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stinky car smells like gasoline!

My husband drives a 97 Toyota Corolla. Great little car with one problem, it stinks. It smells like gasoline after its started. I never smell it from inside the car, just after its run when I exit the car. Took to a mechanic....they couldnt find a leak and of course they didnt smell anything. He told me the LEFT OUTPUT SHAFT SEAL needs to be replaced but wasnt very positive that had anything to do with the gasoline smell. He only suggested replacing the gas cap, again, not with much confidence. Should I take it back, take somewhere else, anyway of narrowing down the possible leak areas myself or other suggested areas for them to look for the leak???
Thanks for any advice!
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Comments

  • Does your husband top off the gas when he fills the tank? He may have saturated the charcoal canister under the hood. It's a basic component of evaporative emissions control systems and it holds gasoline vapors. That's the first place I would check. Your "mechanic" should have known to check out the canister after a complaint of gas smells.
  • when we get gas and the auto-off turns the pump off, we pull it out, we never give it a couple more squeezes to "top if off". i will def check into your suggestions. thank you so much!
  • edited August 2011
    actually i just found my receipt and this is what it says:

    "the technician did not see any sign of a raw fuel leak, or any area along the fuel lines that were stained from past leak. He noted no smell from the evaporative system, tank to purge canister. no recommendations at this time. the customer was advised to drive up anytime in the future when she is smelling it"

    problem is, it ALWAYS smells! since last October when we first noticed it.
  • with gas smell, this could be a potential fire hazard, regardless. Fumes are somehow making their way out of the system. You might talk to your local fire station and see what they say or recommend. They should be happy to help out, since this could be one less fire they'd have to attend to.
  • One thing to check for would be a rusting out gas filler tube. I've seen this on quite a few Toyotas of that era. Sometimes, small pinholes in the right place won't leak fluid, but they'll allow for plenty of fumigation.
  • so, i took the car back....serpentine belt went.....I inquired about the smell again, this time he said that based on the last look they will have to do a "smoke test" which costs over $100...just to check for leak.... that won't even pay for the fix!
    Im thinking of taking it somewhere else for another inspection...
  • We have an intern who is loquacious at best, he would say visually look at it with your eyes!
  • I had a tank that developed a leak on the top from deposits of salt and sand. It would smell pretty bad after filling the tank, then diminish as the gas was used and the top of the tank dried off. It took some crawling around underneath trying to find the source of the smell but finally noticed the top of the tank moist. If you are the only one that can smell it, I think you're going to have to help someone narrow down the source.
  • edited August 2011
    I'm not familiar with Toyota's fuel systems, but it's probably like most cars of this era where the fuel pump is located in the gas tank and has a rubber o-ring to seal it. It wouldn't leak except when the tank was full, because it's located on the top of the tank. If the fuel pump has ever been replaced or was replaced just prior the the gas smell it could be the o-ring is not sealing the top the tank correctly. Many cars have the fuel pump accessible from under the rear seat. If your's does I'd remove the back seat and see if that's where the problem is. I've seen this to be the problem on other cars.
  • thanks again for all your suggestions and comments! basically one day i got out of the car to look for a nail in the tire and noticed the smell of gasoline. i looked around to see if i was near a gas station, i wasnt. ever since then as soon as the car is started if you get out and walk around it you can smell gasoline. also, after i shut the car off and walk around you can also still smell it. we dont have a garage so thankfully the smell doesnt build up, it just dissipates. im going to take it to another garage, this time an AAA "owned" rather than AAA "approved". im not too cheap to have it repaired, but i am too cheap to pay hundreds of dollars for tests that may or may not find the problem.
    thanks again!!
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