Engine Oil Smells Gas

6 Causes why Engine Oil Smells Like Gas

In Engine Oil by 44 Comments

Does your engine oil have a strong smell of gas when you smell the oil dipstick?

This is actually a pretty common problem when it comes to gas engines. But how serious is this problem, and should you take any action?

In this article, we will go through why your engine oil smells like gas and how you can avoid it in the future.

The most common causes why your engine oil smells like gas are too rich fuel mixture, only driving for short distances, bad piston rings, or a faulty fuel injector.

Here is a more detailed list of why your engine oil smells like gas.

1. Fuel mixture way too rich

Fuel Injector Spray

The main cause of why your gas is getting into the engine oil is that your fuel mixture is too rich.

If your fuel mixture is too rich, the combustion chamber won’t ignite all of the fuel, and this will cause the fuel to run through the piston rings down into the oil pan.

There could be several sensors or other problems causing the fuel mixture to get too rich. Read the trouble codes with an OBD2 scanner to see if any stored trouble codes could indicate where you should start your troubleshooting.

Related:  8 Causes of Engine Oil Leaks

Check out our article: Why your engine is running rich to find more solutions to this.

2. You only drive for short distances

Driving To Supermarket

Gas is always running down into your oil pan on almost all car engines, more or less. When your oil temperature gets high, the gas will come out as vapor from the engine oil.

If you only drive for short distances, the engine oil will not reach a high enough temperature to vaporize the gasoline, and you will fill up your oil pan with gas for a while.

If this happens, you should replace your engine oil and filter. If you know that you often only drive for shorter distances, it’s recommended to change the engine oil at shorter intervals than normal.

3. Misfires

Car Misfire Spark Plugs

A Misfire happens when the air-fuel mixture is not getting ignited correctly, and the combustion cycle is disturbed. Because the air-fuel mixture is not getting ignited, the gas can wash your cylinder walls, which will cause the compression to be lowered, and more blow-by through the piston rings will happen.

This can cause the gas to pour down through the piston rings and fill your oil pan with fuel.

You can learn more about misfires here: Misfire symptoms and causes

Related:  Engine Oil Pressure Light – Causes & Solutions

4. A faulty fuel injector (newer cars)

Fuel Injectors E1609793590952

Fuel-injected vehicles have small injection devices that provide the engine with the fuel it needs. These injectors are operated by a solenoid, further controlled precisely by a computer which lets just the right amount of fuel inside the cylinders.

Since solenoids are mechanical, they can often malfunction. If the solenoid gets stuck in the open position, gasoline will find its way inside because the substance is watery and mixes with the oil.

In the excessive amount that flows out, the gasoline will eventually seep down in the oil pan and mix with the oil as your car is running.

5. Faulty carburetor or settings (older cars)


Cars with carburetors are different. The fuel mechanism is handled by a diaphragm and controlled by the gas pedal mainly. Since that is too mechanical, the butterfly valve that controls the airflow can get stuck, which will let the fuel in according to the mixture ratio

That will also let gas get into the oil and cause this problem. At that point, similar to fuel injected cars, the excessive gasoline will go down into the oil pan and mix with the oil.

6. Bad piston rings

Piston Rings

If your piston rings are bad, more fuel will run through the combustion chamber into the oil pan. However, this is not a very common problem, and it’s tough to repair because you have to take the whole engine apart, so I recommend checking the other things on this list before.

Related:  What Does SAE Stand for in Motor Oil?

A way to check the piston rings is to do a compression test or a leak down test. You can find more information about this in our other article symptoms of bad piston rings.

7. No Oil Change for a while

Oil Change Car

There might actually not be anything wrong with your vehicle, other than you haven’t changed your engine oil for a while.

Very old engine oil with a lot of sluggish inside of it can smell a lot like gas. If you know that you haven’t changed your engine oil in a while it is definitely time to do it.

If you have no idea, if the engine oil is recently changed, you should check your service report manual or call your authorized dealer.

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44 thoughts on “ 6 Causes why Engine Oil Smells Like Gas ”

  1. Minor edit suggestion.In part 2 you said won’t reach high enough temp to evaporate the oil,not the gasoline I think you meant

    1. I have a 1930 Ford with a Chevy 350 engine board out 60 over with a tunnel ram into fours I was told those carburetors are too much for that engine could I reject it down to get less gas into the engine

    2. I called the mechanic but he hasn’t called back. Is it ok to drive the car? When you can smell the gas on your dip stick. I don’t want to throw a rod. The shop is a mile or so away.

