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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost every time I start the car, a gasoline smell comes out of the vents. It will disappear after a few minutes, but it's really annoying. Anyone else have this issue? I have about 1700 miles on the car and have had it 3 months.
 

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Every fall there are literally thousands of posts like this from every vehicle type owner with internet access.

99.99% of the time the cause is cold temps and cold engines vs fuel rich exhaust finding its way to the front of the car where intake vents are for the HVAC system. Most driveways are sloped and people park nose in. So not only is there hot stinky exhaust moving to the high point under the car but you back out through the cloud of exhaust.

The easiest fix just use the recirculate button on the hvac system so your not drawing exhaust into the hvac.

Drivers from the 60’s and 70’s recall the near gassed out effect those pre Fuel injection and emissions cars had on cold days. Todays cars you might catch a wiff of fuel rich exhaust on cold starts but there are easy ways to avoid it.
 

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...

99.99% of the time the cause is cold temps and cold engines vs fuel rich exhaust finding its way to the front of the car where intake vents are for the HVAC system. ...
The easiest fix just use the recirculate button on the hvac system so your not drawing exhaust into the hvac.
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Or, you could bring it up at a Subaru service appointment and ask the professionals to fix it.
 

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Almost every time I start the car, a gasoline smell comes out of the vents. It will disappear after a few minutes, but it's really annoying. Anyone else have this issue? I have about 1700 miles on the car and have had it 3 months.
Did you ever resolve this issue? I have noticed the same thing, and it is not an exhaust smell, but an engine smell of heated oil/gas.
 

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The fuel delivery system is a closed loop system. The system handles both fuel phases, liquid and vapor. At no point in time, you should smell gasoline unless it's coming out of the exhaust tail pipe.

If you smell the vapor when the engine is in operation, it's likely due to the system that handle the vapor (charcoal canister and purge valve) and deliver it for use.
 

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If you're nervous about it take it in. I've had 2 subarus (both the older foresters) that have had a screw clamp for a fuel line that just worked loose over the years. Leak enough to smell but not enough to pose a fire hazard. Doubtful this is an issue as it would persist and not just be on startup.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Did you ever resolve this issue? I have noticed the same thing, and it is not an exhaust smell, but an engine smell of heated oil/gas.
I have not resolved it yet as I have not had time to go to the dealer. I have noticed that it is NOT on initial start up in the morning. It's after I've driven around a bit and then start the car up again after a stop. I will try to bring it in after Thanksgiving.
 

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We just picked up our Touring last Tuesday. I've already noticed a gasoline smell from the HVAC (without recirc) a handful of times. I notice it while coming to a stop light after cruising for a while. It dissipates quickly, and I haven't been able to spot anything amiss under the hood. This is definitely the smell of raw fuel, and is certainly not exhaust. In the past I've also had fuel line clamps loosen up in the cold on both my WRX and my outback. This is similar but not nearly as pervasive. Ill give some time and see if I can track it down myself, otherwise its simply not worth driving the 50 miles each way to the dealership only to be told they cannot reproduce the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I finally took it in today and, fortunately and unfortunately, they did not find anything wrong. I was there for 2 hours and they searched through the engine and did not find any evidence of a leak. They obviously could not reproduce it because it doesn't happen all the time. He said they searched their database of issues to see if it came up somewhere else and it has not. They checked the fuel line pressure and all was good there. So I basically need to keep a detailed log of when and under what conditions it happens. He wants me to keep track of fuel efficiency as well to see if there is a drop at some point. There have been times where the garage just fills with gas fumes. I've noticed it's always later in the afternoon after I've been driving around for a while (my appointment was in the AM). So, no news to report. If anyone else learns anything, please let me know.
 

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I finally took it in today and, fortunately and unfortunately, they did not find anything wrong. I was there for 2 hours and they searched through the engine and did not find any evidence of a leak. They obviously could not reproduce it because it doesn't happen all the time. He said they searched their database of issues to see if it came up somewhere else and it has not. They checked the fuel line pressure and all was good there. So I basically need to keep a detailed log of when and under what conditions it happens. He wants me to keep track of fuel efficiency as well to see if there is a drop at some point. There have been times where the garage just fills with gas fumes. I've noticed it's always later in the afternoon after I've been driving around for a while (my appointment was in the AM). So, no news to report. If anyone else learns anything, please let me know.
Have you checked your oil level recently? Honda's have been having an issue of gasoline not being burned off in the cylinder and making it's way to the oil pan where the gas will dissipate with enough heat. No one has brought up this issue on Subaru's, but it is something that can happen on an engine for a few reasons. If your oil dip stick reads over-full because of additional gas in the oil it may be something else to pursue.


For anyone else reading, I don't think Honda's issues will also be ours. This is just another troubleshooting item to check off a list.
 

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We are having the raw gas smell too, but ours occurs after driving. The whole garage smells of gas fumes after you pull the car in and close the door. Crazy enough, I sniffed the entire perimeter of the car and found the strongest concentration to come from the top left corner of the front grill. That air duct to the intercooler runs across the top of the grill. Have documented this and another issue with Subaru Customer Support and have an appointment scheduled with the dealer.
 

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Our Ascent has been giving off a fresh gasoline smell while parked in the garage. Took it to the dealer, Subaru engineer onsite and they find gas in the oil pan...not good. They are going to change the oil, put dye in the gas or oil(unclear on that) and have us drive it for a while and then return to the dealer for evaluation. If your Ascent smells of gasoline, don't hesitate, and take it to the dealership to get checked out. Our highway MPG has not been very good and it seems to lug when taking off from a stop which may or may not be related. Regardless, waiting for further details, but I'm not a happy camper right now after spending 47k.
 

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Gas Smell Continues, Oil Level on the Rise

I've not forgotten the posts in this forum, we are just in limbo at the time because Subaru engineer has hooked up electronic recording device to our car's ECM to record what its doing for the next 1200 miles (500 down 700 to go). The oil level is high again on the dipstick and it smells very strong like raw gasoline. I've never seen oil on a dipstick recede from the edges like it does. Seems to me that would indicate there is gas in the oil causing this. Anyway, as we are expected to be Subaru's test mule we have to endure the smell of gas coming through the vents and in the garage. We have had other people ride in the car and they too smell gas. Sad part is the dealer service manager says he doesn't smell it which isn't helping our case with Subaru. I don't get why it is even questioned because the Subaru engineer documented that we have oil dilution on his first of three inspections of the car. The car has 3100 miles on it now and has had two oil changes, 3 if you count the break in oil. Will update here as things progress. I can only express to others with this issue to please contact Subaru of America 800-SUBARU3 and open a case so that we can stand strong together to make them remedy this issue.
 

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We purchased a new touring Ascent in December and have about 3700 miles on it. The gas odor is quite strong at times and we've reported it to our dealer (in Virginia) and taken it in for a service appointment. We left our car with them for 4 days and they said that not only did they not smell the odor, they said they had NEVER heard of the issue before. So they sent us on our way. We now continue to smell gas (not all the time but with a pretty good frequency) and just don't know where to turn since I am pretty sure that my family (little kids) shouldn't be complaining about this smell in a new car.
 

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Just called the toll-free Subaru number and was told that they had never heard of this issue. I spoke to a nice gentlemen named Jean but unfortunately he was unable to offer any guidance. I'm pretty sure that our new car shouldn't have a gasoline odor in the cabin... so I am not sure of my next steps.
 

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Funny that SOA keeps telling people they have never heard of the issue (same thing we heard). Our Ascent has been at the dealer 3 times with confirmed issues. We have an open case. Sounds like multiple people on the forum have also opened cases.
 
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