You wouldn’t be quite impressed when you find a gas leak in your car as you move away from a parking zone. The gasoline that keeps your car running is a combustible fuel.
When this gas burns, the engine gets the necessary energy to carry out its work and the car keeps moving. A possible leakage in your fuel distribution system makes itself evident when you find it escaping. This is actually dangerous, considering that gasoline is very inflammable. Unless you check the issue out, it can cause a fire to break out.
In case there’s a gas leak in your car, you would get to know it by looking at the dark puddles of liquid. Besides, you would find the odor of gas nearby. Moreover, the gas gauge will tell you whether the fuel is depleting at an alarming rate.
In this article, you will get to know the right way to detect and handle a fuel leakage in your car.
Why is your car leaking gas when parked?
Branded automobile manufacturers know the value of your gas tank. They design these components to be fairly resilient. Mostly, the manufacturers use robust materials to make the fuel tank and position it correctly.
However, mechanical components are susceptible to damage. Eventually, a time comes when the tank undergoes some damage, leading to a leak.
A gas leak can take place due to several reasons, and this can drain out your fuel. The issue calls for professional support, as it can lead to fires. In most cases, fuel tank gas leakages occur due to faulty gas lines, hoses, or seals.
Here are some factors leading to gas leaks when parking your vehicle.
1. Leaking hoses or gas lines
The function of the hoses and gas lines in the car is to transport gas to the engine from the fuel tank. This helps in moving the car. In case the hoses sustain wear and become punctured, they can leak fuel. Sometimes, there are cuts or damages in the hoses and gas lines. Besides, improper fittings of these components can lead to fuel leakages from the car’s bottom. Therefore, when you take a look at your vehicle in the parking lot, you would find the dark patches under it.
2. Faulty rubber seal or O-ring
The function of the O-ring is to work as a seal, preventing the oil from entering the combustion chamber. However, excessive heat can make the O-ring brittle over time. As a result, the gas starts leaking from the vehicle.
3. Vibrations in the car
Do you frequently take rough terrains or roads? Well, if there’s a lot of vibration or jostling in your car, the gas can would sustain damage. In these cases, the moving gas starts leaking out from the bottom of your vehicle. Particularly, if you drive around mountainous regions too often, you have a higher chance of a gas leak. In case a rough ride leads to these issues, you would also observe your car making plenty of noise when you start it.
4. Damage in gas cap
The function of the gas cap is to keep the gasoline from getting outside the fuel tank. Besides, the gas cap prevents the fuels from finding an easy escape. This component also helps in maintaining the right pressure in the tank containing gas in your car. However, if this cap sustains damage, it would lead to gasoline leakages. This happens because the gas would have all the opportunities to get outside the tank.
5. Damage in your gas tank
Your car has a gas tank, which stores the fuel your vehicle would use to operate. If the gas tank sustains any damage, the fuel system would have an adverse impact. So, you might notice gas leakages when you park the vehicle.
How To Identify If A Car Is Leaking Gas When Parked: Symptoms
If gasoline leaks from your fuel tank, you would get to know the issue with some common symptoms.
Odor of fuel from your car
Well, you know how gasoline smells. Some drivers also state that the fuel smells sweet or somewhat good. As you drive your car, you might have got this smell as it evaporates into the surroundings.
However, in most of these instances, the intensity of the odor would be faint. It quickly fades away into the atmosphere. However, when you notice that the smell is persisting, and it refuses to go away, you need to inspect the fuel tank for leaks. Here are certain conditions when you might get the odor or gasoline.
- While walking around your garage or parked car
- While driving your car on the road
- When your car idles at a spot
In case you get the smell of gasoline under these circumstances, make sure to look out for other symptoms of leak as well. If the gas tank leaks, the peculiar odor of gasoline would be the first symptom.
Moisture under your car
Gasoline has a high degree of volatility. If the fuel starts leaking from your car, it will evaporate quickly. Therefore, when you park your car in a specific spot for long, there will be a small moist spot under the vehicle.
Under these conditions, you need to check out the manufacturer’s manual and find out where exactly your tank is. When you locate the tank precisely, determine whether the damp spot is directly under it.
Besides, when your car remains stationary on blacktop or concrete, there would be a dark spot in the place where the fuel collects. Also, it will lose color when you park your car on foliage or grass.