      1. I had a pcm driver for injector 4 burn out in a chrsler town and country due to the injectir harness melting as they are notorious for. The injector was stuck open and I lost power with a large white smoke screen coming from my exhaust. I replaced the pcm and changed the oil because it was saturated with gas. But now when my van comes to operating temp I get a funky smell of burning under the hood and white smoke around my pipe coming off my exhaust manifold. I can’t see any leaking but when I checked my freshly changed oil it’s thin again and definitely full of gas. I’m lost at this point. Any suggestions? And ironically it runs withou any misfire but I’m leary of the smoke and the oil being diluted with gas to drive it anywhere.

    3. I have a 2006 vw passat 2.0 fsi little of blak smoke from my tailpipe

    4. I changed my fuel pump and I started the blazer and let it run for about ten minute. I turned it off but a short time later I tried to start it. It started but ran really bad when it died I could not start it. It was frooze up I took a plug out and gas poured out when I drained the oil it was mostly gas

    5. My name is Yolanda I checked my oil and it smell like gas and its like a yellow brownish color it runs good its not making no noise there’s not white smoke coming out I not having no problem with it its the oil dip stick that xmells like gas thats the only problem I have

  2. What is considered small distances? I am having this issue . I drive about 5 miles stop for 15 minutes and then drive back..twice daily..

    1. Author

      Yes, that’s absolutely short distances. The oil is getting heated much slower than the coolant and to reach full oil temperature it can take more than 15 minutes of driving to heat it to the optimal temperature to vaporize the gas correctly.

  3. What would be the suggested repair? I have a 2017 CRV with 1.9 TC engine. There was a piece in Consumer Reports about a problem with this engine getting ga in the oil.
    I’ve checked the oil and the level seems a high.
    Trying to figure out what repairs I should insist on beyond root cause.

    1. Author

      Gas getting into the oil is not an easy problem to solve. It’s most often caused by bad piston rings. If the dealer does not have a technical service bulletin for this problem yet, I would recommend replacing the engine oil often and make sure to not only drive for short distances.

  4. Dear Magnus,
    I have a same issue with my car, even fuel consumption is too high as comparing with normal car.
    i have 1jz-gte non vvti, and while driving i smell strong odor of fuel moreover when i stop the engine at idle position the white smoke came out from tailpipe. compression test has been done and it result fine to me on all cylinders. please suggest me on it.

    appreciated well in advance.

    1. Author

      Do you have OBD2 in your car? If so, read the trouble code memory with an OBD2 scanner and check for any misfires or fuel adjustment problems like a bad sensor. A car that is running rich will cause a lot of gas in the oil pretty fast.

      1. Hi, no OBD2 available. actually running with stock ecu and 1jz has been swapped in my mark 2.

  5. My 16 year old son has a 1977 Ford f150. Gas is getting into the oil. One person said it was probably the fuel pump and someone else said it was probably the carburetor. It even shot fire out from somewhere under the hood this afternoon and my son had to put it out. Would your information be different since we are talking about a old vehicle. It has a 400 big block. Help please. This truck has been a hand full.

    1. Author

      It sounds like your car is getting too much fuel and it could absolutely be caused by a bad/bad adjusted carburetor for your car. If the engine is backfiring through the carburetor there might also be a faulty adjusted timing or leaky intake valve.

    2. The oil smells like gasoline and there is a slight leak I am 3,000 miles over on my all change would this be fixed with just a new filter and oil change or do you think there is something else going on? Thank you

  6. I have a 2019 BMWK1600 motorcycle. It has an inline 6 cylinder motor and I have discovered a thick white emulsion at the dipstick in only 2000 miles from new. In that time period I have taken long rides, day trips and commute to work on it about 5 miles each way on a combination of surface streets and freeway. The dealer has looked at it and is saying that it is condensation due to the short trips. I had them change the oil and and have since been riding at higher than normal rpm for 20 miles at a time minimum. It has come back in under 100 miles, I will be sending the oil out for testing soon. What is your opinion of the issue I am having? What should I be concerned about? Engine longevity, failure etc.

    1. I have a simplicity riding mower it has Kohler engine the gas is getting into oil and shooting it out through the breather is this mean the ring are bad?

