If you have been searching on the internet for ways on how to fix a leaking gas tank, chances are, you might be dealing with one. Whether you are dealing with a leaking gas tank or you are just trying to learn how it’s done, it is important that as soon as you notice a gas leak on your vehicle, you need to get it done immediately. Knowing how to fix a leaking gas tank can help you get an idea what needs to be done to stop the leaking. It usually involves draining the tank, locating the leak, cleaning the tank, and covering or patching small leaks with a gas tank sealer or welding the larger ones.
However, there is much more than this process of patching and welding. There are things that you need to do to ensure that you are doing it properly. It can be risky. You can either take your vehicle to a repair shop and have the gas tank fixed or fix it yourself and save some bucks. You need to know how to fix a leaking gas tank the right way and the safe way. You also need to know what causes it, how to spot a leaking gas tank, and everything you need to know!
How to Fix a Leaking Gas Tank: Is a fuel leak dangerous?
A vehicle with a leaking gas tank does not only waste precious gas and money, it is also highly dangerous. Gas is known as flammable and its vapor can create an explosion when it comes into contact with a heat source. The heat source that can cause an explosion can be as simple as a small spark or even just a hot surface. It can ignite the fuel that could put the vehicle’s driver and passengers in danger. In addition, when your gas tank is leaking while driving, it can create a slippery surface for other drivers.
Another reason why fuel leak is dangerous is its smell and the carbon monoxide it emits. When your gas tank is leaking, it tends to have a gasoline smell to it. This chemical when inhaled can be hazardous. If you can smell gas while driving and you suddenly have a headache and nausea, it might be caused by a leaking gas tank and carbon monoxide exposure. If this happens, air your vehicle out, open your windows or doors and consult medical help immediately.
Before you think of ways on how to fix a leaking gas tank, why does it happen in the first place? What causes your gas tank to leak? Here are some of the causes of a leaking gas tank:
- Just like any other components of your car, your gas tank can also wear over time. It gets old, it may decay, or fail due to some contributing factors. Gas leaks can happen over time and when it happens, you might have to replace your entire tank.
- Sharp objects like rocks can be thrown up by your vehicle’s tires while you are driving. It could cause your gas tank to leak. This can happen when there is a severe collision between the sharp object and the tank that could result in your gas tank to become punctured, causing it to leak.
- Corrosion can also cause your gas tank to leak. It usually happens when your car has been exposed to snow and salt. If your gas tank is leaking because of corrosion, it might cause a more serious problem if it is not fixed immediately.
How to Fix a Leaking Gas Tank : Is my gas tank leaking?
Gas tanks are built and made with tough materials and are installed, positioned in the protected area of the vehicle. It is designed to be sturdy that can withstand any conditions. However, it is not without fault and is still prone to damages or failures. When it gets damaged, it can cause a leak. Driving with a leaking gas leak is dangerous and it should be repaired right away. But unfortunately, there are instances where drivers fail to notice that their gas tanks are leaking.
As much as it is useful to know how to fix a leaking gas tank, knowing how to detect one is also important. When you know the signs of a leaking gas tank, you will be able to detect it and you will be able to take immediate actions to correct it.
Here are some of the common signs of a leaking gas tank.
- Fuel smell coming from your vehicle.
Every driver might be familiar with how the fuel smells since it has a very distinct odor. You might smell fuel at times whenever you are driving as it is ignited inside the engine but it usually dissipates fast. If the fuel smell stays for a while or lasts even after you when you are driving, when your car is idling at a traffic stop, or even when you are walking up to it as it’s parked, it can be an indication that you have a leaking gas tank.
- Fuel gauge suddenly drops for no reason.
Probably one of the easiest ways to know that you know that you have a leaking gas tank is by checking your fuel gauge levels regularly. However, when you are driving, you might not be able to notice it unless you are losing an enormous amount of fuel. You might notice that you have to make a trip to a gas station more than you usually do or when you top it up, it seems to not go as far. It might leave you scratching your head, but you can’t really be too sure.
One thing you can do to prove that you are indeed losing a massive amount of fuel caused by a leaking gas tank is to take notice of how much gas is showing on your fuel gauge when you park your car. If your fuel gauge hand drops considerably even when it has not been running or is just parked for a long period, it could mean that you have a leaking gas tank.
