Whether you are driving to the store or heading to work, your senses can tell you a lot about your car and its condition. By listening to the sounds the engine makes, you can tell if you are due for a tune-up. Looking at the garage floor as you pull out could reveal fluid leaks that would otherwise have gone undetected.
Your nose can also tell you a lot about your car, so pay attention to the odors you detect. If you are fueling up at the gas station, you may notice a faint aroma of gas as the fuel enters your tank, but that smell should quickly dissipate as you drive away.
A Lingering Smell of Gas
When you pull away from the gas station, the smell of gas should slowly go away. If you still detect the lingering aroma of gas after a few miles, it is time to investigate the situation.
There are a number of things that can cause you to smell gas as you drive your vehicle. Working through those possibilities one at a time is the best way to troubleshoot the situation, and here are a few things to check.
Check the Gas Cap
The first and most obvious thing to check is the gas cap. If you failed to secure the gas cap properly, fumes may be escaping from the fuel tank and leaking into the passenger cabin as you drive.
A gas cap that is improperly secured can also cause the check engine light to illuminate, so take a look at the dashboard to see if that has happened. Whether the check engine light is on or not, pull off to the side of the road, remove the cap and turn it until it clicks into place.
A Leak in the Fuel Line
If the gas cap is firmly in place and you still smell gas coming from your vehicle, the problem could be considerably more serious. You could have a leak in the fuel line, and that leak could create a real emergency situation.
If you even suspect a leak in the fuel line, you should immediately pull off to the side of the road, find a safe place to park the car and shut it off right away. If there is indeed a fuel leak, even a small spark could start a fire – with devastating consequences.
At this point, having your vehicle towed to the mechanic is the best, and certainly the safest, course of action. If there is a leak in the fuel line, your mechanic can repair it, so you can keep driving safely.