Gas smelling up the garage!

We have an 1999 RX300 Lexus just had the brakes, tires fixed and oil changed. Every time the gas tank is filled, and it is parked in the garage it smells the whole garage. We have checked the floor for any stains from a leak and there are not any leaks. Could there be a seal broken? When the car is driven and the gas is used the smell goes away. How can we rid ourselves of the :mask::mask: smell?

Fill the tank to 3/4.

Yes that is probably a short term fix but what to do in the long term. Is it an expensive fix? Thank You for your reply

Considering there is a fuel smell when the tank is full, the fuel sender seal may be rotten and leaking

If that is the case, the only solution is to replace the seal, which may involve removing the tank. I’m not an expert on this vehicle, but the tank is typically removed for this type of repair

That is probably why oldtimer suggested only filling to 3/4

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+1 to @oldtimer-11. I had the same problem on an older Chevy Lumina sedan many years ago. Solution was to replace the leaking gas tank.

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The fuel tank integrity is monitored by the engine control ECU, typically customer show up with the check engine light on before they notice a fuel odor.

I don’t know what is leaking on your vehicle, a rust hole in the tank perhaps? A common problem with the RXs that I see is the fuel tank over-fill control valve will crack and leak, this may only occur in hot climates, I’m not sure.

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I suggested that because it is an 18 year old car. He could also be smelling gas because he always kept filling the tank after the automatic shut off and has saturated the vapor canister with gas.

Going wit a 3/4 fill will help with both prob;ems. If it is a leak caused by rust, it will get worse and you woll smell the fas at even a 3/4 tank and it will have to be fixed.

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The first thing I would do is keep it out of the garage until it’s fixed! It could be a time bomb.

It is very likely something has rusted in the fuel system and now you have a leak that occurs a full tank. It doesn’t take much of a leak to stink up the garage AND not to leave a puddle. This is dangerous and you shouild NOT park the car inside. You should also not fill it all the way up and you should get it checked out by a qualified professional.

I had this problem on a truck I own. The fuel line rusted through to a pinhole leak on the fuel pump’s fittings. I fixed it with a new $200 pump. Your problem may be cheaper, it may be more expensive. It just depends on where the leak is.

Thank You.

Thank You for your info.

That was my thought too. Thanks

Can I take it to Conrad’s?


Is that the name of a local shop in your area?
If that is the case, you should probably ask that question of friends, relatives, and co-workers who live in your neck of the woods.

I have never heard of “Conrad’s”, and I believe that most of the other members of this forum could say the same thing.

You never answered the question: When you fill the tank, do you stop as soon as the automatic cutoff stops the flow? Or do you “topup”, ie, keep adding gas to the tank ?

The latter is a bad practice that could cause the problem you have.

+1 to Bill’s question.
“Topping off” the tank when you fill can cause raw fuel to saturate the charcoal bed in the canister, and that can cause fuel odors. The tank breaths in and out through that charcoal, and when it’s operating normally the charcoal captures the hydrocarbon molecules (the gas fumes), but if it’s saturated fumes will exit the system into the air.

However, with a vehicle this age a leak is also a possibility. Stuff corrodes. I’d suggest having it towed to a reputable shop for a search with a combustion analyzer (used to “sniff” tailpipes for emissions on old cars). That can detect hydrocarbons and even trace their source.

Conrad’s is a chain that does tires brakes etc.

I would personally stay away from a chain, unless you have gone to them before and have had good service. An independent/ mom and pop/ small garage will often provide better service, and often times it’s easier to communicate issues or problems with them.


That type of place would not be my first choice for something like your fuel system problem.
Chains rarely have the best mechanics, and instead tend to focus on simply replacing parts–which may or may not resolve the problem.

I would suggest that you ask friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers for recommended independent mechanics who have reputations as being very good at diagnosing problems.
Or, you might want to use the Mechanics Files link at the top of this page.


I had a really strong gasoline smell in our garage, so I backed the car out of the garage and checked it over carefully and came up with nothing. I drove it back in the garage and again the odor of.gasoline was quite strong. I took the car to my mechanic and he couldn’t find the anything wrong. I finally figured it out. I found a tar like substance on the side of the garage floor where our newer car was parked. The newer car had a leaking gas tank and the gasoline was dissolving the undercoating that was on the gas.tank. I was looking at the wrong car for the gas leak.