  7. This is more of a question than a comment…so i have a 11 Hyundai Santa Fe and it has a shake to it kinda like a broke belt in a tire or a bubble on the tire but when i let off the gas it smoothes out so its not my tires and it also whines really loud accelerating and it don’t stop when i let of the gas it just whines down what could that be? Also i checked my oil this morning and it was bubbley on my dip stick and smelt like gas really strong and when i wiped the oil off my dip stick my dip stick was kinda tarnished like you could see how far up my dip stick it went any ideas at what could be causing these problems? I have no clue about an engine and i can’t get it checked at advanced autos because it is not throwing any codes and my check engine light is not on…please help me thank u

  8. Hello,

    I have a 2008 BMW X5 and all the sudden when I turned on white smoke started to come out from tail pipe with a very strong smell could feel it on my eyes, nose and difficult to breath almost like a burning feeling something I’ve never experienced very strange, then after that it seemed like my car didnt have the same power and haven’t really noticed the white smoke after that. We did oil change right away and can smell gasoline in the the engine oil. No check engine lights on or anything my car was fine prior. What could this be? I know its difficult to diagnose but where do I start? 😔 please help.

  9. Hi,

    I drive a 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 205,000. Miles. I was checking my oil and I noticed that it smelled like gas. The last two times I bought gas I put the highest octane gas in to kind of clean things out. My car ran better, but my oil smelled. Not sure if this was the cause, higher octane, or it’s been happening and I didn’t notice. I’m not omitting any smoke from the car but the oils seemed thin on the stick. I only drive about eight minutes to work. Dumb girl question, should I put a fuel injectors cleaner in? Thanks.

    1. Hi im michael, im encountering this problem to my 2000 B3 gasoline engine. Where excessive amount of gasoline mix with oil in my oil pan. And the cause of the problem was mis fire of my spark plugs and rich fuel mixture setting of my carburator which already have it replaced. My question now is should i required have my piston rings also to be replaced?

  10. Hi, I’m having an issue with my 1987 Buick park Avenue. I changed my fuel filter, spark plugs, thermostat, and did a oil change and a rack and pinion. After the rack was put in, we test drove it and it started leaking out honestly I’m not sure but eventually did stop. My dad thought water pump but he’s getting old so I’m not sure he’s right. At the same time I’m smelling gas in my oil and Ive never had it smell like that. It’s so strong. Someone told me to change fuel injectors and I’m pretty sure he said ti change the fuel modulator regulator? Something like that I can’t remember the exact name he said. What would you suggest? Please help, I live in mn and it’s about to get really cold outside. Thank you very much!!!😊🤙

  11. What you mentioned above it what I have experienced and now am loosing hope about the I have redone the engen 2 times checked and changed multiple of sensors still the same problem my car oil smells gas a lot and it running like water if I take off the deep stick realeses different types of smokes in my pipe if you touch a pipe is black black some other days it realeses white smoke sometimes it dark and now even my hydraulic lifter are always making noise even if I changed the oil recent the oil changes into black dark black in a space of two days then it diluted by gas re-done the engen check engen light is still there with the electric power sign inside⚡ please help man even the smoke in the pipe smell gas mixed with oil my car is astra 1.6 astra G 16valve

  12. Toyota Camry I’ve had a problem with him like maybe 6 months ago 7/8 months ago and why I hadn’t replace the motor okay we put another motor I went out of town but before we not chili check the oil the everything I check everything that needed to be checked so for a trip cuz I had a drive for like almost an hour so I was worried you’re coming home out of the blue the car got hot and now I can’t get it to start for you at the old doesn’t look like it has its milky it just it smells little bit of gas but it didn’t like overheat majorly it just overheated and I in the car shut off and I couldn’t get one start after that why

  13. I have a supercharged f150 46,000 miles and noticed I’m into the boost a lot more often when going uphill or under the slightest load. Transmission also shifts way to soon and lugs the motor causing boost to go up at low rpms. Changed the oil at 5K and real strong odor of gas. Can smell raw fuel on cold starts as well. There is no misfire, new coil packs and plugs. Motor is still very strong with good oil pressure.
    Going to try new injectors and go from there.

  14. My Ford F=150 had a recall, 19S07. We took it to the dealership and also got an oil change. The following day but the truck wouldn’t start. They said, fuel pump, fuel injector. They don’t know for sure. They want over 3,000 to fix it. The truck never gave us a “check engine” light or any other issues that would make us suspect there was anything wrong. We put 1000 miles in the week we took the truck in.
    The truck cannot be driven. Could the dealership have done something to cause the issue with my truck? Thanks.

