Updated date:

5 Common Reasons for the Smell of Gas Inside a Car

Eddie spent 35 years in the automotive business with Honda. He is an ASE Certified Master Technician and has bruised knuckles to prove it.

Do You Have a Gas Smell Inside Your Car?

"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.

1. The Oil Cap's O-Ring or Gasket

A very common place for a fume leak from the engine, which is very easy to overlook, is the O-ring or gasket under the oil cap. I find this quite often and it's only a $5 repair. It's a very easy diagnosis, taking about 15 seconds, to determine if this could possibly be the source of your fuel smell. Here’s what to check;

  • Open the hood and look at the area around the oil cap, if you notice oil and debris collecting on the valve cover just below the oil cap, most likely the o-ring is worn out and is leaking, causing fumes from the engine, which "smell like gas” to leak out and be drawn into the HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) fresh air intake located directly below the windshield.
  • Inspect the o-ring for any damage or missing parts. If it looks flat, you may need to just replace it with a new one found at any local auto parts store.
  • Check the oil cap for cracks, if you see any cracks, replace the entire oil cap. It may be a little difficult to get the right one because there are so many different sizes. If your local auto parts store doesn’t have one you could try the dealership or salvage yard.

Leaking Oil Cap O-Rings

Fumes leaking from the oil cap o-ring causing a gas smell inside the car.

Fumes leaking from the oil cap o-ring causing a gas smell inside the car.

This oil cap o-ring is flattened and needs to be replaced.

This oil cap o-ring is flattened and needs to be replaced.

2. Loose Spark Plugs Can Cause a Gas Smell

How about them spark plugs? If the spark plugs are not tightened to the proper torque, the crush washer or sealing ring could be leaking fumes from the combustion chamber into the engine compartment right next to—you guessed it—the HVAC fresh air intake, drawing the fumes directly into your vehicles passengers cabin. Here’s what to check;

  • First check to see if all the spark plug wires or coils are in good shape. Remove each one from the spark plugs one at a time, so you don’t mix up the order they are in.
  • If all the spark plug wires and coils look OK, check the torque on the spark plugs. If you don’t have a torque wrench, try this method. Back out the spark plug a little so you can turn the plug by hand. Now tighten the spark plug until it bottoms out by hand. Use a ratchet and socket to tighten the spark plug a quarter turn or until it's snug. A quarter turn would be for example turning the ratchet handle from the 3 o’clock position to 6 o’clock.
  • Check each spark plug one by one until you have tightened each one to the proper torque.

Loose or Broken Spark Plugs Can Allow Gas Fumes to Escape

These are the crush/sealing washers that stop fumes from leaking out of the combustion chamber. If a spark plug is loose, you could get a gas smell inside the car.

These are the crush/sealing washers that stop fumes from leaking out of the combustion chamber. If a spark plug is loose, you could get a gas smell inside the car.

3. Leaking Oil Can Also Cause A Gas Smell

What about oil leaks? Do you have used motor oil leaking out of the engine by an old gasket? Is it weeping down the side of the motor? Maybe it’s dripping onto the hot exhaust system? Used motor oil from inside the engine has unburnt fuel mixed into it, so if it’s leaking out of the motor and onto hot components, it could be the source of your fuel smell. What to check;

  • Open the hood and use a flashlight to look for any dark oily wet spots on the engine.
  • Valve cover gaskets are notorious for leaks. They sit at the top of the engine and absorb the most heat, which causes them to fail sooner then most gaskets. Also they sit right above the exhaust manifold which is the hottest section of the exhaust system. Inspect this area closely for any drips going down the back side of the engine.
  • Look for any smoke coming off the engine when it’s hot. Smoke coming off a hot engine is a good sign there is an underlying oil leak that you cannot see. To find a small leak, you may need to bring the car to your local mechanic. Have them clean the oil off the engine and then add a fluorescent dye to the oil. This dye will glow green when a special UV flashlight is used to inspect the leak area.

Dripping Motor Oil On A Hot Exhaust Manifold

The exhaust manifold is located right under the valve cover gasket. If this gasket fails, oil will drip onto the exhaust and cause a gas smell inside the car.

The exhaust manifold is located right under the valve cover gasket. If this gasket fails, oil will drip onto the exhaust and cause a gas smell inside the car.

