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Gasoline Smell

I drive a '98 Dodge Caravan. It has 150,000 miles on it and has been an excellent car. In the last year, I started smelling gasoline at various times when I turned on the heater. Sometimes you could smell it outside the car as well. Neither car place I took it to could locate the source of the smell/leak. I can’t program/guess when this smell will appear but it is certainly not healthy to be breathing in gas fumes but darn cold when I turn off the heater to keep from asphyxiating myself. Thanks, Susan from Maine

What type of “car place” did you take it to? Typically a speedy-lube or even a chain parts store will be ill equipped to diagnose this type of problem.

Have there been any operating problems? Anu warning lights?

The gasoline could be coming from the charcoal canister, fuel lines, fuel injectors, under the hood. the air intake for the cabin is at the base of the window. Fumes from the engine have no difficulty finding their way into this inlet vent.
A mechanic is who you need.

Since the bulk of the fuel system is under pressure, gas leaks are a serious thing to worry about. However, there are a few things that can lead to a gassy smell that are not quite as dangerous.

One thing is the charcoal canister hellokit mentioned. It has a vent at the bottom in case the charcoal filtering material gets saturated with fuel. It will let the fumes escape from the vent.

Another is the vent line from the gas tank to the canister. If it deteriorates and leaks, you can get a gassy smell from there. There may be other vapor-collecting hoses as part of the evap system that also can be cracked or broken.

Take it to a good mechanic. They will look it over, and fix any dangerous problems.

Susan, Are You The Original Owner, Since It Was New ?

You should have been notified of any recalls, if you are. You don’t say which engine is in the van. There have been recalls on some of the engines in your model year for things relating to gasoline leaks, fuel rail seals and fuel filters, to name two.

A Dodge Dealer can check your VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) for any outstanding recalls. Recalls generally run for the life of the vehicle and are performed for free or nearly so. I would start with the recall search.

You must be aware that this is potentially a very dangerous problem and if it really is gasoline leaking, a catastrophic fire could erupt. Give your local dealer a call, pronto.

hi susan, let me run a little story about my gas smell, i"m sure it has nothing to do with your problem? i have a beautiful 87 Lin. i had the original tank on with the gas smell ,brought it to my mechanic to put on a new one, figured problem solved? not a chance. brought it back put in new charcoal canister. 80 dollars for that. still the smell and it also was coming out the neck of the tank, old and new—slightly. i put a new gas cap on still was coming out of neck the only conclusion i come to and the only thing left is to remove the neck and put in another one— forget it, i will be getting a used car down the road hope that brighten your day??? only kidding good luck and happy new year