Why Does My SUV Smell Like Gas?

There are many unpleasant smells your SUV may track but none is as unpleasant as gasoline. It lingers longer than it should and unless you are at a gas station or getting your car checked up at your local auto mechanic, then your SUV smelling like gas could be a cause for concern.

While there are some easy fixes to these problems, other possibilities are not as pleasant. Either way, the most important thing to recognize is your SUV smelling like gas is not something to ignore. Here is a list of possible reasons why your SUV smells like gas and what you should do about it. Let’s get started!

Top Reasons Why Your SUV Smells like Gas

As a disclaimer, please keep in mind that these are the most likely reasons why your SUV smells like gasoline. However, every situation is unique so if you are not quite sure, do not hesitate to contact your local auto mechanic. After all, when it comes to your vehicle and your safety, it does not hurt to get a professional opinion.

1. Have You Pumped Gas Lately?

Yes, this first explanation is a simple one and one that most people overlook. Of course, it is better to be safe than sorry, so it is better to take a situation too seriously than to not take a serious situation seriously at all.

However, if you filled up gas lately then this could be a possible reason why your SUV smells like gas.

It is possible that your fuel pump did not properly shut off when your tank was full. When this happens, the fuel could have been overflowing out of the filler and in turn, drip down the side of your car.

Such a simple mishap, but you will be paying for it, or smelling it all day. Be sure to take a quick look at the side of your car before you leave, just to see if there was any spillage.

Also, make sure to “shake off” the gas before you suddenly pull out the pump. Some leftover gas could still be in the pump, and by suddenly pulling it out, you could cause another mess.

Just to be safe, do not leave your unattended while you are filling up the tank.

This is a quick-fix solution and although it could be a bit bothersome at first, it only takes a few seconds and will give you peace of mind throughout the day.

2. Check Your Engine

Your SUV’s fuel ratio rides on a delicate balance between its fuel and air mixture. In order for your SUV to be performing as well as it should be, then your car’s engine has to generate power properly.

If your engine is adding too much fuel and not enough air during combustion, then this could be the cause of the sudden gasoline scent.

This is because all of that unused gas vapor will come out of your exhaust and it will smell strongly of gas. There is an easy way to tell when this is happening: the gasoline vapor will come out of your exhaust as black and/or gray smoke.

If your exhaust is smoking, then this could be an engine problem. Although this may look dire, it is not if it is taken care of promptly.

If you choose to ignore this problem, then do know that your engine will suffer as a result of this negligence. A leaking fuel injector will cause your engine to make less power than it should while at the same time, using more gas per mile.

You do not need to take it to the auto mechanic right this second but within a few days would be ideal.

3. Damaged Fuel Cap

Most people do not think twice about their fuel cap. This is understandable since it is so small and you do not think about it unless you are filling up your tank.

However, fuel caps are important because it literally seals in gasoline vapors. If your fuel cap is damaged or worn out due to normal wear and tear, then gasoline vapors could escape your tank. When this happens, you are able to smell the gasoline smell very well and it is not pleasant.

Most people do not think twice about their fuel cap but this is a mistake. If your fuel cap is broken, it is best to get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.

After all, it is such a small fix that will make your driving experience much more pleasant.

The good news is, this is an inexpensive and quick fix. Normal wear and tear ensure that you will only need to replace your fuel cap after a few years of use.

Be sure to give it a good wipe here and there to ensure that dirt, gas, and other contaminants will not wear it out sooner than necessary.

4. Gasoline Leak

While the above possibilities are not a cause for immediate concern, this one certainly is. A leaking gas tank is very dangerous and should be taken lightly.

If you can smell the gasoline or if you can see some leakage underneath your car, double-check to see if it is indeed gasoline or not.

If you are not sure, then it is best to enlist the help of a professional to double-check for you. Even if it is not gasoline, it is still a good idea to know what exactly is causing this leakage.

If you smell gas but do not physically see it, then that could be a sign that your gas leak is in the engine. This could be due to a leaking fuel injector or bad engine seals that needs some tending to. This is very dangerous because any gas on the outside of a hot engine could combust.

Once again, this is very dangerous and should be taken care of immediately.

5. SUV is Old

Honestly, sometimes it has nothing to do with the car aside from how old it is. If you bought your SUV used and the previous owner did not take care of it, then chances are it might have a lingering gasoline smell.

Maybe there was a gasoline leakage that never got cleaned up well or maybe the owner carried actual buckets of gasoline in his/her car and it spilled.

If the scent came with the car, then it probably is nothing to worry about.

If it does bother you, then we recommend giving your interior a deep cleaning with some water and baking soda.

Air fresheners will work as well but they more so mask the odor than fully get rid of it.

6. It’s Not You, It’s Them

Lastly, sometimes it is not you but it is those around you. More often than not, the smell of gasoline is coming from the car in front of you, next to you or behind you.

It could be their engine that is leaking or their fuel cap that needs replacement.

If this is true, then you will know right away. Usually, in congested areas, it is hard to tell where the smell is coming home, but if you find the smell to be strong while in traffic but later on, it goes away then this could be the reason why.

If that is the case then you do need to worry, but if it is someone you know, then please feel free to send them this article!

Why It Is Important to Get Your SUV Checked Out

While having a whiff of good old gasoline when you drive your car is not the most pleasant smell, it does not always mean there is a cause for alarm. However, there is a chance that it is.

Gasoline is extremely flammable and dangerous. If your SUV is leaking gasoline vapors, then that is just a disaster waiting to happen if it is not handled quickly and properly.

After all, it can be nothing but it can also be something serious. Even if it does not prove to be harmful right now, who is to say it will not be down the line?

Do not risk it, this is one risk you do not want to take.

The Takeaway|How Serious Is It?

To put it simply, unless you are driving through traffic and get a waft of gasoline then your SUV should not be smelling like it. Oftentimes, driving next to a car that leaks gasoline can cause the smell to linger in your SUV. That is understandable, and by airing it out, the scent should go away.

Other times, if you are sitting in your driveway and you suddenly get a whiff of gasoline when there are no other cars around you…well, that is when you should take notice.

Either way, this is not something you should ignore and it is advised that you get to the root of the problem immediately. In short, your car should not be smelling like gasoline.

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