Why Your F150 Smells Like Gas + How to Fix & When Dangerous


Ford f150 smells like gas

The smell of gas is never pleasant, and its much worse when confined to the small space of your Ford F150’s cab. Having to take a whiff of gasoline in these situations can be dizzying, and it’s actually a big problem for F150 owners.

But why does your F150 smell like gas, or even like rotten eggs as some drivers have described it? Well, there’s a short answer, and some long answers. The short explanation is below, followed by my gas smell busting tips for Ford F150 owners.

Why does my Ford F150 smell like gas? The smell of gas in a Ford F150 can be coming from several sources, including the evaporative emissions system (EVAP), a faulty gas cap, an overfilled tank, or a dangerous gas leak. 

This article details these and less common reasons for gas smells in your F150.

Ford F150 smells like gas: the problems & solutions 

If you are filling your gas tank correctly and still smelling gasoline, this article will help you to identify and fix the problem before you pass out! You shouldn’t have to suffer the fumes while sitting in your car or when parked in your garage.

What to do if you smell gas in your F150?

Smelling gasoline coming from your truck is one of those things that you don’t want to ignore. Because we are dealing with the potential for volatile fuel, you might assume the worst.

When the smell of gas comes from your F150, it could be due to a dangerous gas leak. Do not drive your F150 until you figure out where the gas smell gas is coming from.

You could either tow it to a mechanic or go through a checklist of possible reasons your F150 is smelling like gas. It might not be a dangerous situation, but it pays to be very cautious.

I will also look at the less dangerous reasons why your F150 might be smelling like gas in the first half. Then in the second half of the article, I will explain how to identify and diagnose a dangerous leak coming from your gas tank, engine, or other vital parts.

Will I smell gas if I have a capless gas tank?

Yes, you probably will. The smell of gas is one of the drawbacks of having a capless gas tank. The tight neck has two doors that hinge open when you insert a gas pump nozzle. However, the seal can be imperfect, and the vapors from your truck’s gas tank tend to waft out.

Vapro escaping is especially true if you have just filled the gas tank at the pump.

If you have just filled your capless gas tank, you will probably be able to smell the fuel standing outside your F150. The gas smell may also be strong in the cab of the truck.

Don’t even think about parking your F150 with a capless gas tank in the garage and closing the door right after filling up! That can be hazardous for reasons I really don’t need to explain.

The thing is; every time you get a full tank, it smells. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework. Go through the checklist on this article to ultimately make sure that a larger quantity of vapors or fuel is escaping and leaking from your gas tank, fuel lines, or even engine.

The tell-tale sign of problems more than just a stinky full tank is if the exhaust pipe smells like fuel or is belching black smoke. Follow along with this list of the top reasons your F150 smells like gas and rest assured you know the cause of that pungent gas odor.

If your F150 smells like gas, but it’s not a gas leak

There are several reasons why you may be smelling gas in the cab of your F150r, right outside it, or when parked inside a confined location. Remember to treat the smell of gasoline as if there is an actual gas leak until you identify one of these secondary reasons for the smell of fuel.

This way, you can be as safe as possible as you diagnose the problem. This first part of the list is the reason you can fix it at home.  These are also cheap fixes with minimal need for tools and inexpensive components.

#1 Gas vapor on the F150

Probably the most common reason for the smell of gas with your F150 is the exposure to fuel on the ground. The vapor can evaporate up onto your truck and remain there for some time. It is also possible that you stepped in gas and tracked it into the cab of the truck.

Either way, the pungent odor of fuel should be gone after a short while. If the scent remains after a week, you may need to read on in this article for other reasons to diagnose.

#2 Faulty gas cap

The gas cap on your F150 will stop evaporation from the fuel tank. Evaporation is the release of vapors from gasoline. However, the rubber and plastic materials that make up the cap can deteriorate over time. Mix in volatile chemicals in gas, and there is a possibility that the gas cap has become faulty.

Slowly, over time gas vapor can leak from the gas cap that now no longer fully tightens down on the fuel tank neck. Gas caps for an F150 are inexpensive.

According to an online vendor Advanced Auto Parts, there are nearly 50 different gas caps for an F150, and they start at a low price of around $7.

We all wish for such a cheap fix.

#3 Faulty fuel pressure regulator

The job of the fuel pressure regulator is to control the pressure and amount of fuel. The regulator is how fuel mixes with air in the engine.  If the fuel regulator has become broken or faulty, the mixture of air and fuel may be way off.

If you have a defective fuel pressure regulator, the smell of gasoline will be pronounced in your F150. You will notice the scent of gas and black smoke from the tailpipe.

To fix this problem, you will need to get a new fuel pressure regulator. Replacing a fuel pressure regulator can be a home fix with parts and tools that cost around $100-$500 depending on your model and year, according to yourmechanic.com, a parts servicer online.

Figure you will also be spending another amount of money on about 5 hours of labor for the full price estimate of the replacement for a fuel pressure regulator.

#4 Broken canister

The canister in the fuel system is on top of the engine. This component ensures that gasoline vapor entering the engine from the fuel lines does not escape into the environment. The canister is a plastic component that has the potential to break, destroy, or fail in other ways.

If the canister has been unable to work, vapor from the fuel line will leak out and cause the scent of gas. The smell will be most potent in your car. Also, a broken canister will most likely force the check engine light on.

#5 Older model F150s

When we say older models, we are talking about the 1980s Ford trucks. The fuel system was different back then. 1980s fuel systems included the “fuel afterboil” in the float bowl of the carburetor. This older system typically leaves the scent of gas after you shut the engine off.

Handy Hint: In fact, these faults on older models occasionally get listed as complaints in the best and worst years for Ford F150s.

