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Smelling gasoline when first starting car may be normal

Natalie in Vancouver, Washington w.a 1994 Toyota Tercel smells gas when she first starts the car. Like the guys said, it could be a leak. But since it only occurs when first starting, this might be normal.

A fuel-injected engine, besides the fuel injectors for each cylinder, has an extra one, called a “cold start injector”, which injects some extra gas during starting. A cold engine needs a rich mixture to start easily. “Cold Start” is usually means less than 95 degrees coolant temp, so it might actually be a warm day, and the cold start injector will still inject extra gas. Some of this extra gasoline can pass right through the engine unburned and out the tailpipe. That could be what Natalie is smelling. Particularly if in a garage, as the fumes can recirculate in closed spaces back into the ventilation air intake. If so, this smell Natalie is smelling may be normal.

Smelling gas when you start the car is not normal in my book and indicative of a problem.

I agree with Barkydog but I did have a friend who had a small block Chevy with a Holley 1150 double pumper. When it started it would kill most of the insects in a city block.

An electronically controlled fuel injected car should not smell gas upon starting. Period.

A small block Chevy with a Holly 1150 double pumper is excused.