Old Car Sending Gas Smell into the House

We volunteered to store my dad’s 64 Corvair convertible in our garage in exchange for driving privileges. The car was parked for 10 years and just recently got the mechanical attention needed to get it driving again, and it is doing well except for the really strong gas smell it is sending into the house from the garage.

Unfortunately the kids’ bedrooms are on that half of the house and it is so strong I don’t like them sleeping back there. I’m not sure that running the laundry room fan is the best long-term solution.

Why is the car so smelly and what can be done about it? It is about to get an eviction notice and end up covered on the driveway.

You must evict it immediately, it poses both a health and explosion risk. Do it today, worry about fixing it tomorrow.

Gasoline vapors are hazardous in more ways than one. No one should be breathing them, and with the right spark you could lose your house.


Move the car outside until the leak is found and repaired. Yes, there is a leak. Somewhere.

Move the car immediately. You have a gasoline leak.

Will do!

Is the smell just from the thing sitting there, or is it that it has an extremely strong gas smell in the exhaust when you’ll pulling it in and out of the garage?

I do agree with the others that you should get this looked at quite urgently, but old cars do have non-sealed gas tanks, vented carburetors and no emissions equipment to speak of. They do smell quite strongly to modern noses (to some of us that smell is half the appeal!). So it could be normal, or it could just need a tune up. Or it could be leaking gas, so checking it would be good.

Nope the smell is just from sitting there. It is parked on cardboard and we don’t see any evidence of an obvious leak, but of course that doesn’t mean it isn’t. You’re right they do smell in general, I just don’t remember it being so strong that it filled the house. I’ll leave it out until I can get it back to the mechanic, now that we finally found one that can work on it.

Those old cars all had OPEN FUEL TANK VENTING!!! The gas cap is vented! Todays gasoline is formulated at high “vapor pressure” because todays fuel systems can handle it. The carburetor(s) are open vented too!! Outside with them!!!