Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation


My 1974 BMW 2002 sat for a few weeks, and after starting it, I opened the bonnet to change a fuse and there was gas spewing around the cloth covered hose which goes to the carb. I drove home and didn’t catch fire and shut it off, opened the bonnet and it was dry… Should I stop driving it and have it towed to the shop or do you think I might be able to drive it? Should I try tightening the hose clamps? What do you think?

It’s not a good idea to operate an engine that may leak gas at any time. Have it towed to be repaired. Otherwise, learn the drop and roll method of extinguishing flames from your clothes.


Good idea. After I did it, I was happy not to have had to do “the drop and roll”… thanks so much for your fast reply!

You were absolutely nuts to drive the car with gas leaking in and around the engine compartment. The raw gas vaporizes and it is the vapors that can blow up. Running the motor adds to the heat in the area, heat means more vapors and greater chance the whole thing will blow.

You should have the car towed to a mechanic for repair. You should not drive it, you shouldn’t attempt to start it. You can tighten some clamps and turn the ignition switch to the “on” position (don’t crank the starting motor) and see if the fuel lines hold pressure when the electric fuel pump is running. Unless you really know what you are doing I would advise you to have the car towed.

Other than agreeing that the car should not even be started much less driven, I would add that many of the old European cars used braided fuel lines.
These fuel lines should be replaced about every 3 or 4 years whether they’re leaking or not.

Many a VW has burnt to the ground because of a failure to do this.

It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a small fire extinguisher and keep it in your car. It may keep a small engine fire from becoming a catastrophe. (This should not be used as a solution to your problem–get it checked out!)

Funny you should have suggested that (Braded European fuel lines. I bought a 1965 Sunbeam Imp. I decided to add a fuel filter and I bought a US made product. Turns out that a few years later the fuel line split and turned my engine compaprtment into a blow torch. Insurance paid off.

Good advice, I truly appreciate the suggestion.

That’s very informative, explains a lot. Now the car may survive (and me too) until I come up with the funds to restore it properly. Thanks!

When I worked for VW and every time an old air-cooled VW (Type 1 through 4, it mattered not) we used to recommend replacement of the fuel lines while the car was on the rack; if the lines appeared to be aged of course.

The lines and the replacement were dirt cheap and some VW owners thought we were simply drumming up work and gouging them for unneeded work. Some found out the hard way we were not. :frowning:

That’s a shame about your Sunbeam. I actually like British cars quite a bit, having owned a Sunbeam Alpine and a couple of Morris Minors. (Love to have a Sunbeam Tiger though.) :slight_smile: