Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Gas smell when gas needle is on empty - 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue

asked by on

why is am smelling gas when my gas needle is on E
My car's transmission is unknown to me.

A: There are many reasons that the smell of fu...

There are many reasons that the smell of fuel may be present; however, this may suggest that you have a problem with your evaporative emissions system. The EVAP system prevents fuel vapors from the fuel tank from escaping into the atmosphere. The EVAP system collects and temporarily stores the fuel vapors in the charcoal canister. The charcoal canister is filled with activated carbon pellets that can absorb the fuel vapors. When the engine is running, the fuel vapors are purged from the canister and burned in the engine.

The vent control valve (solenoid) controls the flow of outside air in and out of the charcoal canister. One side of the vent valve is connected to the charcoal canister, and the other side is connected to the vent hose that has a filter or screen at the end and is attached to the car body or frame. In some cars, the vent valve is attached to the canister; in others, it’s installed separately near the canister. The vent valve is controlled by the engine computer (PCM).

Normally, the vent valve is open. It closes when the engine computer tests the EVAP system for leaks. If a leak in the EVAP system is detected, the Check Engine Light will illuminate on the dash and the trouble code related to the problem will be stored in the engine computer. When an air leak is present in the EVAP system, the MAP sensor will not be able to determine the air density, and the MAF sensor will not be able to determine the volume of air entering the engine correctly.

This will lead to an over-fueling situation or an under-fueling situation, depending on the size of the air leak and engine operating speeds and load. This may eventually lead to the destruction of the catalytic converter as well. I would recommend having an expert mechanic, such as one from YourMechanic, come to your home to take a look at your car to diagnose your EVAP purge solenoid.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Car stalling going up incline

It sounds like this may be related to a faulty throttle position sensor or potentially a dirty or failing mass air flow sensor. The mass air flow sensor monitors air intake as it is mixed with fuel prior to being...

Q: speed odometer isn't showing the speed and abs light is on

Have a certified technician diagnose why the abs light is on. There are a number of sensors that the abs system relies on to determine things like vehicle speed, individual wheel speed, throttle and brake pedal positions,etc. If any one...

Q: Car shut off at the traffic light - 1994 Jaguar XJS

This is most likely a fuel pump fuse or fuel pump relay acting up. Given the age of your Jaguar, electrical power to the pump is quite likely. Have a professional mechanic, like YourMechanic, inspect the stalling issue and proceed...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...