A car with a leaking gas tank is both a major annoyance and a serious danger, since leaking gasoline can cost you money refilling your tank more often or become a fire hazard. If you suspect your car is leaking gas you need to know how to locate and treat the problem as soon as possible.
In order to identify a car gas leak, you will need to check for signs of leaks, like gas puddles and odor, as well as checking if you run out of gas more frequently. Once you’ve identified the leak you can repair it by jacking up the car to apply car repair epoxy to the damaged section of the tank.
A more specific explanation of how to identify, locate, and repair a leaking gas tank is listed in the article below.
- 1 Steps to Identify and Fix a Gasoline Leak
- 2 Can you Drive on a Leaking Gas Tank?
- 3 Should you Use a Professional Mechanic?
- 4 Wrap Up
Steps to Identify and Fix a Gasoline Leak
Fixing a leaking gas tank is not an easy process, so closely following a clear set of instructions is essential to properly repairing the damage.
Step 1: Look for Signs of a Leak
The first step to fixing a leaky gas tank is identifying if you have one in the first place, since there are many types of leaks you can have. If you suspect you have a leak in your gas tank, follow these steps and look for the signs of a leak.
- Step 1: A gas leak will cause your car to go through fuel faster than normal since extra fuel will be running out of the broken tank, so check your gas gauge often.
- Step 2: If there is a gasoline smell around your car, especially after you park it in an enclose space like a garage, this can also be a sign you have a leak.
- Step 3: Look for puddles of translucent liquid under your car whenever you stop somewhere.
All of these issues are signs that your gas tank is leaking and you should address the issue quickly.
Step 2: Locate your Gas Tank
In order to repair your gas tank, you’ll need to know not only where it is but also where all the gas lines run under your car. To do that you’ll need the owner’s manual, a carjack, and a flashlight.
- Step 1: Find the gas tank in the schematics in your owner’s manual or online, if you can’t find them in the manual.
- Step 2: Ratchet up part of your car with the jack so you can get underneath to find the gas tank.
- Step 3: Use the flashlight to locate the gas tank and gas lines under the car so you’ll know where they are later.
Once you’ve identified your gas tank and lines, you can start repairing them.
Step 3: Find Repair Materials
In order to repair a leaking gas tank, you’ll need certain materials to help you get under the car, clean the tank, and fix the leak:
- Gas tank repair epoxy
- A car jack and jack stands
- High-grain sandpaper
- Degreaser solution
- Wash rags
- Rubber or vinyl gloves
- Safety glasses
- A filtered mask
Also, depending on how you want to drain the fuel from your gas tank, you will need a siphon or a large, deep tray to place under your car while the tank drains. Most auto part and repair stores should have the supplies you are looking for in stock.
Step 4: Drain and Prepare your Tank
The first real step to repairing a leaky gas tank is making sure the fuel tank is empty and the car is cool enough to operate under. There are a few ways to go about this.
- Step 1: Drive your car around until the fuel tank is very nearly empty, then let it idle wherever you are going to repair it until the car runs out of gas.
- Optional Step: You can also drain the gas tank by sliding a pump or siphon hose into the tank through the fuel door and pumping the gas out.
- Step 2: Let the car sit until the engine block and exhaust systems are cool.
- Optional Step: Jack up the car and place it on the jack stands before crawling underneath, finding the gas tank plug, and draining the tank into a tray or bucket.
No matter what steps you take, the car must be cool and empty before you start making repairs to the gas tank.
Step 5: Apply Epoxy
With your tank empty and your car cooled off enough to safely touch, you can start repairing the damaged tank.
- Step 1: Wipe down the tank and the hoses with degreaser and a cleaning cloth, then wipe them dry.
- Step 2: Sand the area around the damage flat using the sandpaper, but be careful not to damage the fuel tank.
- Step 3: Cut and shape a small amount of epoxy, enough to cover and fill the damaged section. Then press the epoxy into the damaged area.
Epoxy takes between 24 and 72 hours to fully cure and dry, depending on the brand and chemical composition. Be sure to check the instructions to see what the recommended wait time is.
Step 6: Test the Dried Seal
Once the epoxy is dry you can start testing the new seal to see if it is secure or if there are any more leaks in your gas tank.
- Step 1: Refill your gas tank as you normally would. Having a gas can in your home can help here, since your car should still be out of gas.
- Step 2: As you drive, occasionally check for signs of a gas leak as listed in step 1.
- Step 3: If you do have a leak, reexamine your gas tank to see if the seal is broken or if there is another issue.
Repeat these steps until you have repaired all the damage to your fuel system and your gas tank no longer leaks.
By following these simple steps, you can identify and repair leaks in your gas tank to ensure your car is fully operational and safe to drive.
Can you Drive on a Leaking Gas Tank?
Technically speaking you can drive on a leaking gas tank, if you need to, but you should try to repair the damage as soon as possible. Driving on a leaking gas tank is dangerous for a variety of reasons both obvious and some less obvious ones.
Leaking gas is highly flammable. Gasoline is burned in order to drive your vehicle and it will burn just as well outside your vehicle. If a puddle of leaking gasoline has built up under your car, one spark can cause a massive and dangerous fire under your vehicle. Not to mention leaking gas on the road can cause similar problems for other drivers behind you.
Your gas tank might be more damaged than you think. A leaking gas tank can be caused by a small puncture or crack, but it can also be caused by major damage, warping or rotting, all of which are dangerous. If your gas tank rips open or even falls apart entirely while you are driving this will be extremely dangerous to both you and every driver behind you.
Other parts of your car might be damaged. While a gas leak itself won’t cause more damage to your car, it can indicate that other parts of your car need repairs. The drivetrain, tires, exhaust, and other fluid systems are all located, at least partially, under your car and if your gas tank is damaged these components might be damaged as well without you realizing.
You’ll run out of gas faster. Even if you have a relatively small leak, a broken gas tank can easily cost you money in the long run due to extra fuel draining out of your car. Running out of gas at the wrong time can leave you stranded miles from anyone that can help.
Should you Use a Professional Mechanic?
While there are ways to repair a leaking gas tank at home, professional mechanics offer a number of benefits that you should keep in mind. Professionals might be more expensive than home repairs, but they also give more comprehensive services.
They have specialized knowledge of car repair. Professional mechanics often have training or education in how to repair vehicles so they know more about cars than the average car owner. Because of this they can diagnose and fix a wide range of problems that might be contributing to your leaky gas tank.
They have the tools and equipment to make hard fixes. Repairing a gas tank will always involve getting underneath the vehicle to repair the tank and hoses, which isn’t always easy at home. A mechanic shop will almost always have the tools and resources to get underneath a vehicle and make difficult repairs.
They can order special replacement parts easily. Professional mechanics will have connections with distributors and manufacturers, letting them order replacement parts quicker and easier. Finding the right parts to replace a broken fuel line or a damaged tank can be difficult on your own, especially if you don’t know where to look.
They can diagnose and fix multiple problems at once. Due to their combined knowledge, skills, and resources, mechanics can run diagnostics on your car to identify and repair multiple issues at once. Going to a mechanic can be an efficient way of not only addressing a leaky gas tank, but any other problems with your vehicle.
While a leaking gas tank can be a serious issue for both your wallet and your personal safety, with the right tools and understanding it is also easy to repair. If you have any questions about a leaking gas tank or other vehicle leaks, comment with them below.
Hi, I am Brad. Car Independent is your source for independent views on cars and car accessories. Whether you looking to buy a new car or something cool for your car, you have many options. My aim to help you make the best-informed choices.