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Why My Car Is Leaking Oil and Smells Like Gas Learn Signs, Causes and Fixes

Why My Car Is Leaking Oil and Smells Like Gas? Learn Signs, Causes and Fixes

There could be a handful of possibilities you could smell fuel in the engine oil of your car. It could be that you had the oil changed and caught a whiff of gas or spot the tailpipe leaving dense smoke off the engine.

It isn’t important how you came to know about your engine oil smelling like gas, learning the causes to find a solution sure is, and we’d stick to that. The ultimate goal of compiling this guide is to educate you on why your car’s oil smells like gas, so you don’t end up opening the whole engine wide, while the problem was merely in a spark plug.

But before we explore the causes, wouldn’t it make more sense to find out if the oil smelling like gas is a warning sign or a common phenomenon? It definitely will, and keeping that in mind, here is if it’s bad to smell fuel in the engine oil of your car.

Is it bad that your oil smells like gas?

It’s no surprise that the thought of ‘my car is leaking oil and smells like gas’ keeps hitting your mind since the day you found out about it, and now deliberating over is it bad, and what could have caused it? You don’t have to do that anymore, as the explicit answer to your question is yes! It is bad, and why it’s bad is a result of a variety of factors that are as follows:

1. Unchanged Oil

The first cause or reason that your oil smells like gas is due to unchanged oil. To put it simply, it was long ago you had your oil changed, which is now causing problems with your vehicle’s engine. That said, if you keep driving your car on the same old oil, it would soon start smelling like the gas or fuel you fill your tank with and add to your dilemma that you need to get your engine inspected.

Before proceeding with anything you have assumed or read on the internet, we’d suggest you get an oil change to see the difference and then decide your next move.

2. Recurring Short Trips

How about we tell you that whether or not you smell fuel in your engine oil, there is always a small fuel quantity available, which evaporates into gas and finds its way out through the tailpipe upon long drives or trips, for that’s how the engine heats up, causing the fuel to evolve into gas, and not in the shorter trips.

On the contrary, when you drive your car for shorter trips more frequently, the fuel keeps on accumulating in noticeable quantity, enough to make you realize that dear brother, it’s time to pay your mechanic a visit, and get it inspected for a consistent solution.

3. Malfunctioned Carburetor

First of all, it’s only the vintage cars whose carburetors catch malfunctioning due to the butterfly valve getting stuck and letting in more than required airflow to the air-fuel mixture. The same valve also controls the quantity of fuel for an optimal mixture.

Now, when this valve gets stuck in the middle, both the fuel and air get to run down in indefinite quantities, which forces the fuel to find its way to the oil pan and make the oil smell like gas.

The exhaust produced by the car would be dark and smell twice as much like gas as before. In addition to that, your car would misfire more often and would act up while starting, some of the most common signs you need to let your mechanic tune your car.

4. Malfunctioned Fuel Injector

Vehicles manufactured from 1995 and onwards don’t feature a carburetor anymore, as they are replaced with fuel injectors, which are the advanced and more precise form of the discontinued components, used for supplying an optimal quantity of fuel to the combustion chamber.

However, being advanced doesn’t make them invulnerable to the damages or malfunctions, they can still get clogged, broken, or dirty to provide either decreased or enhanced quantity of fuel, more than required for combustion, which ultimately results in the engine oil of your car smelling like gas.

You may experience hesitation while accelerating your car or sudden hikes and drives in the RPM if it is actually the fuel injectors acting up, and ultimately making the oil smell like gas.

Here are the top fuel injector cleaners for your car that could spare you a handful of bucks.

5. Worn-Out Piston Rings

You may or may not be aware, the piston rings are responsible for maintaining the oil pressure and applying it in optimal quantities. When they wear out, they let go of their duties to an insincere extent, and allow for the fuel, by any means, to run down into the oil pan, and cause your oil to smell like gas.

A clear sign of worn-out pistons could be an increase in the number of times you get an oil change, and your engine exhausting more than usual transparent smoke that smells like gas itself. When you experience these signs, you will need to have your pistons replaced, which isn’t a small expenditure, as it involves screwing out the entire engine and then getting the job done.

6. Incomplete Combustion

At times, the combustion chamber doesn’t ignite the fuel supplied optimally, which leads to the problems like engine knocking or overheating, further causing the fuel to drip down into the oil pan, and resulting in the oil that smells like gas.

If your car is underperforming for a decent time now, and producing that pitching sound upon every startup or while driving, it clearly means that the answer to your question, i.e., why my car is leaking oil and smells like gas? lies in the fact that there has been incomplete combustion in your engine that you need to get checked at once.

Not to forget the spark plugs, which could also be the reason why your combustion chamber isn’t igniting the fuel optimally. However, to fix this, you don’t need to take the whole engine apart, but drive your vehicle to the mechanic, and it’ll tweak a few things to replace the plug with a new one.

You can read more about what causes the spark plus to go bad fast, as it will help you prevent those elements whenever you drive.

What if your oil smells like gas and you keep ignoring it?

To start with, you can’t ignore the oil smelling like gas, as it has a few but highly impactful outcomes that may have you replace your car or spend a fortune getting it repaired. That said, we are listing some of the outcomes below that are most common, but could range up to some uncommon but deadly damages.

  • Less-Viscose Oil

That’s a bit obvious, when you smell fuel in your engine oil, it draws a clear conclusion that there is the existence of fuel in it and that it’d make the oil lose its viscosity. To put it simply, the oil would no longer remain dense but soon evolve into a thinner liquid that would damage the connected components like pistons, valves, pan, the overall engine, etc.

However, it only happens when you have ignored the problem for too long, enough to let your oil be mixed more into fuel and less into itself, and we don’t find the need to discuss the aftermath more than we already have.

You may also be interested in learning what happens if the engine oil is overfilled, as it has an indirect effect on the viscosity of the oil.

  • Overheated Engine

It all starts with the oil losing its viscosity, as it will cause the engine to heat more and cool less. It’s because as long as the oil is dense or viscous, it promotes efficient operations of the engine; however, as it starts losing its lubricating power, you can’t expect anything, but inefficient and overloaded operations of the engine parts, causing it to overheat, and ultimately having you pull your car over a shaded or safe place to let it rest.

Your car then may or may not start again, and you might have to call your friend or towing service to shift it to the nearest service station, being the only solution.

  • Worn-Out Components 

In the light of the above two outcomes, it becomes evident that the parts of the engines would wear out faster and some of them would even break, as they are meant that way. Therefore, by reacting proactively, you can save yourself a decent amount of money, and also your ride that’s on the verge of collapsing.

  • Reduced Mileage

One of the most common outcomes of fuel-induced engine oil is the reduction in mileage. Now how that possibly takes you back to filling up your tank and finding half of it running down to the oil pan, which leaves half of the fuel in the tank, accounting for reduced mileage on each drive.

You can find it out by an increase in the frequency of tank fills, and by measuring the mileage if you think something is wrong with your car.


The answer to why my car is leaking oil and smells like gas lies clear in this guide, in these six causes that let the fuel into the oil pan, and account for deadly damages that could risk your life while driving. You must not ignore this problem, as where you could keep up with changing the oil, you’d now need to invest a fortune for the replacement of parts or even changing the ride.

We are confident that you liked walking through our guide, and therefore inviting you to find the best synthetic oil, which helps your engine perform better.

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