Being able to trust the car you are driving and making sure that you and those around you are safe should be a top priority. So how can you know if your car is leaking gas? And what in the world do you do if it is?
A gas leak can be indicated by a strong smell of gasoline and a puddle of gas beneath the vehicle. If both are happening, the best option would be to immediately schedule an appointment with a mechanic. However, if you’re more experienced with cars, you can attempt to fix it yourself.
Whatever you decide to do, knowing the reasons behind the issue is very important. You’ll also probably want to know the cost to fix it and how to prevent this problem in the future.
In the following article, I will discuss each of these things in depth so you can feel safer approaching this situation. We will also explain how you could possibly try to fix this leak yourself!
What To Do If Your Car Is Leaking Gas
So, you have been driving and you have noticed a strong smell that smells suspiciously like gas. Don’t worry, things are not quite as drastic as you might think.
Gas leaks, more commonly referred to as fuel leaks, happen for a variety of reasons. The majority of them though are due to something being wrong with the tank itself.
Over time, a gas tank can start to rust, fail, or just get old. Other times there is a hole in the tank. You will know if it is the tank by the puddle that will form underneath your car.
Another way to check if it is your fuel tank is to crawl underneath your car and take a look at the tank yourself. You will want to look for any wet spots and/or stains on the tank.
If the tank is rotting, this can be revealed by checking the top of the tank. Oftentimes moisture and debris will get caught up in there and over time they will dry. This will rot the tank. You might also notice if your tank is using up more gas than usual.
If you can’t spot a puddle, that gas smell you are noticing can also be caused by a fuel injector leak, a faulty canister, a fuel line leak, or a missing fuel cap. But because the most common reason is the fuel tank, that is what we will be focusing on in this article.
If you are pretty sure the gas smell can not be attributed to a failure in your gas tank, call your mechanic to figure it out because the dangers of leaking gas are huge.
Is It Dangerous To Drive With A Gas Leak?
The simple answer is YES – it is dangerous!
No matter where your leak is coming from, this is a dangerous issue to have. Driving with a gas leak is not safe by any means.
This is because gas leaks are one of the leading causes of vehicle fires, especially when the leak is coming from anywhere near the engine. The best and safest option is to call your mechanic and have it towed to the shop as soon as possible.
If you are planning on fixing it yourself, then try not to drive it around until the problem is resolved.
Gas leaks expose you to carbon monoxide, which is dangerous to inhale. Doing so will cause what people call “flu-like” symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, and disorientation.
Should you continue to inhale it, it could cause you to pass out or even die.
If you are a smoker, please refrain from smoking in your car until you get it fixed, because this increases the chance of a fire and ignition of the fumes.
How Much Will It Cost To Fix A Gas Leak?
You have four main options when you’re dealing with a gas leak. These are an auto body shop, an independent mechanic, a car dealership, and yourself.
The cheapest option would probably be to fix it yourself, but if you’re not familiar with the workings of a car, this can be very complicated and dangerous. The next cheapest would be an independent mechanic who just works out of his garage.
They can save you a lot of money, but be aware that sometimes they are not honest. Some things you can do to ensure you are getting an honest mechanic is to get references as well as ask him many questions. Make sure the mechanic is licensed by the state as well.
An auto body shop is probably what most people will tell you is your best bet. Here you will be able to talk to the mechanic directly, unlike at a car dealership, and it will be half as cheap as a car dealership. AAA also provides a list on their website of where you can find an approved auto repair facility.
As for a car dealership, although they are expensive, they are specialized to deal with your car and will be able to give you the assurance that the job is being done well. They also bill you by the job and not the hour, so you won’t have any nasty surprises when it is all over.
The average cost to have your tank entirely replaced is around $1,318 and $1,385. This does not factor in the make of your car, the age of it, tastes and fees, as well as the location you are in.
As for the tank just having a hole that needs to be patched, it is hard to say due to the size of the hole needing to be determined. AAA additionally has a section on their website that helps to estimate the costs for repair.
How To Fix A Gas Leak Yourself
Fixing a gas leak can be tricky, so only embark on that adventure if you are sure that you can do it correctly. There are a couple of ways to fix a hole in your tank.
One common way is to use epoxy as the patch. Understand that you will want to completely clean the tank out and remove the fuel lines.
To clear off the rust and oil you will need to use a wax scraper, and most people will leave their tank out to dry for a week before starting.
You have to completely clean out all of the fuel, otherwise, it will combust. If an epoxy compound will not work as a patch, or any other gas tank sealer won’t, you will need to weld it closed and sand it.
Below is a great video on how to fix a metal tank without welding!
Taking the appropriate actions after smelling gas in your car will save you time, money, and potentially your life!
After reading this article you should better understand how to spot a gas leak and what to do afterward.