Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It but Goes Away

A common issue drivers may have is that their car smells like gas when they first start the engine. This gas smells then goes away soon after. What is causing this issue and how to fix it? Why does your car smell like gas when you start it but then the smell of gas goes away?

The cause of this issue is normally a gas leakage in the car. The leakage can come from a broken part in the engine compartment, the fuel injector, the gas tank, or the evaporative emission system.

You should not take this lightly as gas is flammable and could cause a fire. So when you smell gas after starting your car – even if the smell goes away after you start driving – you must always have your car checked to determine the gas leak source.

In this article, we’ll look at these 6 possible reasons for the car smelling like gas:

  1. Gas Exposure
  2. Damaged Fuel Pipes
  3. Gas Cap Problems
  4. Leaking Fuel Injector
  5. Leaking Gas Tank
  6. Leaking Charcoal Canister

To fix this issue, you should take your car to a mechanic. The mechanic can inspect any broken or cracked parts where the gas might be leaking.

Read on to learn more about why your car smells like gas when you start it and the solution for this issue.

Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It but Goes Away

The smell of gas in your vehicle indicates a leak somewhere under your car’s hood. Since gas is flammable, it could easily catch fire; so you have to find out where that gas smell comes from before accidents happen.

Once you have traced the source, you should immediately deal with it to prevent further leakage and consequent injury. A gas leak can ignite if it is ignored.

Possible Causes and Solutions of Car Smelling Like Gas When It Starts

1. Gas Exposure

If you smell gas that disappears, your car’s exposure to gas may be the reason. This incident can happen when you have stopped by a gas station to refuel. 

In this case, as you start driving, the smell dissipates as the wind blows more when you gather speed. You have to observe afterward if you still smell gas. Even when you didn’t go near a gas station, expect a gas leak. A gas leak is somewhere in the bowels of your vehicle. You have to find it fast.

To fix this problem, after filling your gas tank, open your vehicle’s window to let air in and drive the gas smell away. You may opt to drive with your windows open to get rid of the gas smell.

You could also spray some air freshener to counter the smell. The odor would go away quickly if the cause is only gas exposure. If the smell doesn’t go away, you can expect any of the reasons below.

my car smells like gas when i start it

2. Damaged Fuel Pipes

Damaged fuel pipes will leak gas. This leak could occur in the lines between the engine and the fuel tank. It would be best if you looked underneath the car for gas drips. Sometimes, you may not find the drops because the leak may be small, and the gas has evaporated quickly. 

To fix this problem, replace the leaking pipe or line. Take your vehicle to your chosen shop for a proper replacement.

3. Gas Cap Problems

Find out if your gas cap is worn, cracked, or missing. This problem is one of the most common causes of gas smells. If the cap’s crack is minor, it could give off a gas smell before starting your car that gradually goes away as soon as you speed up. However, the gas odor will remain and will not completely disappear, especially if the cracked part is significant. 

If the gas cap is missing, nothing will hold the gas inside the tank, so it will spill outward when the car moves. This mishap is dangerous and could cause the gas to splash all over the car’s parts. When the temperature rises, the heat could ignite the car’s interior into flames.

To fix this problem, replace the broken, missing, or worn-out gas cap. For this task, you can do it yourself with suitable instruments. Remove the old cap and replace it with the new one. 

4. Leaking Fuel Injector

Fuel injectors inject a combination of fuel and air into the vehicle. The ratio of these two substances must be correct. When the fuel is excessively proportional to the amount of air, the injector will release some gas into the exhaust. You will know that your fuel injector is leaking when you smell gas when the engine is idling, such as during traffic stops or as you prepare to drive.

To fix this problem, replace the fuel injector with a new one. Take your vehicle to your motor shop and let a certified car mechanic do the job for you.

Broken or damaged O-ring or rubber seals could cause leaking injectors. The O-ring seal is located at the injector’s top, while the rubber seal is found at the injector’s bottom. The leaked gas would spread to the various parts of the injection system.

Another possible solution is to replace the damaged seals with new ones. Please note that you don’t have to replace the entire injector system. Let a certified mechanic do it if you don’t have sufficient experience.

5. Leaking Gas Tank 

A leak from your gas tank is dangerous as the tank may completely break and spill its content into your car. The gas tank may be punctured or old. You have to enlist a car mechanic’s home services because driving the vehicle anywhere may cause combustion, as gasoline is highly flammable.

To fix this problem, call in a mechanic to perform repairs or replacements, as the case may be. Don’t attempt to do it if you’re not proficient enough to know your car’s components. The gas tank is full of gasoline that could explode.

You could also remove the tank and take it to a reliable mechanic to fix the leaks. You could replace it totally when the damage is too severe to repair.

6. Leaking Charcoal Canister

The canister performs essential functions, such as collecting excess gas vapor from the fuel tank and catching charcoal. When your canister breaks or leaks, you will smell gas in your car. This occurrence could turn on your check engine light. Look into it immediately as the damage can worsen and cause explosions.

To fix this problem, check your canister and replace it if it’s broken or leaking. A mechanic can do this safely for you. 

