Gas Smell In Car: Causes And How To Fix

If you were at a gas station, you wouldn’t flinch if you inhaled some gas. But what if you catch the smell of gas while you drive?

Now, that could mean trouble for you. Despite being beneficial substances, gases are dangerous. They are highly flammable fluids, and inhaling gas could result in health challenges. It is common to feel queasy and lightheaded if you inhale the fumes for prolonged periods. If you are consistently experiencing a gas smell in your car, we are here to help.

This guide outlines some DYI procedures that’ll help you eliminate the gas smell in car interiors. We also highlight the seven (7) significant causes of gas leaks in a car. Finally, this article provides answers to several frequently asked questions about gas leaks. 

Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas?

One common reason your car smells like gas is that you accidentally spilled some gas in your car. However, few, if any, will be reading this article for that reason. If there is no gas spill that you are aware of, then there are seven reasons why your car may smell like gas. 

Refueling Or Exposure To Gas Fumes

This is one of the primary reasons why your car may smell like gas. If you have just got a refuel, the chances of you perceiving gas in your car are pretty high. Gas fumes have a way of sticking to materials, making their way into your car interior. If this is the case, the smell will fade away after some time. However, should the smell linger more than usual, you will have to consider the other possible causes on our list. 

How to fix it: If you suspect the gas smell is due to refueling, you should do it sometime. The gas smell will fade naturally after a few days. 

Gas Leak In Your Fuel System

Another possible source of the gas smell could be a leak in either your fuel injection line or your vent hose. The larger the gas puddles under your car, the more serious the leakage. If that is the case, you should have an automobile expert take a look at your car. Note that besides producing a highly unbearable smell, gas leakages are a serious fire hazard. 

How to fix it: Leaks in your fuel line can be fixed easily by a repair facility. Repairs of this nature typically cost between $60 – $120.

But, if you’d like to do it yourself, here’s a detailed video that can help: 

Faulty Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP)

It is common knowledge that gas fumes pollute the air and can make you feel sick. This is why some car companies add an evaporative emissions feature. The EVAP system features a canister containing charcoal that captures gasoline fumes and transports them to the engine to get burned. Having a broken canister or a faulty valve circuit will let the gas fumes escape. The result is the gas smell that you notice in your car. 

How to fix it: If your EVAP system is faulty, you need to visit your mechanic to get a new one. The cost of changing your EVAP system could fall between $200 to $600 or more. 

Broken Or Loose Spark Plugs

You might ask, “What do spark plugs have to do with gas smell?” Here is what you should know. Spark plugs are responsible for the spark in the combustion chamber. In simpler terms, spark plugs create combustion by igniting the fuel-and-air mixture. So for spark plugs to function properly, they have to be screwed in tightly. If they become loose or broken, you will have a gas smell in the car. Spark plugs are another place you should look when you notice a gas smell in a car.

How to fix it: If you notice your spark plugs are broken, you’d have to get new ones to replace them. But, if you see they’re just loose, you can solve the problem by tightening them a bit. You can take your vehicle to a mechanic to get the job done, Or you can save some money by doing it yourself. 

Here’s a detailed video on how to fix a loose spark plug: Spark Plug Replacement DIY (the ULTIMATE Guide)

Loose Or Missing Gas Cap

Perhaps, the cause of the gas smell in your car may not be as serious as you think. A simple loose or missing gas cap is enough to have your entire interior smelling of gas. If you notice a gas smell in a car, this is the first place you should look. You may have a missing, broken, or loose gas cap. Once discovered, all you need to do to fix the problem is tighten or replace the affected gas cap. 

How to fix it: If you notice that your gas cap is missing, you need a replacement. Gas replacements typically cost between $18 to $25. 

