The gas tank of your vehicle is designed to be fairly resilient; it’s made of heavy-duty materials and positioned in a protected location. However, just like any other automotive component, your car's gas tank can sustain damage. When damage occurs to the tank, the tank can spring a leak, which is a worrisome problem to have but not always as obvious as you may suspect.
Driving with a leaking gas tank is a surefire way to spend more on fuel, but doing so is also dangerous. The leaking fuel can ignite, which creates the risk of fire or an explosion if the flames make it to the tank. If you suspect you have a fuel leak from your tank, look for these signs.
You Smell Fuel Coming From Your Vehicle
Gasoline has a very specific odor; some would even say it smells a little sweet or good. When a vehicle is running, you may sometimes smell fuel as it evaporates or is ignited inside the engine. However, these odors should dissipate rather quickly, and if they don't, you will likely catch a whiff of gas almost all the time. You may smell fuel when:
- You are driving the car down the road
- You walk up to your parked vehicle
- Your car is idling at a stop
If you do smell gasoline at these times, pay close attention to other signs of a leaking tank. In most cases, people who do have a leaking fuel tank will notice the smell before anything else.
You Notice Spots of Moisture Beneath Your Vehicle
Fuel can and will evaporate if it is leaking out really slowly. However, if your car is left parked for a long period, you should see a small wet spot on the pavement where you have parked your vehicle. Take a look at the owner's manual of your vehicle to find the precise location of the tank, and start paying close attention to the area directly below the tank to look for spots.
If you park your car on the pavement, whether it is concrete or blacktop, you should see a darkened spot where the fuel has collected. If the vehicle has been parked on the grass or over any type of live foliage, the growth can grow discolored and die pretty quickly because gasoline is known to kill weeds and grass.
Your Fuel Gauge Drops Without Reason
Perhaps the easiest way to tell if you have a fuel leak is by consistently checking fuel gauge levels. You probably will not be able to tell that your car is leaking fuel while you are driving just by looking at the fuel gauge unless you are losing massive amounts of fuel. You may feel like you are having to fill up more than usual or your tank of gas just doesn't go as far.
What you can do to get a better idea of if you are losing gas from the tank is take note of how much fuel is showing on the gauge when you park the vehicle. If the fuel hand drops substantially when the car has not been running, such as while you're at work or parked overnight, your car might have a leak.
Even a small gas leak is never an issue that should be left unattended. Have your vehicle's fuel tank repaired or replaced by a professional as soon as possible. Contact us at Kell Radiator Service. We offer a full line of new fuel tank replacements and have the necessary experience to make professional repairs. Bring your car to us the moment you suspect you have a leak.