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Why My Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It But Goes Away- Here Are The Reasons

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Car Smells Like Gas When I Start It But Goes Away

Car smelling like gas is common for car users. However, this smell indicates many issues inside your vehicle, especially when it goes away after you start the vehicle.

So, why my car smells like gas when I start it but goes away? The gas smell can arise because of 

  • A loose gas cap
  • Oil leak
  • Faulty gas cap 
  • Spilled gas
  • Loose spark plugs
  • Exhaust gas
  • Gas leakage 
  • Bad fuel pressure, etc. 

You can solve this problem easily by following the guide in this article. Thus, I will discuss why a car smells like gas, the way to stop the smell and many more about it. Keep reading to find out more!

Why My Car Smell Like Gas When I Start It But Goes Away

Why My Car Smell Like Gas When I Start It But Goes Away?

Why My Car Smell Like Gas When I Start It But Goes Away

Car smelling like gas is a dangerous problem. It is essential to know the reasons to prevent such situations in the future. Check out below –

Loose gas cap

When the vehicle’s gas cap is not tightened, a loose gas cap lets the debris come inside the fuel tank. Also, the gas fumes will start getting inside the fuel tank. That’s when you start getting the gas smell. You can thoroughly confirm this problem when you notice the malfunctioning indicator lamp appears.

Loose gas cap

Oil leak

An oil leak can be a significant reason for the gas smell. The reason is air and fuel mixture is done during the combustion process. Then, the oil is leaked before the procedure. As oil and gas are already mixed before the process, you get the gas smell when oil leakage occurs for certain reasons.

Spilled gas

When you visit a gas station and mistakenly spill gasoline on any side of the vehicle, it can cause a gas smell issue. You must be very careful when refueling gas into your car.

Spilled gas

Loosed spark plugs

If your vehicle has loosed spark plugs, the spark plugs will start spreading the gas smell. The problem arises when the washer which seals the spark plug is broken. And thus, the vapor can easily escape through it and leak next to the HVAC intake. This is how you get the gas smell. 

Loosed spark plugs

Exhaust gas

Exhaust gas or fumes can be a reason for the gas smell when you start your car. When you start your vehicle, the gas is burnt and emitted through the exhaust pipe. But when the gas is leaked in the exhaust system, it will enter the cabin, and that’s how you get the smell.

Exhaust gas

Gas leakage

Gas leakage can occur in your vehicle, which will lead the car to have a gas smell. The leakage can occur if the gas lines are damaged or for a hole in the fuel tank. This can cause the car to smell like gas.

Bad fuel pressure

The fuel pressure regulator, which does the fuel mixture, can get bad. As a result, the process will malfunction. This time, if the regulator makes the fuel too thick, the gas will emit in large volumes. As a result, too many fumes enter the car’s cabin and spread the smell.

Bad fuel pressure

Old car

If the car is old or made before the 80s, the cars smell like gas when you start or stop. These cars don’t have an advanced system like today’s cars. So it is easy for the gas fumes to come into the vehicle and cause the smell.

Bad charcoal canister

If your car has a bad charcoal canister, you will get a gas smell from the vehicle. A charcoal canister traps the fuel vapors. Then the gas vapors are burnt. But when your vehicle’s charcoal canister wears out, the gas fumes will enter the car causing the gas smell.

Bad charcoal canister

How To Fix a Car Smelling Like A Gas?

Now you know the reasons for the gas smell. But how to fix it? Look at the solutions below and follow the process accordingly. 

How To Fix a Car Smelling Like A Gas

If the gas cap is loosed,

  1. Open the fuel tank
  2. Take off the gas cap
  3. Now insert the cap into the port tightly. The three-click sound is a sign that you have correctly tightened it         

If oil leaks,

  1. Inspect the leaked area
  2. Lift the car using a jack
  3. See if there are any loose bolts in the pan
  4. Tighten the bolts using a torque wrench

If gas spilled,

  1. Take a dry cloth or towel
  2. Try to wipe the spills and absorb the gases in the towel as much as possible
  3. You can use kitty litter and pour it into the spilled area
  4. The smell will go away in hours after doing it
gas spilled Clean

If spark plugs are loosed,

  1. Find the spark plugs
  2. Turn around the plug by hand 
  3. Now take a ratchet, and attach it to the spark plug
  4. Keep turning it around slowly and tighten the spark plug

Exhaust gas problem,

  1. Locate the leaked area
  2. Change the bad gasket
  3. Apply a lubricant to the bolts, you can use anti-size
  4. Now remove the old exhaust manifold gasket and replace it with a new one

If gas leaks,

  1. Elevate the car using a jack
  2. Locate the leaked area
  3. Unload the tank
  4. Take a gas canister and move the gas in it
  5. After locating the leaked area, sand it

If bad fuel pressure,

  1. Find the regulator
  2. Now immaculate the area of the fuel pressure regulator
  3. Then take off the old regulator by unscrewing the bolts
  4. Replace it with the new regulator
  5. Finally, you installed it
bad fuel pressure

If the car is old,

As the old cars don’t have a good EVAP system, it is not possible to fix the problem. Instead, you have to wait. The smell will go away on its own in a few minutes.

If the vehicle has a bad Charcoal Canister system,

  1. Lift the car using a jack
  2. Remove and disconnect all electrical connections
  3. Remove the old charcoal canister using a socket wrench
  4. Mount the new charcoal canister in the system

Have a look at this video of how you can find exhaust leaks in the fastest way-

Should I Continue Driving After Smelling Gas From Car?

No. You should not continue driving after smelling gas from the car. This is dangerous. Here are a few reasons why you should stop driving after smelling gas –

  • The gas leakage can cause fire 
  • Smelling gasoline for a more extended period can be harmful to you
  • Delaying the fix can worsen the condition of the vehicle
Should I Continue Driving After Smelling Gas From Car

How To Stop The Odor?

Smelling the gas is harmful to us. So you have to get rid of the smell very fast. You can stop the odor by following the steps below –

Step 1. Take an old towel, baking soda, and white vinegar

Step 2. Mix these with hot water 

Step 3. Pour the mixture into the stinking area and wipe it away

How To Stop The Odor
If you’re dealing with a gas-like smell when starting your car that goes away, you may also be interested in our articles on why your car smells like burning oil or why your car smells like fish. Our article on why your car smells like burning oil explains the possible causes of this smell, such as an oil leak, a damaged engine or transmission, or a faulty PCV valve. Meanwhile, our article on why your car smells like fish discusses the common causes of this odor, such as a leaking heater core, mold or bacteria growth in the AC system, or a dead rodent trapped in the engine compartment. If you’re experiencing any of these smells in your car, our articles can help you diagnose and fix the problem.


Have a look at the frequently asked questions. The questions are answered below –

Q. Should I Avoid Smelling Gas Problem?

No. You should not avoid the problem if your car smells like gas. A car smelling like gas indicates many serious issues, which can even lead to causing a fire in the worst cases.

Q. Does The Smell Go Away On its Own?

If the vehicle is old, the smell may go away on its own. But if there are gas leak problems, you must fix them soon.

Q. Can Oil Leakage Create The Gas Smell?

Yes. Oil leakage can create a gas smell. This happens when the oil leaks after oil are mixed with fuel for combustion.


Well, now you certainly know the causes why my car smells like gas when I start it but goes away. It happens because of exhaust fumes, gas cap issues, faulty O-rings, gas leakage and bad fuel pressure problem. These issues could trouble you so much. 

But following the guide, solving the problems would be as easy as pie. So, which one is your problem from the above causes? Get the problem fixed by following the guide right away!

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