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Car smells like gas whenever I take several stabs at parking it. Gas mileage also seems to suck

I have a 1993 Camry 4 Cylinder Sedan with the automatic transmission. It’s done a grand total of just 71k miles and hasn’t given me any problems until now.

Recently, due to our living situation, I’ve had to park our car in the garage and seeing as I don’t typically do this, it takes a few tries to get it in there. I’ve noticed that when I park in there the car smells very, very strongly of (I believe, I’m not 100% certain) un-burnt fuel. I’ve noticed the same thing happens when I make a few attempts at parking on a hill or parallel parking. This doesn’t happen when I just drive head-first into the driveway or into angled parking, etc. I’ve also noticed that the fuel economy seems to be awful for a 4 cylinder. I’ve driven the car a grand total of maybe 150 miles in the last week and have refueled it to the halfway point from near empty on the gas gauge twice (that’s 8 MPG for those who care). I drive it like a mattress salesman so I know my driving habits are not the source of poor mileage.

Sorry for the long-ish post. Any idea what could be happening here? I can provide more details if necessary.

EDIT: Took it to the stop, no leaks were found, nothing has failed. Mechanic told me that it’s normal for the car to “run rich” at idle speeds (which is when I would notice the smell) and that I had nothing to worry about. Decided that since it was there I would get the rear brake pads replaced and resurfaced. Stops like new :slight_smile: They also said that the gas gauge in the older Camrys would often move around like crazy at the slightest suggestion of inclination so my refueling it all the time was unnecessary. Relieving to hear. Thanks for all the help.

The gas smell might be coming from a leaking fuel pressure regulator.

The regulator is located on the fuel rail.

Start the engine and let it idle for a minute and then shut the engine off.

Remove the vacuum hose from the pressure regulator, and if gas leaks out this connection the regulator diaphragm is leaking and requires replacement.


If you can smell gasoline while you’re inside your car, don’t wait for a response online. Get the car to a shop ASAP and stop driving it. It’s not safe.


I hope you’re not parking in the garage while this issue is being figured out. Otherwise you’re risking an explosion.

Smells gas, 8 miles to the gallon. Keep this thing out of the garage like advised, do not drive, have it towed or hauled to a shop. This might be an exaggeration but this thing could be a very large explosion just waiting to happen

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I cannot fathom why somebody would park a car reeking of unburned gasoline in a garage.

I will try not to be rude ( not easy for me) but I can see a person without vehicle knowledge or not having any mechanical back ground asking a question like this. But this like other questions on boards like this makes me wonder do they not have friends, relatives or neighbors that they can say too " Hey do I have a problem here"

I have every intention of having it taken to a shop ASAP (and it won’t need to be driven until that has been done) but it makes me wonder why, when I took it into the shop for an oil change a few days ago, they did not notice this problem when they parked it in their shop. I don’t have a real mechanical knowledge of cars and so yes, of course I did go first to asking people around me, I do have an appointment with the mechanic to get this checked out as well as get the rear brakes serviced. I couldn’t complete the task that Tester (not sure how to tag users on this forum nor do I know how to quote multiple people) suggested as I couldn’t find the vacuum hose (I’m sure somebody here is smacking their forehead but no amount of Googling could help me, god forbid I break down on the side of the road…). I let the car idle for a minute, noticed the smell was rather unnoticeable from the interior of the car but quite strong once I got out, remained that way for around 20 seconds. When I opened the hood the smell did not become more apparent.

What particular part(s) are likely to be the culprit of the problem?

There are so many possible things that could leak that the shop will most likely do a smoke test to find the problem.

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OK, it’s in the shop now, I’m gonna let them take care of it. I was pretty certain that it was a safety concern but I’m glad you guys can agree there. Hopefully I’ll know by tomorrow what’s wrong with the car.

My wild guess would be (a) leaking injector(s).
Regulator was a good guess too.
Let us know what the hands-on evaluation finds.


He’s got friends right here and is asking. Is that wrong to ask on a car forum about cars?

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Besides, not everybody’s friends have automotive expertise. I hang out with engineers and physicists. I’d be reluctant to ask them for advice on cooking… not that I’ll ever cook, you understand. :laughing:


I did a bad thing and drove it a bit over 2 miles to the mechanic. It’s not on fire yet :stuck_out_tongue:

The mechanic nodded his head with a certain enthusiasm when I said “fuel pressure regulator.” Hopefully it’s an easy fix and won’t cost an arm and a leg.

If it turns out that the fuel pressure regulator is the problem, have them also replace the oil and the oil filter.

When these regulators leak, it can contaminate the oil with gasoline.


Aw man, I just paid for them to do this a couple days ago :frowning:

Well, such is life I suppose. Thanks for your help.

This car’s over 2 decades old! Any number of fuel lines or the fuel tank itself (if it’s steel instead of plastic), charcoal canisters, etcetera, can develop rusted metal that becomes porous to gasoline.

You must be backing it in or you wouldn’t get so much odor. At low speeds the catalytic converter cools off a little and contributes a bit to the smell. There is probably nothing wrong with the car. The fuel economy could be a problem or the four wheel alignment is off enough to cause it.