I have a 1997 Kia sportage with approx 120,000 miles. Recently the dashboard warning light “hold” came on and is flashing. When the car idols it has a smell of gas from outside the car, it is also very hard starting. I read on another “forum” that it could be a bad old corroded gas tank. Does that seem plausible? If not, why would the HOLD light come on?
I don’t know what “HOLD” means, but in general a flashing light is not good.
Your owner’s manual should explain what it means. No manual, bought used? Next time look for the manual. The lack of one is an indicator that the owner was not interested in maintaining the car and you might be better off with a different car.
Odds are that it’s a leaking injector.
However, with any gas leak you should get it checked out and repaired ASAP. Gas fumes can be a path to ignition of the source from whence they are leaking, and you certainly do not want a fire!