Leaking oil on the back side of the motor can smell like a gas leak when the engine gets hot.

Leaking oil on the back side of the motor can smell like a gas leak when the engine gets hot.

4. Exhaust Fumes With Unburnt Gas May Cause Your Smell

Exhaust leaks are another common fuel smell that gets drawn into the passengers compartment via the HVAC fresh air intake, especially if the exhaust leak is close to the engine and before the catalytic converter. An exhaust leak before the catalytic converter can have a pungent fuel smell, because the exhaust includes a lot of unburnt gasses before the converter cleans them out of the system on the way to the tail pipe.

  • Listen for a louder-than-normal exhaust noise, if you accelerate and the engine sounds loud or different, you could have an exhaust leak.
  • Listen for a ticking noise when accelerating. If the exhaust leak is close to the engine, the exhaust leak will make a loud ticking noise like someone tapping on a pie plate, if you hear this type of noise on acceleration, have your mechanic check your exhaust manifold for leaks.
  • If you think you may have an exhaust leak but are not sure, try placing a doubled-up towel over the tailpipe and put your hand over the towel to stop the exhaust from exiting the tailpipe. If you don't feel the pressure building up at the towel, most likely you have a leak somewhere in the exhaust. If you have dual exhaust pipes, you may need an assistant to help block the other tail pipe at the same time.

Ticking Noise From An Exhaust Leak

Leaks In The Exhaust Can Smell Like A Gas Leak

Any leaks in an exhaust system can smell like a gas leak, especially if the leak is before the catalytic converter.

Any leaks in an exhaust system can smell like a gas leak, especially if the leak is before the catalytic converter.

5. Is Your Oil Cap Missing?

How about a missing oil cap? If the oil cap is left off by accident, not only would the smell be unpleasant, but the fumes would be toxic and could literally kill you if the carbon monoxide levels got too high. And the mess a missing cap causes is very difficult to clean up without an engine degreaser. If you just had an oil change or someone just topped off your oil, and you smell gas inside your car, stop and check the oil cap, it could save you from a big mess. What to check:

  • Open the hood and check to see if your oil cap is missing.
  • If the cap is missing, look around for it in the engine area. Most of the time when someone removes the oil cap, they will set it down on top of the valve cover, and if they forget it, it often falls into the engine compartment. If the cap is gone, replace it. Don’t drive the car without it because that will sling oil all over the inside of the engine compartment.

Missing Oil Cap, Check The Engine Compartment

A missing oil cap can cause a huge mess and also cause a gas smell.

A missing oil cap can cause a huge mess and also cause a gas smell.

What Causes a Gas Smell Inside Your Car?

Gas smells don’t have to be complicated repairs; that’s why the problems mentioned here are overlooked so often. When a customer complains of a fuel smell, the first thing their mechanic will look for is a fuel leak. Or they may say, “You must be smelling the exhaust from the car in front of you.” If you smell fuel or gas while driving, check the items listed in this article, if everything looks OK, leave a question in the comment box below and I will get back to you.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: My car is leaking gas and it has troubles starting up, I can smell the gas very strong. do you think it's a failed fuel pump?

Answer: You'll need to find the fuel leak first and fix it. This is probably why your car is starting hard; it's losing fuel pressure.

Question: Why am I smelling gas when I turn my car on in the morning?

Answer: I recommend checking the oil cap for any signs of leakage, if everything looks ok, have a mechanic check it out asap to be on the safe side, gas leaks can be very dangerous.

Question: Suzuki Vitara 99, starts smelling like burnt gas or something like kerosene only when we exceed the 50 mph mark. Could my Suzuki Vitara be leaking or something worse?

Answer: You may be smelling exhaust fumes entering the passengers compartment. I recommend checking the vehicle for any exhaust leaks first or any rust holes in the body where exhaust fumes could enter.

Question: My 1994 Suzuki Sidekick has had trouble starting for years. The only way that I can get it to start is to pump the gas. Recently, when I pump the gas to start it, smoke comes out of the tailpipe and I smell gas in the cab of the car. It has a manual transmission and over 150k miles on it. What is happening?

Answer: I think your engine is getting tired or it may need a good tune-up. If you have not done any basic maintenance like spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor cap and rotor, engine air filter, etc., I recommend you start with replacing these items and see if the engine starts any easier.

Question: Why is my car struggling to start when I am trying to turn it on? It has no power.

