Identifying and Handling a Car Gas Leak Problem

If your car has a gas leak problem, you need to get it taken care of as soon as possible. Like the human body, a modern car is made up of a complex network of systems and parts that depend on each other to get the car moving. Without a properly working fuel system, you will be wasting money and taking a chance that your car might stop running permanently. Here are a few questions you should be asking if you suspect that your car has a gas leak.

What are Some of the Common Causes of a Gas Leak?

There are several places where gas can be leaking from or releasing a strong smell of gas. The most common place for a leak is from either the tank, the fuel pump, or one of the fuel lines. With those spots, the cause is most likely corrosion or a worn out seal or gasket. Auto repairs of this type are not terribly expensive, so it is best you get them taken care of right away before the problem becomes worse. A common, inexpensive problem that can cause a noticeable gas smell is a faulty gas tank cap. In most cases, you can probably take care of it yourself by replacing the old cap with a new one. Exhaust leaks can also create a strong gas smell in and out of your car. Exhaust problems usually have to do with some form of corrosion, too, and generally get more expensive to fix the longer you wait.

How Serious is a Car Gas Leak Problem?

The severity of your problem depends on where the leak is located and how bad it is. A leak in the engine, motor compartment, or over the exhaust pipes can be dangerous because those places get very hot, and enough heat and gas can start a fire. A steady drip on the road and gas pooling in the driveway can be a serious problem, too. All it takes is one spark to ignite the gas, and things such as a cigarette tossed out of a car window or a piece of metal scraping on the road can make that happen. Even if the only evidence you have of a problem is a strong gas odor, you should take your car to an auto repair shop as soon as possible. If you are lucky, the problem will be minor and if not, you will have saved yourself from a potentially dangerous situation. Remember, should your car ever catch fire, do not try to fight it by yourself. One out of three injuries that occur during car fires are caused when the victim(s) or others try to stop the fire without the help of emergency personnel.

Can You Keep Driving Your Car?

If the leak is from the top of your gas tank, you can kind of cheat and still drive your car without having it fixed by only filling the tank part way. However, the problem may get worse later on and become more expensive repair. The best thing to do when dealing with a gas leak or strong odor of gas, no matter where you think it is coming from, is to make an appointment to bring your car to an auto repair center. If the gas is leaking in an area that gets hot or is dripping steadily on the roadway and pooling under your car, stop driving it immediately and have a tow truck take it to the auto repair shop. There is one car fire every 96 seconds in the U.S.; do not let that car be yours.

Can You Repair the Problem Yourself?

If you have enough auto repair knowledge, you could probably replace your own car’s fuel lines or worn out seals and gaskets. It is not something you should attempt, though, if your level of experience only includes things such as changing a tire and checking your car’s fluids. The vast amount of information available on the Internet is amazing, but you could cause more damage instead of fixing the problem using do-it-yourself articles or videos without the experience to back it up. If the problem is your gas cap, you can take care of that yourself most of the time. All other gas leak issues should be left to a professional mechanic to repair.
A liquid gas leak is not the only thing you should worry about. Gas fumes can endanger your safety as well. If enough fumes accumulate in an enclosed space such as your garage, something as simple as a spark from static electricity can ignite the fumes and any gas in the area could continue to fuel the fire. Fumes can also make you sick. Short-term effects include dizziness, nausea, and headaches, which can cause accidents if severe enough. Frequent prolonged exposure to gas fumes has been shown to cause long-term effects such as cancer and nervous system damage. Saving money is not the only thing you should think of when deciding to repair your car. For the health and safety of yourself, your family, your friends, and everyone else you share the road with, take your car to an auto repair center as soon as possible if you have a gas leak.