The F150 gas smell should go away after a while. Newer trucks have the EVAP system that helps with evaporation collection.

If the smell of gas does not go away on your older vehicle, you may want to investigate the other reasons detailed in this article.

#6 Topping off the fuel tank

Your Ford F150 was not designed to be topped off. If you click the fuel pump trigger five or six times, you are topping off. Getting that last quarter gallon into your tank could cause gas smells.

If you top off your fuel tank in this way, you probably notice that the scent is overpowering right after filling up and then goes away once you drive for a little bit. This is because once the fuel level goes down and is no longer overfilled, you should not smell the gas anymore.

Do not top off your F150 tank and see if that fixes the problem right there!

If your F150 smells like gas and it is a gas leak

Since gasoline is a product that evaporates quickly, it can be tough to see where the fuel is coming from and where the scent is located. A tip for identifying if you have a fuel leak problem is to compare the fuel economy in MPG to fuel economy MPG from months past.

If you notice a significant drop in the MPG but are driving the same (speed, grade, distance, etc.), this may indicate a fuel leak.

Fuel will leak from only a few places on your F150. These are severe problems with the fuel system so if you find any of these problems, consult with a certified auto technician. They may be able to help suggest the safest and most efficient way to tackle the leak.

Remember, a gas leak is extremely flammable. Your F150 should not be driven if any of these leaks are found and diagnosed. The following is a list of the possible places where that gasoline is leaking and causing the smell of fuel.

#7 Leak from the gas tank

Leaks from the gas tank are a terrible problem to have. If you leak from the gas tank, it is most likely from the neck where the gas is poured down into the container.

The tank’s neck has a lining that seals it to the tank, and this, just like the gas cap, can become faulty and fouled over time.

If you replace the gas tank neck, this should resolve the problem, and you should not smell gas leaking anymore.

#8 Faulty fuel lines

A visual inspection of fuel lines can show you if there is a leak or not. Also, is there a pool of gas under the car where you park overnight? This should indicate the leak is coming from the fuel lines.

Gas leaking from the fuel lines is hazardous. Your F150 cannot be driven until this problem has been taken care of. Consider towing your truck to the mechanic’s shop and have the work needed to be done before you drive your F150 again.

#9 Flooding injectors

If your injectors are putting too much fuel into the engine, that is called flooding. When an injector floods the engine with fuel, this is dangerous and can cause a fire. The entire engine can get filled with gasoline, and so can the intake valves.

This can cause a significant leak of fuel everywhere out of the engine and leave you with a big mess and not to mention gas smells in your F150.

The signs that you are flooding your engine with a faulty injector are fast cranking with different or strange engine sounds. The smell of gas is a tell-tale sign of flooding in the engine, especially gas smell coming from the exhaust.

And finally, if the car does not start, or starts for a little while and then shuts off. These combined things can point in the direction of faulty injectors that need replacement and a flooding engine that needs attention from a mechanic.

F150 gas smells and flooded engines

Flooded engines happen all the time, and usually when the weather is colder, and the engine needs more fuel to heat up. The worst problem with a flooded engine is that the engine fills and leaks fuel everywhere.

A leaking engine gets delicate components wet with fuel, such as the spark plugs, which then makes the vehicle hard to start. Flooding is most common in the smallest 4-banger engines but can happen to larger engines if the injector is faulty for long enough.

How to fix a flooded engine

You will want to fix your flooded engine with no one else near the tailpipe. Also, make sure the exhaust will not go into windows or doors, as the smoke with probably is black and thick. In other words, make sure you can ventilate the area around your car before you attempt to fix your flooded engine.

Give the flooded engine one or two tries by yourself. However, messing around with an engine filling up with fuel is dangerous.

If you can’t make this fix work quickly, get your F150 towed to a mechanic’s shop.

Step #1: Crank the engine

Cranking the engine and pressing the accelerating to the floor opens the injector up then closes it. Accelerating preps the engine to start.

Step #2: Crank for up to 10 seconds

Cranking your engine sounds rough, but you can try for up to 10 seconds. If it doesn’t catch and start, stop, and try from step #1 again. You should only try this once, maybe two times.

The more you try, the more the engine can flood. A flooded engine is a fire hazard. Revving the motor could be like throwing a spark into the fuel.

Step #3: Rev the engine once it starts

After the engine catches and starts, allow it to rev up for a few seconds. Once the engine is going, hold the accelerator so that the engine is running higher than a typical idle. Do this for several seconds before moving on.

Step #4: Call for assistance or Drive Away

If the car doesn’t start after 10 seconds, get professional help. A flooded engine that is leaking badly can ignite at any moment. Also, continuing to rev the engine could cause the spark that sets the engine on fire.

Do yourself a surveyed favor and call a professional after ten seconds. If the car starts and revs, drive away with a happy fixed car that is no longer flooded!

Conclusion

The smell of gas in your F150 can mean big trouble in the wrong circumstances. The ignition of fuel coming from your car can cause severe harm and even death! Not to mention, the smell is very strong and headache worthy.

Taking care of the gas smell coming from your F150 will keep you safe and can even protect the components of your truck.

However, there are some reasons you are smelling gas that is not so bad. Treat the smell as a fuel leak that is dangerous until to discover the source of the scent. If you do, you will be a whole lot safer and more thorough with your diagnosis.

Most reasons for gas smells coming from your F150 can be diagnosed at home. Again, I do suggest consulting with a certified auto technician if you discover any of the gas leaks found in the second half of this article.

Asking a certified professional can help you to be safe. Also, you will get information about the best local parts if you decide to fix the leak or vapor smells yourself.

Josh Henderson

Hi I'm Josh and I'm a huge pickup enthusiast. I started this website in 2018 in order to share all my projects and custom mod tips that I've done with my own Ford F-150.

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