Answer: If the battery doesn't have enough power to turn the engine over easily, it's possible you just need a new battery. I recommend having someone test your battery and replace it as needed.

Do you have questions?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 24, 2020:

Hi Willy,

Sorry for the late reply. I'm not sure about your question. You should never smell fuel in your vehicle and if you do you should have it checked ASAP, you may consider towing it just to be safe!

Willy on August 18, 2020:

How must i wait after starting a jetta 5 2008 tdi model i mean minutes before i can hit the road.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 16, 2020:

Hi Heather,

I think what you're smelling is the exhaust fumes coming back into the car when the windows are down a little. I recommend you have the code pulled to see what might be the problem, most auto parts stores will pull the code for free.

Heather6384 on July 16, 2020:

I have a 2008 Sentra spec v. The only time I smell gas is when I’m driving doesn’t matter the speed but I only smell it when I roll the window down about an inch or two if you roll it down more or roll it up you can’t smell it. I have walked all around the car and can not smell it running or turned off. My exhaust smells rich and I have check engine light one with an O2 code which has been on way before this started happening. Months before all this started I had the catalytic converter and O2 sensors changed trying to fix the light but it’s still on.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 06, 2020:

Hi Peggy,

The fuel smell could come from a lot of sources and it sounds like the source is close to the engine because the fumes are coming into the passenger's compartment via the fresh air intake (HVAC system). A possible cause is a leak in the exhaust system, but I recommend you have it looked at asap just to be safe, if it happens to be a fuel leak that has developed, you should have it repaired before you drive the vehicle. Do you smell fuel when the engine is off when walking around the car or under the hood?

Peggy Sue Jones on July 05, 2020:

Hello. My fiance complained she smelled gas when we were in my 2013 Chevy Captiva a few days ago. Since that time, we've both noticed it and have determined the smell is present only when braking to a slower stopping speed while the ac is on. The smell goes away when resuming higher speeds. I've never noticed that smell before with the heat on and this is a recent development.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 27, 2020:

Hi Donnie,

I HIGHLY recommend you have the car towed to a garage to check for a fuel leak. If the fuel smell is that bad, just starting the engine could ignite the fumes. Be safe and tow it. Keep me posted on what they find, thanks.

Donnie on May 26, 2020:

I have a strong gas smell in my car and underneath what do i need too do?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 24, 2020:

Hi Obed,

If you turn on the heat with no AC do you still smell it? Does the car exhaust sound normal or is the engine louder than normal, like maybe an exhaust leak near the engine? If you're outside the car or you open the hood with the engine running do you smell fuel?

Obed on May 20, 2020:


I have a 2008 Kia Sportage 2.0L LX.

When I turn the ac on, and accelerate, I smell a foul gas inside. When the ac is off, this does not happen.

Any suggestions?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 17, 2020:

Hi Jennifer,

When you turn the key to the aux (run) not start, it sends power to the fuel pump and it will pressurize the system. If you're smelling fuel when your key is in the run position I highly recommend you have the car towed to a garage to have it diagnosed, it's better to be safe. Let me know what they find, thanks.

Jennifer L Herndon on March 15, 2020:

Hi. I have a 2003 Mercedes. It was running great until 4 days ago. I was driving and noticed an intense " Gas Smell " inside the car as if it was coming from everywhere! Got the old girl home, jumped out ( yeah was scared lol ) and immediately noticed the remaining gas coming out from somewhere underneath my car.

If I even turn the key ( not all the way to start but turn key as if to not start car just to listen to music, bam the gas smell flies on out terribly. I now am afraid of the car. Four days ago it ran like a new car. So sad

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 11, 2020:

Hi Ash,

How does the fuel cap gasket look? Maybe try a new gas cap first, it's a cheap quick test.

ash on February 09, 2020:

i smell gas from the back seat inside my car mean under passenger seat and outside left side of the back of my car where the gas filling door located...but i cant find any leak or a drop of gas ??? any other reason please

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 17, 2020:

Hi Kim,

The first thing you should do is check all the possible causes I outline in the article and video and if you don't find the cause of the leak after checking these items you'll need to have a mechanic check it for the possible causes. Wish I could help you more, keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

kim blum on January 16, 2020:

I have a 2003 Chevy impala. I a getting a bad gas smell while driving and when starting it in the inside of the vehicle. Please help!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 07, 2020:

Hi Danielle,

In the article, it describes a lot more causes for a fuel smell. I recommend you investigate the 5 common reasons for a fuel smell and see if you find the problem. It sounds like you have a leak somewhere so I don't recommend you drive it until you figure out the smell or have it towed to a garage to have it diagnosed, fuel leaks are very dangerous. Let me know if you have more questions.