We have answered the following questions: “My car smells like gas when I start it but goes away” and “The inside of car smells like gas”. Let’s now look at how to prevent these issues.

inside of car smells like gas

Inside of Car Smells like Gas – How to Prevent this Issue

1. Follow Your Vehicle’s Servicing Schedules

You have to follow your vehicle’s servicing schedules, albeit it has no problems. You can prevent major damages from occurring by detecting minor damages as early as possible. You can only do this when you take your vehicle to the shop regularly. A once-a-month visit can be quite expensive, but it could prevent expensive costs on major repairs later on.

Brand new vehicles require fewer visits to the shop, but you could do it every six months or so, or whenever necessary. Don’t wait for six months if you notice that something is not quite right in your car such as if the inside of car smells like gas.

2. Inspect Your Vehicle Daily

Just as you have to clean your car daily, you also have to inspect its parts every day. Check the oil, the gas, the filter, and visually go over the essential parts under the hood, and peek underneath the car. If you notice something amiss, take your vehicle to the motor shop and consult a reliable mechanic. Look for leaks or damages.

3. Don’t Push the Vehicle Too Hard

Allow your car to rest. It’s a machine, but it still needs to rest like you. Working the car too hard can cause the engine to overheat and the parts and subject them to wear and tear frequently. You must familiarize yourself with your vehicle to know when you have to slow down and when you can rev up.

4. Clean Your Car Regularly

“My car smells like gas when I start it,” dirty car parts can increase the risk of breaking or cracking, leading to leakage, which is maybe why you experience this particular issue. Wipe off those excess oil or gas that has dripped into other parts of your vehicle. Eliminate rust or corrosion in any portion of your car as soon as you notice them. Unattended rust and corrosion could exacerbate and damage your car parts. The damaged part would then leak gas out of its system.

Symptoms of a Gas Leak in the Car

1. Smell of Gasoline

Gasoline smell is the most common symptom of a gas leak. You can smell gasoline inside the car or near it. Unless you’re near a gas station or other vehicles, the gas smell is, most likely, coming from your vehicle.

Often the car smells like gas when started, but goes away after you start driving. The reason why you can smell the gas only when you start the car is because fuel leaks out when the car starts up. Once you start driving the gas smell dissipates.

2. Engine Lights Goes On

Most cars would give a warning signal on the dashboard when a leak is detected in your vehicle. The engine lights would turn on, or a warning device would go off.

3. Drops of Gas Underneath the Vehicle

If you notice a drip from your car, this could indicate a leak somewhere. The leak could come from the fuel pipes or from the gas tank itself. You will have to examine the car thoroughly to find out what is dripping from your vehicle.

4. Damp Ground Where the Vehicle Parked

Sometimes when the leak is minor, the fluid would evaporate quickly but would leave a telltale clue on the ground where you parked your car – a damp ground. If you notice this occurs every time you park your vehicle in a particular area, you should take your vehicle for a complete examination. There must be a gas leak somewhere.

5. Vehicle’s Reduced Performance

You will notice your engine’s reduced performance. The engine would heat up quickly, and it has difficulty during long trips.  

6. Engine’s Abrupt Stoppage

Some instances could occur when the engine would stop abruptly and the fuel low, although you knew you should have filled up the gas tank enough for the trip. 

7. Driver’s and Passenger’s Physical Symptoms

It’s not only the car that has symptoms. The car‘s driver and the passengers could also experience some physical symptoms. If you are exposed to the gas leak and inhaled a substantial amount of the vapor, you may experience headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, eye irritation, and dyspnea (difficulty breathing).

How Much Does It Cost for a Car Leak Repair?

The cost would depend on what part of your car is leaking. If it’s a simple repair like fixing a leaking fuel line, this service would cost $60 to $120. If replacements of the piston ring, gasket, hose, or other vital engine parts, these services could cost between $200 and $1,000. This price includes the labor services.

You can do minor repairs like replacing the gas cap, but it would be best to let a competent mechanic do the job for you.

Conclusion – The Inside of My Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It

My car smells like gas when I start it but goes away – what causes this issue? The cause of this issue is normally a gas leakage in the car. The leakage can come from a broken part in the engine compartment, the fuel injector, the gas tank, or the evaporative emission system.

6 possible reasons for the car smelling like gas are as follows:

  1. Gas Exposure
  2. Damaged Fuel Pipes
  3. Gas Cap Problems
  4. Leaking Fuel Injector
  5. Leaking Gas Tank
  6. Leaking Charcoal Canister

Any gas smell from a car signifies gas leakage. The leakage can come from the parts under your hood, such as a broken part in the engine compartment or from the fuel injector, the gas tank, or the fuel pipes. 

To fix this issue, you should take your car to be examined by a professional mechanic.

You have to determine that the smell doesn’t come from any leakage from your car. The leaked gas could combust and cause a fire as gas is a volatile substance. This mishap could cause damage to your vehicle and could even injure you. So, take your car to the motor shop for a complete check-up to ensure your safety and that of your car.