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How to Tell If Your Gas Tank Has a Leak

by Bailey Richert

The fuel system within your vehicle is a complicated collection of many parts, including fuel injection lines, fuel tank, filters and pumps. All of these parts must be working together for the car to run properly. When any one of these parts fails, the system fails. A common problem in this system is for any part to develop a leak from which gas escapes, causing the car to not run properly. The gas tank is one such place where a leak might develop, and identifying it as soon as it occurs will help you repair it sooner.

Watch your gas gauge carefully after you fill your gas tank. Make a note of where the gas gauge is reading before you park your car for an extended period. Note where the gas gauge is when you turn your car on again. The gauge should be at the same location, but if you have a leak in your fuel system, it will show that you have less gas in your tank.

Look in your car's owner's manual to see where your vehicle's gas tank is. Lower your head beneath the bumper of the car, and visually inspect the ground below your tank. If there is a gas leak, there should be a puddle on the ground underneath your car where the gas is leaking out. The size of this puddle will depend on how large the leak is.

Notice the smell around your vehicle after it has been parked for an hour or longer. While some fluid evaporation is normal around your vehicle, the smell of gasoline will be extremely potent if it is leaking from your vehicle.

About the Author

Bailey Richert is a 2010 graduate of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a dual bachelor's degree in environmental engineering and hydrogeology, as well as a master's degree in systems engineering. After several years in the environmental consulting industry, she is now attending MIT for graduate school. An accomplished traveler, she has visited 23 countries and published her first book about international travel in 2014.

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