DanielleMathews on January 05, 2020:

My 2001 Subaru Outback smells like fuel in the cabin while off. When I start it, the smell fades. Checked fuel lines and all were tight. Any ideas?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 03, 2020:

Hi Ali,

What is the year, make, model, and mileage of the vehicle? Is the check engine light on? Do you know the code? Does the car drive at all? The engine oil should smell like exhaust and fuel because of combustion but should not have fuel mixed with it.

Ali on January 01, 2020:

My car have starting problem engion oil smells fuel and exhaust also smells fuel what is the problem ?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on November 29, 2019:

Hi Latasha,

You need to have the car towed back to the garage at the mechanic's expense and do not run the vehicle to avoid a fire. It sounds like they may not have tightened something properly. Keep me posted on what they find, thanks.

Latasha on November 27, 2019:

This guy at the car dealership put a new fuse box and fuel pump on my car and now am smell gas through my vent and outside

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on November 27, 2019:

Hi Angie,

Anytime you smell fuel coming from a vehicle it can be very dangerous. Liquid fuel doesn't burn, it's the vapor, and what you smell is fuel vapor so even a small spark from anything could ignite the vapors. I always recommend having the vehicle towed just to be safe. Keep me posted when you find out what's wrong.

AngieKia72 on November 26, 2019:

Kia 2004 Sorento smell strong skunky gasoline smell when i walk out to my car every morning from a good distance-no leak- is it dangerous?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on November 26, 2019:

Hi Pat,

A fuel smell doesn't necessarily mean you have a fuel leak, an oil leak or exhaust leak can also smell like fuel because there's raw fuel in both. I recommend you degrease the engine if there is any oil still on the engine from your leak and see if the problem persists. let me know if this helps.

Pat on November 25, 2019:

My car started running rough so bf checked the plugs and they were worn out and one of them was filled with oil. He put a new gasket on Cylinder 4 and put in new plugs. It still isn't running bad but when I put on the heater it smells of gas. It has been to two mechanics and one gave up because he couldn't find the reason after doing smoke test. The other mechanic changed the orings on a fuel injector but it still smells when I turn on the heater. Today I could even smell oil.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on November 01, 2019:

Hi Julia,

I recommend you have it repaired asap, it could be just the oil filter gasket, quick easy fix. let me know what you decide to do.

Julia on October 29, 2019:

I figured out its oil its leaking from the part where u change the oil. Idk if its the whole part or maybe the gasket. The color of the leak is like a dark brown color.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on October 29, 2019:

Hi Julia,

I highly recommend you don't even start the engine if you think it's gas. I recommend you have it towed to a shop to have it checked out. Starting the engine could ignite the fuel instantly and cause serious damage or death.

Julia on October 28, 2019:

Today when i got home i noticed a really strong gas smell. I have a chevy malibu 2005. Under the front it drips idk if its oil or gas. Also i filled up my tank and i wasted way more than it should have just to drive back to the house. So maybe its gas but im not sure.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on October 24, 2019:

Hi Annette,

When do you smell it? Do you only smell it running or not? Same geographical area( home, work, driving)? When you smell it, are you near natural gas lines?

Annette on October 24, 2019:

My car recently has haf an order of like natural gas...not gasoline order coming from the engine area. ..do you have any idea of why?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on October 15, 2019:

Hi Allen,

I recommend you check everything I point out in the video and article to pinpoint the problem.

