Things to Know if You Smell Gas Inside Your Vehicle - Service Information to Know from Hanson KIA

If you're filling up at a gas station, it's normal to smell gasoline. But at just about any other time, it may be a cause for concern. This is especially true if you're smelling gas inside the cabin of your vehicle. While one cause is relatively benign, the others require maintenance to address. We'll go over five potential reasons on this page, but don't hesitate to have your vehicle inspected if you smell the telltale scent of gasoline

Person tightening gas cap

5. Missing, Loose, or Cracked Gas Cap

The gas cap keeps gasoline vapors from escaping your fuel tank, so a cap that isn't working right may just be the source of the smell. This is about the best-case scenario for a gas smell. If the gas cap is loose, simply screwing it in tighter should get rid of the smell. If it's missing or cracked, you'll probably need to buy a new gas cap. Fortunately, these are inexpensive parts, and they don't require any sort of expert installation.

Person carrying fuel to their vehicle

4. Fuel Tank Leak

The fuel tank is where the gasoline sits as it waits to be pumped into the engine. If the tank has a crack or a puncture, it will probably begin to leak. The smell of gasoline in your car's cabin is only one of the symptoms that a leaking fuel tank will have. You may notice the leak on a gas gauge that drops faster than it should, or you may see a rainbow-colored puddle of gasoline on the ground under your vehicle. If the gas tank is leaking, a mechanic will have to remove it. Though it's sometimes possible to repair leaking fuel tanks, it may make more sense simply to replace it.

3. Fuel Line Leak

Even if the gas tank isn't leaking, there may be leaks elsewhere in the fuel delivery system that are causing the gas smell. If so, there's a chance that a fuel line is leaking. These hoses connect the fuel tank to the engine. It's possible for fuel hoses to become damaged by debris, but it may simply happen due to age. They're usually made of rubber, which can form cracks as it ages.

Spark plug installed

2. Cracked Charcoal Canister

If your car smells like gas, but there's no leak from the gas tank or fuel lines, it's time to turn to other possibilities. The charcoal canister is a key part of the EVAP (or evaporative emissions control) system in your vehicle. The EVAP system keeps gas vapors from entering the air by capturing them in a charcoal-filled canister. This canister then sends its stored vapors to the engine to be burned. However, a cracked canister can allow gas vapors to escape, which could stink up your car. In addition, any other kind of failure in the EVAP system could cause this smell. If so, it will likely turn on the check engine light, as well.

1. Loose or Cracked Spark Plugs

The spark plugs are screwed into your vehicle's combustion chamber, where they deliver the spark that burns the fuel-and-air mixture. If these spark plugs aren't screwed in tightly enough, some of the fumes from the combustion process could escape. Similarly, a cracked spark plug could also let the exhaust out. In either case, this escaped gas can be drawn into the HVAC intake, heading directly into the cabin.

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  1. Hanson Kia

    2300 Carriage Loop SW
    Olympia, WA 98502

    • Sales: (877) 816-5820

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Hanson Kia

2300 Carriage Loop SW
Directions Olympia, WA 98502

  • Sales: (360) 339-5079
  • Service: (360) 339-5079
  • Parts: (360) 339-5079


  • Monday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Tuesday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Wednesday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Thursday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Friday 7:30 AM-6:00 PM
  • Saturday 7:30AM-6:00 PM
  • Sunday Closed