Occasional HUGE gas smell in home garage

I have a 2000 Chrysler LHS, and from time to time when I fill it with gas and drive home, the smell is SO strong I’m almost afraid to keep the garage door down. I see no drips on the concrete. I don’t always go to the same nearby station and I never add more gas after the nozzle clicks off. I’d say eight times out of ten this smell doesn’t happen, and if it does, a little driving gets rid of it. But why is it happening?

Sounds like a leak near the top of the gas tank. It could be as simple as a crack in the filler pipe connector. Don’t close your garage door if you can smell gas!

+1 to insightful. I had this happen to a Lumina sedan many years ago. Leak was at the top of the tank, nothing dripped but had a strong odor after a fill up. Replaced tank and odor went away.

Edited: You need to find out what’s causing the fumes, they are EXPLOSIVE. Like @insightful said, a hole in the top of the tank or a filler tube leak are high on the list of possibilities.

Do you “top off” you gas tank by trying to get that last little bit in? If so you may be flooding the vapor capturing system.

OP says he does not add gas after pump clicks. This sounds like smoke test time.

I absolutely agree that it needs to be found.
Until it is, I STRONGLY URGE, even BEG you, please do NOT park this in the garage. This is an extremely dangerous scenario. Gasoline fumes are highly volatile, and a flame could easily travel to the gas tank.

Remove the cover on top of the engine and see if you can see any black junk around the injectors and give it a good sniff. My 95 Dodge was recalled for bad o-rings on the fuel rail. I took it in for the recall and it had no leaks. When they were done it squirted gas everywhere. They had to redo it.

Try Beano or Gas-X.

I agree with @the same mountainbike DO NOT park it in the garage even with the door open.

Ditto. You’ve got a leak. I would have that when I filled up. I had rust on the top of my tank so when it was filled it would seep out on the top. No gas on the ground. Finally crawled under the car and reached up on the top of the tank and it was wet. New tank and all was well. Don’t forget that gas fumes flow to the floor and fumes ignite, not like liquid gas.

If it’s a fuel leak near the tank . . . it might just be a rotten filler hose or a flat fuel sender seal

I agree that the evap/smoke machine should quickly pinpoint the leak, if that is the case

Thanks all. If there’s a hole in the top of the tank, why wouldn’t this happen more often? I was wondering if it’s possible that some gas station pump nozzles automatically shut off later than others and overfill the gas tank/filler.

It could be a small hole that only leaks when the tank is full. I very much doubt it’s the pump nozzle’s fault.

The seal on the pump housing…where it attaches into the tank…may have a small leak.
Then once in awhile you stop at that station where the pump area is on a slight slope, allowing you to get just a little more gas in the tank before the pump clicks off. Now as you drive, a small amount of gas seeps through the seal and accumulates on the top of the tank. Then you park in your garage and notice the smell of the little gas soaked into the debris on the top of the tank.
It wouldn’t take much…an ounce would do it, and if there is a little debris, sand & road grit, it may be enough to soak up that ounce into a mud and no gas drips.
As a matter of fact, I think all the tanks have a little recessed area around where the pump installs. So the gas could just sit there in that recess.


Gasoline fumes are not only volatile, they are hazardous just to breath. First thing…get the car out of the garage and into the open air.

or put 16 gal of gas in car vs 17 gal? my 96 intrepid had a plastic tank. you reach inlet by removing back seat. would not surprise me to have a bad o-ring on inlet assy.

I suppose it’s possible I don’t fill up and drive directly home often either. I’ll have it checked out and wonder if my tank is plastic too, since the Intrepid and LHS are largely the same car.

Please just get it checked, it could be dangerous.

We had this problem with our 1984 Chevy Impala. It turned out to be a rust perforation on the top of the tank near the filler tube. After $365 and a new gas tank the problem was solved. In winter salt can get lodged on the top of the tank, and promote premature rust, especially in a warm garage or very humid climate.