Allen Castro on October 12, 2019:

I smell the gas fumes after starting the car for a while

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 30, 2019:

Hi Lisa,

You need to have that checked ASAP, if there is a fuel leak, you could be putting yourself in danger every time you turn the key. Most likely the fuel leak in under the hood. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

Lisa on September 30, 2019:

I own and drive a Toyota Yaris 2010 Model 4 door sedan. I've been driving it for 7 years. Some months ago I began getting gas fumes in the cabin. I usually warm up the car before driving or when the "cool" light comes off. I only smell it after 10 mins of driving, then its intermittent after that. I drive with the windows down all the time. I hardly use the AC because of the fumes.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 26, 2019:

Hi Dawn,

Sorry for the late reply. I recommend you leave the car overnight at your mechanics shop so they can test it in the morning. I have a feeling that you may have an exhaust leak near the engine and when the exhaust heats up the metal expands and the leak seals off until the engine is cool again. Let me know if this helps

Dawn on September 19, 2019:

My 2013 Cheve Equinox Ls 4 cylinder smells like gas and exhaust fumes when you first start it. It goes away after a couple minutes. Had my car dealership check it and they said everything checked out. The exhaust had no leaks. I used my car starter this morning and when I got into it about 8 minutes later it smelled so bad like gas that I had to role down all the windows.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 18, 2019:

Hi RK,

What year is the Civic?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on September 18, 2019:

Hi Erin,

So sorry for the late reply. Tow it back to the dealer if you didn't yet, this is very dangerous and the vehicle shouldn't be driven or even started. Most likely a fuel line is the culprit, it's possible a line was damaged when a mechanic hoisted the car on the lift.

rk on September 18, 2019:


I have a Honda civic EX-L auto transmission. i feel that when i run at more than 100 speed. its give some smell near dashboard and there is also some mild voice near stearing. can you guide me what is possible causes?

Erin Glover on September 13, 2019:

Hi Eddie,

Yesterday I bought a 2009 Mercedes CLS 550. I drove 15 miles, then put 15 gallons of gas in it. I drove another 10 miles, and parked in my attached garage. Within an hour, my whole house smelled like gasoline. (The air-conditioning unit is in the garage.) Today, there is a strong gasoline smell coming through the car's air-conditioning. Also, there's a 12-inch diameter puddle of gasoline under the car, in the rear of the driver's side. It's starting and running fine. Any idea what's wrong with it? Is it safe to drive back to the dealer?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 21, 2019:

Hi Ben,

Bring it back, they most likely forgot to tighten something like an exhaust tube or install the gasket. Keep me posted on what you find.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on August 21, 2019:

Hi Ashley,

If the smell is still there, call the place that did the work and have it towed back, they may have left something loose and is leaking which could cause a fire. If they say drive it back, tell them you don't feel safe driving it with this smell. Keep me posted on what you find, thanks.

Ashley on August 18, 2019:

I just had my water pump amd thermostat fixed on my 2003 subura forester and now i have a strong order of gas inside the car...

Ben on August 18, 2019:

Mechanic just changed egr valve and now i smell gas thru ac?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 24, 2019:

Hi Tom,

I recommend you check the gas tank for any fuel stains. Fuel dries quick and sometimes it never reaches the ground. It's possible you have a small leak near the top of the tank that you can't see.

Tom on July 24, 2019:

I have a 2000 Chevy S10 that is giving off a gas smell on the drivers side. After a little inspection I replaced my gas cap as the o-ring was dried up. However I am still smelling gas in the same area with no puddles underneath my truck.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on July 02, 2019:

Hi Rob,

What is the year make and model?

Rob on July 02, 2019:

I'm getting a gas smell only after I hold above 2000+ rpms. Once I idle back down smell will eventually go away.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on June 19, 2019:

Hi Christine,

If the engine has a long crank time, usually that is caused by the fuel leaking back into the tank or a leak in the line. I recommend checking the top of the fuel tank for any hard to see leaks near the pump.

Christine on June 16, 2019:

I have an 04 Chevy Trailblazer and recently it has started to smell like gas inside the vehicle and now the last 2 days it takes a bit to start if it has been sitting for a while. I have had every thing checked and nothing is leaking so I'm stumped on what the problem could be next without paying a fortune for another mechanic.

Any advice would be super helpful.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on June 12, 2019:

Hi Danielle,

If you just paid a mechanic to fix the leak a few weeks ago I highly recommend you bring it back and let them know it's still leaking, it's possible the forgot to tighten something or pinched a gasket. Let me know you decide to do, and keep me posted on what they find, thanks.

Danielle on June 05, 2019:

My 2004 pontatic gram am i smell gas in the inside of the car i just paid a mechanic to fix a gasket week a few months ago but i popped the hood and i still see wet stains near the gasket sometimes it stalls when starting and these past three days now i smell the gas smell inside the car. Please help!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on May 13, 2019:

Hi Eddie,

You need to have the car towed because it is unsafe to drive, it could catch fire instantly. Have a professional fix your vehicle, you'll thank me later.