  15. I bought a 1994dodge ram 1500 recently with less than 10,000 miles on the new engine. It sat for 2 years. I changed the gas, added seafoam, changed the oil change and noticed it was real thin with strong gas smell. The throttle body was caked with black deposits. So I cleaned it. I haven’t tried starting the truck yet since all this work was done. Before, it would start, black smoke and rough idle and then it would stall. I couldn’t turn it over until the next day. Do I need to do anymore work to it? Maybe clean fuel injectors or was the bad oil the reason for rough idle?

  16. So I have a 2001 Jaguar with the V8 in it and my engine oil smells like gasoline I’ve changed the fuel pump and the fuel sending unit I have not changed the oil yet this occurred to me and my car actually blew white smoke at the back end of it but now it will not start after I changed both of those parts out should I change the engine oil and then see what happens what is your suggestion the car cranks over but won’t start very frustrated

    1. I am experiencing the same thing with my BMW 318i, did you fix your issue in the end?

  17. I drive an Audi A3 2011 model, In the morning when i start my car the car Idle is not stable it goes up and down and also the car sound like it has a misfire when its cold and also when I change oil on my car the oil smells petrol,
    I did a scan and i got the following error codes, can you help explain this codes for me.

    1. Oxygen (Lambda) Sensor, B1 S2
    P1114 – Internal Resistance

    2. Bank 1 System To Rich off idle
    P2178 – 000 Intirmittent

  18. how long and how far before the engine is hot i have a smell of gas in oil and the level is past the full mark in the stick the oil is new still viscous but im worried about it

  19. I own a 2016 Chevy Silverado 4×4 with a 5.3litre engine. When the temperature gets below 20 degrees Celsius My engine fills with gasoline an I’m not talking about a few ounces but litres of gas. Once it was 1.5 inches above the full mark. I figure 2 litres at least. On the way to dealership the oil gauge needle was bouncing. I’m fighting with GM with this but they blame me instead of fixing it. Last oil change there was a guy with a 2019 with the same 5.3 he changed his oil 600km’s before. I heard this is a problem with these engines but GM won’t acknowledge this. Any sugestions

    1. Same problem on my 14 I found a recall for high pressure fuel pumps leaking under the intake for 14&15 but ofocurse they say my vin # isn’t included . The Chevy techs know what it is they’re playing dumb . I’m not sure if this is my problem but it’s the only thing I can find .

  20. I have a 2012 Ford Escape that is making ticking noises and the dip stick smells like oil. The tick gets louder when Iightly push the gas and then let off. I’ve had it checked by two different places who both said at first nothing wrong and then the first place said a cracked block but they didn’t actually take it apart and diagnose it. They just guessed from the noise.

    1. Try a thicker oil it might work and watch if your oil level goes up if it does than you might have gas going into oil. Ticking noise is most likely a lifter not getting its oil or oil to thin.

  21. I have a 1999 Honda prelude SH and getting a some what strong smell of gas in my oil, I drive short distances so maybe that’s why, about 3 mile street distance round trip in and out of work 5 days a week. I do have a code that pops up P0441 maybe that has something to do with it. Maybe someone can shine a spot light on what might happening with my car??

  22. I have a 2014 Silverado . I have codes 172&175 running rich on banks 1&2 . Threw CEL. For 3 days went away . Seems fine now but the inside of my oil cap smells like a old lawnmower (gas) . I found a couple of videos showing that the Highpressure fuel pumps have a tendency to leak in these engines (5.3s) do you have any experience with this situation?

  23. I have a Suzuki ATV, and I was changing the oil and there seemed to be a fair amount of gasoline in the oil, and the spark plug was black, and it would not start. I am going to change the plug, oil and filter, do you think I have a problem. Could it be the fuel mixture being to rich?

  24. I have a 2003 Civic with 172500 miles. After I replaced the head gasket, lot of exhaust gas is now mixing with oil, and also almost a quarter of oil is lost in 1000 miles of driving. There is no oil leaks. I also noticed a lot of oil sitting in a couple of cylinders. I only drive it once a week or less now for short distances. If this is could be worn piston rings or cylinders then why am I seeing only after the head gasket change? Previously I used regular 5w20 oil and now after the head gasket change, I have been using high mileage synthetic blend oil.
    Will it make a difference if I switch back to regular oil?

  25. Hi, I have a 2005 Ford Explorer, I have a problem with it cranking, it will idle but it won’t crank, I’ve had someone tell me it was the fuel pump to the fuel filter to now it’s gas pumping into my cylinders and into the oil, that’s the main reason it’s not starting. What are the reasons why gas is pumping into the oil?

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