Blog Car Care Advice Car Leaking Gas: 5 Urgent Causes + Is it Safe to Drive?
Car Care Advice

Car Leaking Gas: 5 Urgent Causes + Is it Safe to Drive?

Looking for a mechanic near you for maintenance or repair? AutoNation Mobile Service brings the shop to you. Get a free instant quote today.
Get a Quote

Are you getting a strong gas smell or noticing gasoline puddles under your car?
Well, it could be a gas leak — and that’s a ticking time bomb which should be addressed ASAP!

But what causes your car to leak gas?

Keep reading to find out how you can prevent potential hazards by spotting a gas leak before it’s too late, why your car is leaking gas, and if you can drive with one.

This Article Contains:

6 Warning Signs of a Car Leaking Gas

If you suspect a fuel leak, you’ll notice a few tell-tale symptoms, like:

  1. A strong gasoline car smell 
  2. Gasoline puddles underneath the car
  3. Unexpected drop in the fuel gauge
  4. Hard starts
  5. Rough idle
  6. Excessive fuel consumption

Now that you know the symptoms of a gas leak, let’s find out why your car is leaking fuel. 

5 Key Causes of Car Leaking Gas

From a bad gas cap to fuel system issues, here are a few reasons that can make your fuel gauge needle go from ‘Full’ to ‘Empty’ quickly: 

1. Damaged Fuel Tank

A damaged fuel tank is one of the most common causes of fuel leaks. 

How does it happen?
Over time, the walls of the fuel tank may thin out, leading to cracks or holes. This may be due to weather conditions like rain or physical impacts like a car accident.

If you live in an area with frequent snow and rain, parts of the undercarriage, such as the fuel tank and suspension system, will likely rust faster. This may result in corrosion, which is usually fixed easily. 

But if you spot large fluid puddles underneath your car, you may have a big fuel tank leak. 

Note: Transmission fluid, engine oil, power steering fluid, and brake fluid can also puddle underneath your car. Gasoline puddles are typically clear with a thin consistency and have a distinct fuel smell. 

2. Loose or Damaged Gas Cap

The gas cap seals the fuel filler and keeps the gasoline (fuel vapor) from leaking out.

A loose or damaged gas cap that can’t tighten properly will let the gas fumes escape from the fuel system. It can even turn the check engine light on. Fuel cap issues in heavy-duty vehicles are also a Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance issue. 

To avoid such problems, you should change your gas cap every 100,000 miles.

3. Fuel Line Leaks

The fuel lines transport fuel from the tank straight to the engine for combustion. 

Cracks, holes, or loose connections in the fuel line can drip fuel onto the ground or the engine compartment. This poses a vehicle fire hazard and even damages the engine. 

4. Faulty Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors can get clogged by dirt and debris that get past a dirty fuel filter

But that’s not all. 

The rubber seal at the bottom of the fuel injector or the O-ring on top can also crack over time. Improper installation of fuel injectors can also damage the seals and o-rings and cause fuel leaks. 

So, if your mechanic finds your fuel injectors to be the culprit, they’ll clean the fuel filter and replace any worn parts. 

5. Damaged Fuel Pump

A fuel pump with cracks, a leaky fuel hose, or seal problems is a recipe for a gas leak.

What does a fuel pump do?
A fuel pump applies pressure and draws fuel up through a line to ensure a consistent flow to the engine for proper combustion and vehicle operation.

Other symptoms of fuel pump damage are engine misfires, an increase in engine temperature, and engine sputtering. 

Wondering if you can drive with a gas leak?
Let’s find out.

Is it Safe to Drive a Car that Smells like Gas?

No, driving with a fuel leak is extremely dangerous, even if you can start and drive your car. 

Even small drops of flammable fuel can land on hot parts of the vehicle, like the engine, and potentially ignite. Plus, gasoline fumes contain nearly 150 chemicals, including benzene and lead, which are hazardous to your health.

That’s why you should consult a mechanic as soon as possible.
But how much will it cost you?

How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Fuel Leak?

Various issues, such as a damaged gas cap or a fuel line, can lead to gas leaks. That’s why the repair cost usually depends on the part that needs to be fixed. 

Here are the replacement estimates of various components that cause fuel leaks:

Get Your Gas Leaks Fixed by AutoNation Mobile Services

Your car can leak gas due to a couple of issues, like a cracked fuel tank, loose gas cap, or a damaged fuel line. Still, no matter the cause, it’s never safe to drive around with a fuel leak. 

That’s why you should contact expert mobile mechanics at AutoNation Mobile Service when you spot a gas leak. 

We’re a mobile auto repair and maintenance service available seven days a week. We offer upfront pricing, convenient online booking, and a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on all repairs.

Get in touch with us, and we’ll fix your gas leaks and other issues right in your driveway.