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Q: Fuel smell

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My 2000 4 cyl Camry has a strong gas smell when I start it. My mileage has dropped and remote start has difficulty starting car. Strong gas smell coming out of exhaust. Changed oil and cleaned air filter. Replaced plugs 2 weeks ago, Seafoamed gas tank and crankcase. Ran several tanks of 87 octane regular gas and 89 octane ethanol. Any ideas? Thanks, Randy

My car has 125000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

There are a number of things that can cause poor fuel mileage. A faulty camshaft position sensor is one of them. The camshaft position sensor is a magnetic sensor that monitors camshaft speed to regulate ignition timing and fuel injection timing. It gathers and sends information about the car’s camshaft speed (and as a result the position of each piston) to the car’s electronic control module. This information is received by the computer, which then uses this data to further calculate the time of ignition and the timing of fuel injection required by the engine. When this is not working properly, you may experience a drop in power, poor idling, poor fuel mileage and problems starting the vehicle.

A clogged or dirty EGR valve may also cause poor fuel mileage. The EGR valve is a small component designed to allow the flow of exhaust gases into the intake manifold in controlled amounts. Whenever you start the engine, the valve comes alive and waits in a closed position, blocking the flow of exhaust gases. Once the engine reaches operating temperature and speed increases, the valve, either through vacuum or electronic control will gradually open, allowing burned exhaust gases to enter and combine with the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber. When the EGR valve is clogged or dirty, as they are prone to, it may not function properly causing the engine idle rough, stall at idle speeds, cause the car to get poor fuel mileage, or emit a strong smell of fuel due to excess hydrocarbons which also results in failing emissions tests.

A clogged or failing catalytic converter can cause the vehicle to have poor fuel economy. As you may already know, the catalytic converter converts toxic exhaust gases into less harmful pollutants that are suitable to be expelled into the atmosphere. When this is clogged, this causes these gases to be backed up into the exhaust system not allowing the engine to breathe properly. When this happens, the engine is forced to work much harder to expel these gases. This often results in the engine bogging down, hesitating, shaking and causing very poor fuel economy. I would recommend having a professional from YourMechanic come to your location to diagnose and inspect your vehicle.

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