What is that smell, Kurtis?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

I own a 1965 Studebaker. It runs fine except that once in a while, a strong smell of gas comes through the vents and into the cockpit. Because of these fumes, the last date I had relieved her stomach on an otherwise beautiful star-lit evening. If I close the vents, the smell goes away. I've looked around, but I can't see any gas leaking. What can I do?

RAY: Just because you don't SEE any gas leaking doesn't mean there isn't a leak. Vapors or fumes alone can create a very strong gasoline odor inside your car. There's a gas leak somewhere, Kurtis, and there are two ways to find it.

TOM: The best way would be to have your mechanic use his emissions tester to search for the leak. Emissions testers are designed to detect unburned hydro carbons in the exhaust. But they can also be used to detect unburned hydrocarbons else??where (raw gas is nothing but unburned hydrocarbons).

RAY: If he can't find the leak with the emissions detector, you can always try looking around under the hood with a lit match. That way, your leak will be both located AND eliminated at the same moment. In fact, if you find a gas leak that way, you won't have any more problems with this Studebaker. You probably won't even have to file a tax return next April!

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