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Ignition Rod Stuck

My was complaining of white smoke coming from the back of the car and that she smelled gasoline. So I took her 1999 Nissan Maxima to the shop and they put it on the machine and told me that the ignition rod was stuck open and that gasoline was leaking into the engine. They also said that it was not safet to drive.

Could you explain to me what an ignition rod is and why the car is not safe to drive? The car’s value is questionable at this point. It will cost upwards of $600 to repair, and I am wondering if I should just get her another car and/or whether it’s safe to sell, donate, or junk this one.

Thanks for your advice!

A $600 repair on a '99 should not be a big deal. Whether the car is worth keeping depends on things like status of tires, brakes, body rust (or lack of it), and interior. If a $600 repair pushes you over the edge toward getting a new car I’d guess this Nissan is in shabby shape.

I have no clue about what an “ignition rod” is? You might be talking about a “fuel rail” which is a metal tube that carries fuel to the fuel injectors. Sometimes these split and leak and the fuel spills onto the top of a hot motor. The heat turns the fuel into vapors, which should create a heavy fuel smell, and the vapors can catch fire easily. If this is the case the car is dangerous to drive until it is fixed.

You need to get a better description from the shop. I also have no guesses about what an “ignition rod” would be. The typical things that will leak fuel into the engine are fuel injectors or fuel pressure regulators. Then there’s a possibility of an external leak as UncleTurbo mentioned. But that won’t give you smoke out of the exhaust.

So get some clarification from the shop - including how they diagnosed this. Was the check engine light on? If so, then they read some error codes. The codes look like “P1234” and many people here are smart enough to really know what those mean. So report them if you can get them.

If a mechanic described a faulty part as a “ignition rod” I’d look for a different shop.