Car Smells Like Gas But No Leaks? This Is Why

By October 12, 2018Repair
neon sign that says free smells

Most people recognize the pungent smell of fuel very quickly. For many people the first thing they look for is fuel dripping under the car. So what do you do when you see no drips?

What are reasons my car smells like gas with no visible leak?

Even without seeing fuel visibly leaking from your car, if you have a fuel smell, you have a fuel leak somewhere. Usually the cause of a leak is a worn or damaged part, or due to an engine that is not running properly.

Over time, the rubber hoses and rubber diaphragm in your vehicle’s valves will wear out and may allow a small amount of fuel past. Fuel evaporates very quickly, so a small leak can have a big smell but no visible signs of a leak. One place we see this very frequently are fuel hoses in Subaru engine bays.

car leaking gas

If you have a fuel smell, you have a fuel leak somewhere

Also, an engine that is not running properly may produce a fuel smell. If you notice your engine does not seem to run as smoothly or your check engine light comes on with your fuel smell, then the smell is likely from the engine running poorly.

Something to remember: on some engines the hoses will shrink when cold and allow a small amount of fuel past. You will often only experience this on cold days, and as soon as the engine is warmed up the fuel smell will dissipate.

How serious is a fuel leak? Is it a safety concern?

A fuel smell is always cause for concern. Whether or not you see raw fuel, the smell is an indication there is a leak somewhere. Fuel is highly flammable and the smallest spark could be enough to start a big fire.

What are some other symptoms drivers can look out for that might accompany the smell of a gas leak?

If you experience a fuel smell there are a few things to take a look at. The first is, of course, is to check for signs of a fuel leak. Take a look under the car. Do you see any spots, or anything dripping?

Again, always look out for a check engine light. The check engine light could indicate a evaporative emissions leak, or a running problem. Regardless of what other symptoms you see/experience, you should not wait to have a fuel smell inspected.

How can Alexander’s fix this problem?

Here at Alexander’s, we have experience with many car problems, including fuel smells. As with any issue, our first step is to identify to source of the smell. If there is raw fuel leaking it will evaporate, but leave a trail. The trail can be hard to see, but our trained technicians know what to look for and where to look. Once the problem is identified we can repair the problem, whether it is an evaporative emissions problem, fuel line problem, or running problem.

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