Things to Know if You Smell Gas Inside Your Vehicle - Service Questions at Capitol Chevrolet

There are certain places where you should expect the smell of gasoline--like a gas station, for instance. The cabin of your Chevrolet car, truck, or SUV, however, is not one of these places. The smell of gasoline as you're driving could mean trouble for your vehicle. On this page, we'll go through four of the main reasons your car may have the scent of gas. Whether it's the smell of gas or any other problem with your vehicle, we recommend contacting an authorized Chevrolet dealership to schedule a service appointment.

A leaking gas tank may cause a gasoline smell--and it could make you run out of gas 

4. Gas Leak

When people smell gasoline in their car, this is often the first problem they think of. One of the more likely places for a leak to exist is in the fuel tank itself. If this is the case, you may notice a puddle of rainbow-colored gasoline underneath the rear of your vehicle when you're parked. However, the fuel tank is only one place where a leak could develop. The gasoline gets from the tank to your engine by way of fuel lines, and one of these may be leaking. A technician will be able to pinpoint the location of the leak and replace the necessary part.

Though it may be a common cause of this smell, there are possibilities other than a fuel leak.

A loose or cracked spark plug could cause fuel vapors to enter the cabin through the HVAC intake 

3. Spark Plug Problems

The spark plugs in your vehicle are responsible for creating the spark that ignites the fuel-and-air mixture, creating combustion. This means that they're screwed directly into the combustion chamber. Ideally, the spark plugs will be screwed in tightly enough that none of this mixture will escape. However, a spark plug that's not tight enough may allow some of the fumes to exit the cylinder. The same thing can happen if the spark plug is cracked. When these fumes escape, they may move to the cabin by way of the HVAC intake.

2. EVAP System Problems

Fuel vapors pollute the air. To combat this, modern cars are equipped with an evaporative emissions control system, also known as an EVAP system. The EVAP system captures gasoline vapors inside a canister that's filled with charcoal. When a purge valve in the canister opens, the fumes are sent to the engine where they're burned up. However, a problem with the EVAP system could allow these fuel vapors to escape, causing your car to smell like gasoline. This could be anything from a cracked charcoal canister to a shorted valve circuit. In any case, an EVAP system problem will also likely cause the check engine light to turn on.

A loose gas cap is an easy fix 

1. Trouble with the Gas Cap

We've saved the best news for last. There's a possibility that the smell in your car is due to nothing more serious than a loose, damaged, or missing gas cap. This cap seals gasoline vapors into your gas tank, so a cap that's not doing its job may stink up your car. A loose gas cap is the easiest to fix: simply screw it in tighter. However, even a cracked or missing gas cap is a quick and inexpensive fix: simply purchase a new gas cap. They don't cost much, and installation couldn't be simpler!