A fuel leak is when gasoline leaks from the gas tank of the vehicle. Underneath the car will be a spot of fuel on the pavement, along with the strong smell of gasoline. A fuel leak should not be ignored, so as soon as you notice these signs, it is time to make an appointment with a mechanic right away. Here are some insightful pointers that will tell you why it is not safe to drive with leaking fuel:
Ignoring a fuel leak is a fire risk because gas is flammable. Since gas is leaking from your vehicle, it can take just a little something to set it off, such as a discarded cigarette or a spark in the right spot. Fix the leak as soon as possible, so as not to danger yourself or others.
Fuel leaks happen over time because the fuel tank rots, gets old, or fails. If this happens, the entire thank may need to be replaced. It is much better to have a safe tank than one that is a fire hazard.
Some fuel leaks happen because of a small hole in the fuel tank. If this happens, a mechanic can repair the hole without having to replace the entire tank. This is a pretty straightforward fix that is both safe and affordable.
A fuel leak does have a gasoline smell to it, and the gasoline does contain carbon monoxide. This chemical is dangerous when inhaled, and can cause cold and flulike symptoms. If you are experiencing a fuel smell in your vehicle, along with a headache and nausea while driving, it may be a sign of a fuel leak and exposure to carbon monoxide. You will want to air the vehicle out and consult a physician immediately.
Another safety precaution to take into consideration is if you do suspect a fuel leak, and you have to wait a couple days to get your car to the mechanic, is to not smoke in your vehicle. Smoking can increase the risk of fire, especially with the gasoline fumes.
A fuel leak is something you should get checked out by a professional mechanic right away, as it is a fire hazard. Do not smoke in the vehicle and be careful while driving until the appointment with the mechanic. While it does not affect the actual handling of the vehicle, it is a safety hazards and should be taken care of.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Is it Safe to Drive With a Fuel Leak? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.