If you didn't need a new gas tank yet, you probably would real soon.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

I took my 1989 Mazda 626 LX to a garage and told them I smelled gas near the
tank after driving. They said that water collects on the top of the tank in
these cars, and after 10 years it probably rusted through. They charged me a lot
to replace the tank, and guess what? I still smell gas near the tank after
driving. Is it possible the tank was in need of replacing anyway? How do I get
them to fix it right this time? -- David

RAY: How do you get them to fix it right? Give them more money! That always
works for our customers.

TOM: Unfortunately, they guessed wrong. Almost all cars do have that problem
with gas tanks rusting from the top. The tank is wedged up under the floor pan
of the car. And on a 10-year-old car with a gas smell at the tank, that was a
reasonable guess. And yes, you probably would have needed a tank in the near
future anyway, and, in fact, maybe you even needed it now.

RAY: But you certainly should go back and let them know that the problem is not
fixed. It could be a gas line going to or from the tank. And if they didn't
replace all of the rubber lines while they had the tank out, they were certainly
remiss. If that's what's leaking, they should do that job for the cost of parts
only and not charge you labor again.

TOM: But it could also be the vapor recovery system that's leaking. And if that
is the case, it would be fair of them to charge you for that additional repair.

RAY: This is one of those cases where they screwed up, but did so in a very
reasonable way. They've probably seen so many gas smell problems that resulted
from rusty tanks that they just replace them automatically. You were the
exception to the rule, but based on my experience, you would have needed the
tank real soon anyway.

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