10 Reasons Why Your Car Smell Like Gas – How To Solve

19. 8 Reasons Why Your Car Smell Like Gas1
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“What causes the smell of gas inside a car?” is a question I hear almost every day. A gas leak might make sense as the most likely cause; but more often than not, the cause is unburnt gasses leaking from the engine or exhaust in places where most people would never even think of looking. Here are five possibilities worth checking out.

Why Does The Inside Of My Car Smell Like Gas?

The smell of gas is so annoying and can be dangerous. There are a lot of different reasons why your car might smell like gas.

The short answer is that a part of your car is faulty. Unfortunately, there are dozens of parts that come in contact with fuel at some point.

Gasoline is the fuel that your car uses to drive. You pump in liquid gas and the engine does some magic to turn it into an explosive vapor. It uses controlled explosions to move your car and get you from point A to point B.

You might not care about how your car works, but this quick explanation will help you to understand where your problem is. Any step of this fuel-exploding process can have a problem. The gas vapor that should be turned into fuel is creeping out somewhere, and that’s why you smell gas inside your car.

Finding the problem area takes a little bit of troubleshooting. If you want to find the problem yourself, it will help save some time and money at the car shop. It might even save a trip altogether if the solution is easy enough.

Reasons Why Your Car Smell Like Gas

Exposure To Gas Fumes

One of the most common reasons that you may smell gas in your car is that your vehicle has been exposed to gas fumes. For instance, if you’ve recently parked your car at a busy gas station, gas fumes can easily make their way into your vehicle and may linger for a period of time.

Similarly, if you’ve recently spilled gas near or in your car, the odor may stay in your automobile for a bit of time. Understand, however, that if your car is exposed to gas fumes, the aroma of gasoline should eventually fade. If the smell doesn’t leave your car after a bit of time, then it’s likely that you’re dealing with a much more serious issue.

You Have An Old Car

Cars built before the mid-’80s might smell like gas when you start them up and shut them off because of the technology they used in the carburetor and float bowl. On top of that, those older cars typically don’t have a robust evaporative-emissions system built in.

In this case, there’s nothing you or a mechanic can do to fix the problem. As long as the faint gas smell goes away after a few minutes, there’s nothing to worry about.

Broken Canister

Canister is a plastic component to catch charcoal. Canister also collects excess vapor going out from the fuel tank to minimize emission exiting the system. If the canister leaks or cracks through its damaged vent or seal, you will smell a strong gas fume in your car. That can make the check engine light turned on, and the car smells like gas but no leaks.

If you have a broken canister, your car will release the fuel vapors, and you can easily smell it from the inside of the automobile. There might be engine light turning on as well. Another common way to troubleshoot this issue is the pinging sound. If your car has the cracked charcoal canister, it will decrease performance and smell stronger emissions than normal. The only fixing of this problem is to replace the canister. Yet this is a hard task so we recommend taking your automobile to the mechanic store.

19. 8 Reasons Why Your Car Smell Like Gas2

Loose Spark Plugs

The spark plugs play an essential role in delivering the spark igniting the fuel-air mixture to start your vehicle. If spark plugs are loose, the O-ring seal can leak fumes from the fuel combustion chamber next to the ventilation system. That’s how the gas smell reaches your cabin.

You can inspect the spark plugs or have a mechanic do it for you. If you see oil on your spark plugs, make sure to resolve the oil leak before replacing them. If it’s been a while since you performed DIY car care and checked them, it may be time for a tune-up. You will require a wrench to tighten the spark plugs appropriately.

Note that spark plugs should not be too tight. If you can’t tell whether your spark plugs are too tight, have a mechanic check them for you.

A Leak In Your Fuel System

A gas leak is a very serious issue that may cause you to smell gasoline while you’re driving your car. Gas leaks can occur almost anywhere in your gas system, which can sometimes make them hard to detect. Generally, however, the best way to determine if you’re dealing with a gas leak is to check for gas puddles under your vehicle.

The location of the leak will determine when you smell gas. For example, if the leak is in your fuel injection line, you’re likely to smell gas while you’re driving and right after you’ve stopped driving. In some cases, the vent hose connected to your fuel tank will leak, which will cause gas vapor to leak out of your fuel system.

Gas leaks can be very dangerous, as gas puddles under your car can easily catch on fire. If you suspect there is a gas leak in your system, you should have it repaired as soon as possible to protect yourself and your car.