Remember, gasoline has a quick and adverse impact on grass and weeds. So, look out for possible signs of gas leakage in your vehicle and address the issue.
Unnatural dropping of the fuel gauge
The best way to confirm whether or not you have a leaking fuel tank is to inspect the fuel gauge. In case the level drops drastically, you would be knowing that there’s a leak. However, it might be challenging for you to know whether the fuel is leaking without proper evidence.
To find this, you can deploy a simple process. Mark the level of fuel when your vehicle is in park. In case there’s a drop in the fuel level when you return, it points to a leakage from the tank.
When it comes to leaking fuel tanks, make sure to be prompt with your action. Otherwise, the car might catch fire, leading to fatal incidents. So, you need to reach out to the mechanic as soon as you detect the leak. Experienced professionals would fix or replace the leaking tank.
Observe the color of the liquid
Now, if you park your car in a crowded street or an apartment parking zone, it would be challenging to identify whether it’s your car that’s leaking fuel, or someone else’s vehicle. You need to take a look at the stains on the asphalt, that would help you know it.
In these situations, use an aluminum foil to cover the space under your car. You can also use other viable materials like cardboard or newspaper. This way, you would get to know whether or not your car is leaking fuel. Besides, you would be able to observe the color of the liquid.
However, when you visually observe gas leaks, the color might turn out to be tricky to identify. In most situations, gas happens to be translucent. However, many manufacturers use additives in the fuel, which gives it a black, brown, or dark color.
To help you, we have listed the colors of some other liquids your car might leak.
- In case of steering or transmission fluid leakage, you will find a red or pink fluid.
- Motor oil and gear lubricants look like coffee and they have a brown color.
- For older motor oil and brake fluid, the color of the fluid would be dark brown.
- The fluid in windshield wipers comes in a neon blue color.
- Some older transmission fluids might come in red color.
So, most of these colors are not too dark or black, which would help you detect whether it’s gasoline or some other fluid. However, you might land in a dilemma with other brown leakages. In these situations, you can detect the leak using your sense of smell.
What should I do if my car is leaking gas?
The safest way to address a leaking gas tank in your car is to seek professional support. This is the only recommended means by which you can address the issue.
Remember, gas leakages can lead to fire disasters in your car unless you fix the issue quickly. So, you might end up burning your vehicle, and injuring the occupants and other people and property.
Is it safe to drive your car with a gas leak?
No, it would be very dangerous to drive your car when it has a gas leak.
Although your car would be in running condition, have you weighed the danger that lurks around when your gasoline leaks? In the first place, the fuel would deplete faster than it should.
Besides, even when you park the car, it would lose its fuel. In the end, you might remain stranded in the wrong place with the fuel tank exhausted. No owner would like to waste money refueling the tank only to find it empty in a few hours.
Moreover, your car would be spoiling the road, leaving behind ugly stains. It would also mess up the parking slots. Gasoline leaks can be slippery, and they can lead to accidents.
Most importantly, gasoline can catch fire easily. So, if you accidentally park your vehicle close to a heat source, it might spark a fire and the car would go up in flames.
Evidently, it makes sense to get the issue fixed early rather than continuing to drive with a damaged fuel tank.
How Much Does it Cost to Fix a Gas Leak in Your Car?
Now that you know the causes and symptoms of a gas leak in your car, you would be thinking whether fixing the issue would burn a hole in your pocket. Based on the intensity of the damage, the repair cost would vary.
Besides, this cost also depends on how old your car is. In case there’s damage in the fuel line, you can get it patched for anything between $60 and $120. However, in case of severe damage, you would need a new gas tank installed. This can cost you around $300, or even higher.
Getting a leaking gas tank fixed can be expensive. However, it’s worth fixing the issue, considering the danger to which you expose your vehicle, its passengers, and other people around. Therefore, it makes sense to shell out a few hundred dollars and solve the problem.
Several factors can lead to the leakage of gas in your car. Your gas tank might have holes, or the issue might stem from rough rides. Besides, damage in the fuel injectors, vent hose of the gas tank, fuel pressure regulator, fuel lines, and the gas tank caps can also lead to such leakages.
Whatever be the reason, when you detect a gas leak, try not to drive your car. The best way to get out of the woods is to call in a trained mechanic to fix the flaw in your car.