Each time we fuel up our vehicles, we get a little whiff of gasoline, so the smell is very familiar. There shouldn’t be any gasoline smell in or around your vehicle when you are away from the gas station. When you do smell gasoline away from the gas pump, the cause ranges from something simple to something that can be very dangerous.
Let’s start with the simple causes. It could be a loose or faulty gas cap, or you might be missing one entirely. You may also have a leak in the fuel tank vent hose. These are relatively straightforward things to repair. By the way, because your vehicle has fans that draw in outside air, you may be able to smell these outside fuel leaks inside the cabin.
Here are some other possible sources of a gasoline smell. You may have a leak in your fuel tank, and these are more common than you might think. Fuel tanks can rot or get punctured by road debris. The tank can be fixed or replaced.
The fuel lines can also deteriorate or be damaged by road debris. Vehicles with fuel injectors have high pressure in their fuel lines, so any small holes or leaks can allow vaporized gasoline to escape, sometimes near hot engine parts. Obviously, this is something that a technician should repair as soon as possible.
Another couple of causes? A leak near a fuel injector can also allow small amounts of gasoline to escape. A technician can replace the seals or O-rings if they have deteriorated. Also, you could have gasoline leaking out of your vehicle’s charcoal canister, which is a device that prevents evaporating gasoline vapors inside your fuel tank from venting out to the atmosphere. This will often cause the Check Engine light to illuminate.
Gasoline fumes and leaks can be dangerous for a couple of reasons: they could be a fire hazard and inhaling fumes can cause health problems. It’s always wise to get fuel leaks checked out at your NAPA AutoCare Center as soon as you can.