Gas Smell In Car: Possible Causes and What To Do

Your car smells like gas, and you don’t know if driving is safe?

You can drive a car with a gas smell in its cabin if you notice 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, do not drive. Driving with a gas leak would endanger you and other road users. 

Gas smell in cars may be caused by refueling gas, gas leak, faulty evaporative emission control system, broken or loose spark plugs, gas cap, false O-ring, or punctured fuel tank.

Let’s go into details with me!

7 Possible Causes Gas Smell In Car

What cause gas smell in car and how to get rid of

1. Refueling Or Exposure To Gas Fumes

refuel may cause gas smell in car
Refueling or exposure to gas fumes may cause gas smell in car.

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. 

What to do?

If you suspect the gas smell is due to refueling, you no need to do anything. The gas smell will fade naturally after a few days. 

2. 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. 

What to do?

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: 

3. 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. 

What to do?

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. 

You also can diagnose the problem yourself with an OBDII Scanner for car owners and DIYers.

Autel OBD2 Scanner

Autel OBD2 Scanner 

4. 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.

What to do?

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)

5. 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. 

What to do?

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

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

6. 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. 

What to do?

If the 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

7. 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. 

What to do?

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 Gas Smell Out Of Car?

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. 

What You’ll Need

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Vacuum and clean inside the car with interior cleaners and a microfiber cloth.

Step 2: Spray the air freshener directly into the outer vents to eliminate the smell.

Step 3: Leave an odor eliminator.

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

If you don’t have odor eliminators, you can buy them below:

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

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. 

Inspect problems with an OBDII Scanner before coming to a mechanic or do it yourself.

Autel OBD2 Scanner

Autel OBD2 Scanner 

Sum up

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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