But if you have a loose gas cap, here’s how to fix it: 

Faulty O-ring/Oil Gasket

Faulty O-rings and oil gaskets are often overlooked problems that may cause a gas smell in your car. Fixing a faulty O-ring is not in any way expensive. However, the outcomes become dangerous if you leave the ring in bad condition for long. Suppose there are no other possible reasons why you smell gas in your car, then you may have to pop your hood and check the O-ring. If you notice oil leaks and dirt on the valve cover, then it is clear that your O-ring is old, leaking, and needs replacement. 

How to fix it: If your oil gasket leaks, your best bet is to replace it. Your local mechanic may charge between $100 to $300 as labor fees to get the work done. But if you’d like to do it yourself, you can get a new gasket pan range from $40 to $150.

Here’s a detailed video to help you replace it: How to Replace a Leaking Oil Pan Gasket in Your Car

Punctured Fuel Tank

Your fuel tank is a part of your car and is not immune to wear and tear. However, checking the condition of your fuel tank should be done sparingly and by a professional. You can tell that it is time to check your fuel tank if you notice any gas puddles under your car when parked or that you leave a trail of gas when driving. If you notice any of these signs, you should take your car to the mechanic for proper evaluation. 

How to fix it: You can take it out and get the punctured area welded for a punctured gas tank. But, if you’re looking at getting a complete replacement, you may spend between $1094 to $1160.

If you don’t want to weld your gas tank, this video will show you how to fix your tank without removing it: How to fix a leaking gas tank.

So far, we have covered seven reasons why your car smells like gas. Now, let’s see how to get rid of the smell.

How To Get Rid Of The Gas Smell in Car

VZee Odor Eliminator for Strong Odor

VZee Odor Eliminator

FunkAway Odor Eliminating Beads

FunkAway Odor Eliminator

Armor All Car Air Freshener and Cleaner

Amor All Air Freshener

Most times, you can get rid of a gas smell all by yourself. You should get professional help if the root cause of the gas smell has not been addressed. Once the root cause has been addressed, then this list of easy-to-follow steps will help restore the aroma of your car. 

Step #1: Prepare needed items: car vacuum, car interior cleaner, car air freshener, odor eliminator, microfiber cloth.

Step 2: Vacuum and using microfiber cloth to wash off the stains with car interior cleaner

Step 3 Spray the air freshener directly into the outer vents to eliminate the gas smell.

Step 4:  Leave an odor eliminator

Following the above steps carefully will help you get rid of the gas smell in your car with ease. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is It Safe To Drive A Car That Smells Like Gas?

You can drive a car that has a gas smell in its cabin if you notice that there is no gas leak. The problem could be as minor as a loose gas cap or as serious as a gas leak in your fuel injection system. If you have a gas leak and you notice it before getting into the car, do not drive. Driving with a gas leak would endanger you and other road users. 

Why Does My Car Smell Like Gas But No Leak?

The reasons for a gas smell could range from:

  • a loose/broken gas cap, 
  • a faulty EVAP system, 
  • exposure to gas fumes,
  • a broken/loose spark plug. 

First, confirm the source of the gas smell and get it fixed, or get a mechanic to look at it. 

Can Bad Spark Plugs Cause Gas Smell?

Yes, bad spark plugs can cause a gas smell. Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel-and-air mixture in the combustion chamber. When they get loose or break, gas fumes escape and leave the car smelling of gas. You should take cautionary looks at your spark plug and check if it is damaged or just loose. 

Will’ Check Engine Light’ Come On For Gas Leak?

Yes, your check engine light may come on if there is an EVAP leak. But this doesn’t occur for all vehicles. If your’ check engine’ light comes on after a tank refuel, it might be due to a missing or faulty gas gap. If at any point your’ check engine’ light comes on, do not ignore it. You might have a gas leak. 

Final Thought

The cause of the gas smell in a car could be nothing more than a missing gas cap. It could also be as serious as a gas leak in your fuel line. Either way, you should find out the cause and get it fixed. After you fix the problem, the smell might linger for some time. It would help if you got rid of the smell. 

Read more:

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