Eddie on May 09, 2019:


There is a smell inside of my car so i took sometimes tracing the smell only to find that when i open the back seat were there is a fuel tank with the outlet nd inlet pipes i saw a leakage how can i stopped that leakage for now nd what is that called so i can buy whenever im having money

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 21, 2019:

Hi Tyler,

When you drive with the windows down, air is drawn in from outside through any opening in the vehicle, not just the windows, so if your exhaust smells like raw fuel it's possible the catalytic converter is not working properly and as the exhaust exits the tailpipe it's being drawn back into the passengers compartment. If you don't smell fuel with the windows up and the fresh air on with the HVAC system, the most likely cause is the ladder.

Tyler on April 16, 2019:

I have changed my oil cap. I have checked my fuel lines. No leak ive replaced everything but my injectors. And fuel rail and regulator.

I did notice I have a leak but that is from my rad.

Inside my engine smells like raw fuel. What could be the problem? Only smell it when driving with windows down.

Ps no exhaust leak.

98 civic

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 09, 2019:

Hi Nick,

If you don't notice any leaks under the vehicle then you probably don't have a fuel leak.

If the exhaust leak is near the engine, it's possible you are smelling the fumes from the exhaust entering the cabin from the HVAC fresh air intake near the bottom of the windshield.

Leaks in the exhaust manifold can cause a ticking noise on acceleration and a strong smell of gas because the leak is before the catalytic converter.

If you want to check for any fuel leaks, you'll need to use a flashlight and follow the fuel lines from the tank to the fuel rail on the engine. If you check these areas with the engine running you will be able to find leaks if there are any.

Let me know if you have any other questions, thanks.

Nicholas on April 08, 2019:

Hi eddie,

I drive a chevy blazer ( around 1999 or 2000 i think), i know the car has a small exahst leak, which my dad told me when i got it is fine and not to worry about it, and has a ticking sound and a loud engine, but only resently did i start noticing a fairly strong smell of gas inside the car while driving, but is not present on the outside of the car. Also when my car reaches above 45 mph i can hear what sounds like fluid being spat out of somewere, but from what i can tell there is no visable puddles or leakage under the car after i park or leave it parked for some time. From what i can tell there is no visable leakage under the hood and all my fluid levels look as if theve had no noticable changes.

I should mention that my gas gage does not work so i can not tell how much gas i have or if theres been any drastice changes in is use. Also some time ago i had an insident were i accidently overfilled my car and lots of gas leaked from the gas tank, from what i can tell tho it had no real effect on car( as far as i know) and had no lengering gas smell nor any initial performance issues afterwords. That was months ago and the gas smell has only arisen about a day ago as of the time i am typing this, so i dont know if its related.

I have a very limitted understanding about cars and my only real assumption is that the "small" exahst leak is no longer small and has gotten worse. But i dont know.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on April 02, 2019:

Hi Craig,

Are you sure you're not smelling the new leather materials or solvents they used to repair your car?

Craig on March 27, 2019:

I smell gasoline when i get in the car, the smell disappears once I start the car, AC on and drives for few minutes. I recently have my headliner changed and car seat upholstery fixed with faux leather materials. The gasoline smells started right after the upholstery was done. There’s no warning light also to indicate any leaks. Take note I just recently did the regular service at the dealership.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 21, 2019:

Thanks Becca :)

Becca on March 20, 2019:

***** Article gets five stars!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 12, 2019:

Hi Brenda,

It's possible you have a leak in the top of your fuel tank and when you fill it the fumes get pushed out the top of the tank.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 12, 2019:

You're welcome Zukile. Let me know if you have any questions :)

Brenda on March 10, 2019:

when I put gas in my 97 park avenue it makes gas fumes come in the car when driven. Why is that?

Zukile on March 08, 2019:

Wou, that's so informative. Thanks Eddie

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 04, 2019:

Hi Marlo,

Have you checked everything I talked about in the article and video?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on March 04, 2019:

Hi Christian,

Is the check engine light on?

Christian on March 03, 2019:

My car Toyota Rav 2005 starts smelling gas when the engine idling is going up and down. From 1k to below 500 rpm. And there are time the engine dies.

