really doesn’t matter what is causing the gasoline smell in your car. You just need to have it fixed as soon as you start smelling fuel.   Drive Safe !

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