Gas Smell on 2001 Lexus ES300

We had the oil changed in our car at an oil shop. Immediately after I got in the car, I noticed the strong smell of raw gas, but I figured that since the car was in the shop, it was from the shop. Later, that day the smell got stronger so the next day, we took the car back to the shop. By the time we got there the gas smell was gone, but they looked over the car from top to bottom and couldn't find anything. For the next 2 days, the car ran fine and then that smell came back again! So, we took the car to another mechanic, but by the time we made it there, the smell was gone again. Now, the smell is back better than ever. It literally smells like someone has spilled gasoline in the car. I noticed the smell is coming from under the hood and appears to be on the passenger side between the timing belt cover and the engine. We are taking it to the dealer in the morning, but quite frankly I'm scared to death because I have no idea how much they will want to fix it or even what it is. There are no visible leaks (we park in a garage so we would see a gas leak). The car still drives the same and the exhaust is clean smelling. Help!!!

by in Birmingham, AL on October 14, 2010
1 answer 2 comments
ANSWER by on October 14, 2010
Its odd changing the engine oil and filter those parts are not anywhere near any fuel components. The gas tank, fuel vapor canister and fuel pump are all at the back of the car, The fuel filter is at the frame rail on the driver's side. If you had a fuel injector that was leaking that bad the engine would misfire and run poorly. Make sure the gas cap is on tight and make a note if the smell is worse with a full tank of gas or just after refilling.
COMMENT by on October 21, 2010
We ended up taking the car to the dealer. The problem was the fuel damper needed to be replaced. I asked what could cause it to go bad. The technician at the dealership said it was probably 'bad fuel'. He said not to use cheap gas anymore.
COMMENT by on November 20, 2012
Hi, I am also having the same problem with my '96 ES300. Can you please let me know how much you spent to get it fixed? I am planning to visit some mechanic in this coming weekend. Please advise. ---I got the issue fixed by changing the seals for one if the fuel filter. Thanks.
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