Sometimes turning the engine off, then on after a few seconds brings it back to normal.

I am sureot sure what to do? I tried bringing it to Toyata service center but the issue is recurring.

marlo on March 01, 2019:

my year 200 toyata yaris with a 1300 vvti engine it starts drives ok but am getting a gas fume smell inside and its burning the gas badly what you think could be the cause

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 28, 2019:

Hi Davide,

What type of smell is it? Like something died or a gas smell? Whatever it is it would be coming in from the fresh air intake as you said. When the recirculation button is on you don't smell it because you're recirculating the cabin air.

Davide on February 26, 2019:

Hey Eddie

Even if my AC/fan is off, when i get to around 60km/h a smell comes through the vents, like I said, even if everything is off. I had the guys disinfect the system and replace the pollen filter (their recommendation).

I smell it constantly when the fan is on, but not when the AC is on (and cabin circulation is on).

Any ideas what it could be, i thought since it comes through even when everything is off, i figure it must be somewhere by the intake? or a leak of sorts?


Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 25, 2019:

Hi Sabina,

I haven't had that complaint yet in our shop. If you can reproduce the issue, the best thing for you to do is to ask the shop foreman or tech to go for a test drive with you so you can point out the smell. This would be the fastest way to diagnose the problem. You may need to insist on a road test with the tech or foreman so dig your heal in a little :)

Sabina on February 22, 2019:

I have a 2017 Honda Pilot with 22,000km. Just after using the AWD in snow mode going up a steep hill, we noticed a strong pungent smell coming through the heat vents while idling. It continues to happen when idling after stressing the engine (ie driving on the highway). We have taken it to the shop but they couldn't duplicate the issue. I don't think they even took it for a drive.the smell is sort of like propane but it has a sour smell and makes your eyes water. Any idea what this could be?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 18, 2019:

Hi Suganthy,

If a rodent has died in your vehicle, I recommend checking inside the blower motor assembly and behind interior plastic panels, sometimes they crawl behind the body panes inside the car, get stuck and dye.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 18, 2019:

Hi Sara,

I know my videos are slow and boring but it would most likely be one of the 5 problems I mention or a fuel leak. Hope this helps.

Sara on February 18, 2019:

my 03 Chrysler sebring has a gas smell coming through when I turn the car on. what could it be?

Suganthy James on February 17, 2019:

My car smells odder like carbon monoxide.. two passengers vomited after travelling in my car including my mum she is 87yrs. I gave my Nissan XTrail to agent to check they think may be rat went inside. Still keeping the car to find the rat. But i doubted something else. Pls advice me.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 06, 2019:

Hi Pretty,

Do you see any leaks or drips on the ground where you park? Does the engine have to be running to smell gas inside the car? Do you smell gas outside the car?

Pretty on February 04, 2019:

I am driving a vw polo classic it smell gas inside especially when the tank is full. What might be the cause?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on February 02, 2019:

So most likely the problem is close to the engine compartment.

I have a 2011 Chev Equinox on January 31, 2019:

I smell gas when I turn on my heater

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 27, 2019:

Hi Jose,

Are you absolutely sure it was gas? If so, you probably had an open in the fresh air intake tube causing a backdraft which sucked some of the fuel back into the intake tube. The engine must have backfired through the intake and ignited the raw fuel.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 27, 2019:

Hi Aliyu,

I recommend you start by checking everything I talk about in the article and video.

Aliyu on January 26, 2019:

Am using toyota carina e 1997 model and is consuming more fuel and also smeeling fuel inside the car when engine is hot.

What can cause it

Jose Aleman on January 23, 2019:

My Girlfriend has a 1999 Toyota 4 Runner .When she got to work on her 4 runner she turned off her car.Like 15 minutes or so later she turned on her 4 runner truck.What really was the odd thing about her turning back on her 4 runner was that on startup a loud noise came from the hood area.To come to find out that the air filter was on fire and noticed that the boom sound cause the air filter cap had fluw opened.When i removed the air filter there was a puddle of gas inside the air filter compartment why ?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 07, 2019:

Hi Oren,

Have you ever took a flashlight and inspected the engine compartment during startup? It's possible you may see, hear, or smell something if you look closely. Do you have any exhaust leaks near the engine? Did you replace the exhaust or intake manifold?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 07, 2019:

Hi Chasidy,

Did he clean up all the oil that dripped on the engine? It could just be the residual oil that got on the engine or exhaust burning off.