- Visible stain or spots of moisture under your car.
If your gas tank is leaking very slowly, the fuel tends to evaporate and you won’t be able to easily spot it. But if your car has not been running and just been parked for a while, you might be able to spot a wet stain on the surface where you have parked it. To make sure that the stain is coming from the gas tank, you can check your owner’s manual to find the exact location of the gas tank. Check for any spots of moisture on the area directly below the gas tank.
You should see a darkened spot if your car is parked on a concrete or a blacktop surface. If it is parked outside on the grass, you should see a spot of withered or dead grass since fuel tends to kill grass or weeds.
How to Fix a Leaking Gas Tank: How do you fix a leak in a metal gas tank?
Knowing how to fix a leaking gas tank can come in handy when you have to deal with one in the future. There are several methods you can use to fix a leaking gas tank. What method you choose really depends on how big the hole in your tank is that causes it to leak. For small leaks or holes, you can use an epoxy putty or a gas tank sealer. Gas tanks that are leaking caused by big holes might need to be welded to be fixed.
Fixing small holes using a gas tank sealer or an epoxy putty.
- To have a better access to your vehicle’s gas tank, you need to jack up your vehicle. When you jack up your car, make sure that it is parked on a solid and flat ground. You also need to make sure that the jack stands are stable before you go underneath your car.
- You need to locate the leak. If the hole is too small, you can wipe your gas tank with a cloth and look for any visible drips. If you find it, you can mark the spot.
- You need to drain the gas tank until the gas level is below the punctured area. If the crack or hole is located on the bottom of the tank, you will have to completely drain the gas.
- The gas tank needs to be close to room temperature in order for you to fix it safely. Allow the car to cool down and let all the heat dissipate from the exhaust to ensure that you don’t get burned or ignite a fire.
- Clean the crack or the surrounding area, making sure that it is free from any dirt and gas. If the instruction from the sealer asks you to sand down your gas tank, you will have to do it to get a better bond with the sealant.
- If you are using a two part sealer, you need to mix the epoxy and the hardener really well. This will ensure that the bond will be strong enough to stop the leaking. Make sure that you know what kind of sealer you are using since there are sealers that don’t need to be mixed.
- Apply a generous amount of sealer covering a large area around the site to make sure that leak will be completely sealed. Make sure that you apply a generous amount since using too little sealant may not be able to seal the leak properly.
- Allow the sealer to dry. The result will be better if you wait at least 24 to 48 hours before you drive your car again. If the weather in your area is cold or humid, it is best that you wait twice as long to make sure.
Fixing larger gas tank leaks or holes.
- Just like the process of fixing small holes using a sealer, fixing larger gas tank leaks also requires you to drain the gas from your tank and make sure that it has been cooled down to room temperature.
- Jack up your vehicle so you can remove your gas tank. You can use a ratchet wrench to pull the fuel hoses off, then you can unscrew the bolts on the straps that hold the tank to the underside of the vehicle to disconnect the gas tank from it. Once done, gently lower the gas tank while squeezing the electrical wires’ wire clips to disconnect them.
- You need to clean the gas tank thoroughly to make sure that all the fuel has been flushed out. Welding a gas tank with fuel in it is extremely dangerous. This is the main reason why you need to learn how to fix a leaking gas tank the right way. The welding torch can ignite the gas fumes that could result in an explosion. To make sure that all the fuel and the fume has been flushed out, you can flush it out with hot water, scrub it off, dump the water, and allow the tank to dry in a sunny area that has a good air circulation. You can flush it out with water several times until it no longer smells like gas.
- You can then proceed to weld your gas tank to fix the leak. You can either get a plastic or a metal welder depending on what type of gas tank you are welding. Make sure that you are wearing protective gears like a welding mask and heat-resistant gloves. Work outdoors if possible so you can get proper ventilation while working. Keep children or pets away out of the area until you’re done welding.
When you know how to fix a leaking gas tank and understand the process, you can save some money by fixing it yourself instead of going to a repair shop. However, you also need to understand that it can be risky since you will be dealing with a leaking fuel which is known to be flammable. You need to make sure that every precautionary measure has been done before you proceed to fix your leaking gas tank.