Problems With Your Fuel Pressure Regulator

Issues with your fuel pressure regulator may also cause you to smell gas while you’re driving your car. When your fuel pressure regulator goes bad, it will interfere with your fuel mixture and cause it to either be too thin or too rich, and when the fuel mixture is off, it causes your engine to burn gas excessively.

If your engine is burning too much gas, it will increase the amount of gas fumes coming out of your exhaust. When there are more gas fumes coming out of your exhaust, it’s possible that these fumes will make their way into your ventilation system, which is why you would smell gas inside of your car. In addition to the odor of gasoline, decreased fuel efficiency and engine power are also signs of a bad fuel pressure regulator.

Smelling gas while you’re driving your car can be a major issue with a number of causes. If you smell gas in your car, make sure to visit a qualified service professional right away.

Malfunctioning Fuel Tank & Evap System

There’s one more way the smell of gasoline could enter the cabin from your car: if your vehicle’s gas cap isn’t sealing properly, gasoline fumes may leave via the fuel filler. What’s more, modern cars have special EVAP systems designed to recapture gasoline fumes in the fuel tank so they can be burned in the engine, rather than vented to the atmosphere. If either of these items suffer a problem a smell of gasoline could result.

Gasoline fumes aren’t something to leave to chance or ignore, so head to Capitol Toyota for an expert repair if you smell gasoline coming from your car.

A Gas Leak

If you have a gas leak, you will definitely notice a fuel smell in your car. It was mentioned earlier, but your car pumps gas from one end to the other. You can have a gas leak anywhere along this process.

The first indicator that you have a gas leak is that your fuel gauge is dipping much faster. If your fuel level goes down overnight, that’s a pretty clear sign that you have a fuel leak.

You can also idle your car for a little bit and see if you notice a multicolored puddle under your car. Checking your car after it sits overnight should also result in a puddle under the car if there’s a fuel leak.

The leak could be coming from your injector, fuel tank, fuel line, or injection line. A way to tell if it’s a fuel leak versus a gas leak is to smell the mixture coming out. Oil spills will have a fainter smell of gas than a gas leak. Take your car to the shop and let them know that you have a gas leak.

Faulty Charcoal Canister

The last thing it might be is a faulty charcoal canister. This is another part of your evaporative-emissions control system in your car. This canister is filled with charcoal, and fuel vapors are stored here before being sent to the engine to be burned.

A cracked canister lets the fuel vapors release, and you will probably be able to smell it from the inside of your car. If your check engine light is on, this could be a sign of a faulty charcoal canister.

If you hear a pinging sound, have reduced performance, or smell stronger emissions than usual, that could point to your charcoal canister. The replacement is tricky, and you should take your car to your mechanic.

Exterior Gas Spill

Last but certainly not least, exterior gas spill. This means that you have gas splashed on the car recently. The good news is that there is no gas leak anywhere. When is the last time you fill your gas tank? If it is just recently, roll the windows down and drive normally. If the smell is still there, then it is not an exterior gas spill.

The right way to fix this is to use old towels with the purpose of soaking up as much of the gas as you can. Car owners can mix baking soda, white vinegar as well as hot water. Then, rub the mixture in the spilled area in order to neutralize the odor.

Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It But It Goes Away

If you only smell gas when you first start your car, then you’re most likely dealing with a gas leak somewhere in or around your vehicle. This may be coming from the engine itself, the fuel line or the exhaust system where gas emissions evaporate.

Is It Safe To Keep Driving If I Smell Gas?

In most cases, no it isn’t. Some of the simpler problems won’t lead to your car exploding or catching fire, but there’s no way to tell how serious the problem is until you troubleshoot it.

Simply breathing in gas fumes can make you sick, and in extreme cases, it can kill you. It’s always best to check for a leak as soon as you possibly can, and get the car fixed immediately afterward.

How To Prevent The Smell Of Gas In Cars?

They say prevention is better than cure, and this phrase applies precisely in the case of gas smells. Proper car care and maintenance will help you prevent most of the causes of a gas smell in your car.

It is recommended to service your vehicle after every 12,000 miles. This process will catch problems before they become expensive repairs.


Gasoline smell is not only unpleasant, but it can also indicate more significant problems for your vehicle. Therefore, it is essential to know why my car smells like gas and fix the issue as soon as possible. I hope this guide will help you pinpoint the problem and apply the proper fix.

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