Chasidy Wall on January 04, 2019:

My boyfriend just changed the oil and rotated the tires on our 99 mustang, now there is strong gas fumes coming from the right front side, what could be the problem?

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on January 03, 2019:

Hi Ian,

If the exhaust system has any doughnut gaskets or flexible flanges with spring bolt, they would be the most likely cause. I really wouldn't worry too much tho because you are pushing the car hard and some parts are bound to slightly fail, unless you have upgraded to extreme high performance parts. Hope this helps.

Oren on January 03, 2019:

I have a 2012 altima and smell gas sometimes. I replaced the manifold last summer tho and still smell gas somtimes specially in the morning while warming it up

Ian G on January 02, 2019:

Hi Eddie,

I have a highly tuned 2017 Passat R-line. It has a bespoke exhaust system. When the car hits high revs there is an exhaust smell in the car. We have checked and find no evidence of a leak, and there is no smell when driving normally. There are new gaskets and a new exhaust system including a down pipe from the upgraded turbo.

i suspect the following:

Engine movement creating a gap

Back vacuum


Turbo burning the cat

we can not find any signs of soot or a leak, and it only happens at high revs. Where would you start? Thanks

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 27, 2018:

Hi J,

Something is dumping fumes into the engine compartment and someone will have to use their noise to find it, it sounds silly but true. Has anyone tried blocking the purge control solenoid line off in the engine compartment?

If you smell it at idle, it shouldn't be impossible to find. Are there any oil leaks anywhere? Where is the canister located? if it is close to the firewall, I recommend checking that out as well. Keep me posted, thanks.

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 27, 2018:

Hi Anchrite,

If you're smelling gas when the car has been sitting and it's on the inside of the vehicle, most likely you have a fuel leak under the vehicle or it is close to the fresh air intake near the bottom of the windshield. I recommend having the vehicle checked out closely for any fuel lines leaking in the engine compartment, if it all checks out good, I recommend checking the other fuel lines coming from the gas tank.

MazdaJ on December 17, 2018:

Hello. Have a 2008 Mazda3 w/ low miles. Fuel odor comes thru vents on fresh air intake upon idling. The odor dissipates on driving, but returns w/ stops, traffic, etc. No odor when re-circulated air is used. Spark plugs were changed in July. Odor began after a long drive (300+ miles) in Sept. The car drives/runs well, but fuel efficiency has decreased slightly. Has been inspected by Mazda mechanics several times, now. No answers and no sign of leaks. Spark plugs, fuel rail, fuel line, exhaust, and fuel injectors all inspected w/ no issues or leaks found. Oil cap seals well. Had the o-ring seals on fuel injectors replaced which did not fix the problem. Mazda mechanics and family friend mechanic are all at a loss on what to do. Any suggestions? Thanks! -J

anchrite on December 15, 2018:

Hi Eddie,

I have a 2013 Tiguan. Today I felt the gas smell after I stopped the engine and park the car for a while, like 1 hour. Also in the morning, when I opened the door, a very strong gas smell in the cabin. But I cannot feel the smell after starting the engine and driving.


Joey on December 15, 2018:

Hello! Have a 2008 Mazda 3, low miles. Started to smell "fuel" two months ago with vents on fresh air when idling. Odor largely dissipates on driving, but not so much during traffic/city driving. No odor if using recirculated air, but this cannot be done in the winter. Odor began after a 300+ mile drive about 2 months ago. New spark plugs installed just last summer. Has been examined by Mazda mechanics at length, several times now. No issues w/ oil cap, spark plugs, fuel injectors, fuel rail, or fuel line. No visible leaks, residue, or signs of exhaust leaks. Car starts and runs just fine, however fuel efficiency has decreased a bit. Replacing o-ring seals on fuel injectors did not fix fuel odor issue. Mazda mechanics are at a loss. The only thing they offer at this point is replacing fuel rail/injectors, but can't guarantee it will fix odor issue. Help! Do you have any suggestions? Any help is much appreciated! Thanks!

Eddie Carrara (author) from New Hampshire on December 12, 2018:

Hi Jana,

Possible rotted fuel line that just let go? Any signs of leaks under the truck?

Related Articles