There are all kinds of features built into your vehicle that help ensure that amount of gasoline vapors that escape from your vehicle are kept to zero or a very small amount. These kinds of fumes can be quite dangerous not just to the environment, but to your health. Breathing them in can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

The evaporative emission control canister is a part that is used to help limit these harmful vapors. The canister works by collecting the fuel vapors that are created in the fuel tank. The canister is also referred to as a charcoal canister since there is literally a brick of charcoal in it. Once the canister collects the vapors, they are then purged so they can be burned off by combustion.

Unfortunately dirt, debris, and dust can start to build inside the emission control canister over time, which will then affect the valves and vent solenoids that work in conjunction with the canister. Once this happens, the system will no longer work as it should. There is also the fact that the charcoal canister can get clogged up due to moisture, or even crack and break. Much of its lifespan depends on where you drive and how many contaminants make it into the canister. It's a good idea to have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic if you suspect it is faulty. Here’s a look at some signs that it may be time to have the evaporative emission control canister replaced:

  • Once the canister becomes clogged, leaking, or broken, you will likely start to smell an odor coming from around the fuel tank. This will smell like raw fuel, so it is quite noticeable.

  • The Check Engine Light will most likely come on once the problem progresses. You'll need to have the computer codes read by a professional mechanic so they can determine the exact cause for the light to come on.

  • Now keep in mind, once this part fails it's very important to have it replaced immediately. If you are leaking fuel vapors it can make you feel quite ill. If fuel starts to leak, then you have a potential fire hazard on your hands.

The evaporative emission control canister ensures that the harmful fuel vapors aren’t released into the air, and left for you to breathe in. If you’re experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms and suspect your evaporative emission control canister is in need of replacement, get a diagnostic or book an evaporative emission control canister replacement service with a professional mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does an Evaporative Emission Control Canister Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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