Fuel Tanks: What You Need to Know

It seems like your fuel tank has a straightforward role to play: hold the gas needed to get your car from point A to point B. You won’t ever have a problem with your fuel tank, right?

fuel tank

Hopefully you’re right, but just in case, know what to look for in a potential gas tank issue before it poses a safety threat.

Have Your Fuel Tank Inspected Regularly

Your mechanic checks your brakes, your tires and your fluid levels, but do they check the condition of your fuel tank? Make sure you ask them to look at this important component of your car during a regular service appointment.

If your gas tank is made of metal, your mechanic should check it for rust and corrosion, which can eat through the tank and cause a leak. Road salt and condensation contribute to the rusting of metal fuel tanks. Polyethylene gas tanks can be damaged from road debris like gravel.

All the mounting hardware also should be checked to make sure it’s tight and secure.

As with many vehicle systems, regular inspections play an important role in identifying the early beginnings of a problem before it causes major damage. Fuel tanks are no exception.

The Tank’s Cap Must Be Secure

Many car owners assume they have a fuel tank leak because they can smell gasoline, but it turns out the issue lies with the tank’s cap.

Besides preventing water, dust and debris from entering the gas tank, the cap plays a vital role in the vehicle’s evaporative emissions system. It captures fuel vapors for reuse that would otherwise escape and evaporate.

If the cap is loose, cracked or worn, you may smell a distinct fuel odor when the car is running. Your mechanic can identify the problem and replace or repair the cap to eliminate the smell. While it’s not a safety threat, it can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency and cause the check engine light to come on.

It’s Not Safe to Drive with a Leak

If you believe you could have a fuel tank leak, don’t ignore it. Leaking gasoline needs only a spark to set off a combustion and vehicle fire. You put yourself and other motorists at risk if you don’t attend to a gas tank issue immediately.

If you smell gas or see fuel leaking beneath the vehicle, call your mechanic before driving your car. They may suggest you get the car towed to the shop or at least drive directly to the garage. Whatever you do, do not smoke in your vehicle if you suspect a gas leak.

You Need a Trained Mechanic

Fuel tank problems aren’t always easily diagnosed or repaired — you need a mechanic trained specifically for this issue. It’s important to resolve fuel tank problems immediately, both for vehicle fuel efficiency and your personal safety. Call State Automotive today if your gas tank is out of order. We can help.