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What to do when Water gets into the Gas Tank 01: Your Comprehensive Guide

What to do when Water gets into the Gas Tank

Imagine you’re all set to embark on a road trip, your tank is filled, and your excitement is bubbling. However, your vehicle suddenly sputters and coughs to a halt. The problem? Water gets into the gas tank! This is a situation that no car owner wants to encounter, but it can happen to anyone. In this comprehensive guide by “Motor Guiderr”, we will explore the reasons behind water getting into your gas tank and, more importantly, how to get it out effectively. So, if you’ve ever wondered how to get water out of a gas tank, keep reading.

Understanding How Water Gets into the Gas Tank

water gets into the gas tank

Before diving into the methods to remove water from a gas tank, it’s essential to understand how it can end up there in the first place. Several factors can contribute to water contamination:

Condensation: When water gets into the gas tank, it can accumulate in your gas tank through condensation, especially during temperature fluctuations. As the tank cools at night, moisture in the air can condense and drip into the tank.

Bad Weather and Floods: When your vehicle is exposed to heavy rainfall, floods, or storms, water gets into the gas tank. It’s crucial to inspect your car if it has been through such conditions.

Water in Fuel: Sometimes, gas stations can accidentally have water in their fuel tanks. When you fill-up your vehicle, this water can get mixed in with gasoline.

Faulty Seals or Gaskets: Damaged or deteriorating seals and gaskets around the gas cap or fuel lines can allow water to enter the tank.

Human Error: In rare cases, due to human errors water gets into the gas tank. For example, someone might mistakenly pour water into the tank instead of gasoline.

Now that we know how water can end up in your gas tank let’s explore the symptoms of water contamination.

Symptoms of Water Contamination in the Gas Tank

water gets into the gas tank symptoms

Detecting water in your gas tank early can save you from severe engine damage and costly repairs. Here are some common signs to watch for:

Engine Misfire: A noticeable drop in engine performance, such as sputtering, rough idling, or hesitation, can indicate water contamination.

Poor Fuel Efficiency: Water in the gas tank can lead to inefficient combustion, reducing your car’s mileage significantly.

Stalling or Difficulty Starting: If your vehicle stalls frequently or has difficulty starting, it might be due to water obstructing the fuel flow.

Unusual Noises: You might hear unusual noises like knocking or pinging when driving, which can result from improper fuel combustion which is caused when water gets into the gas tank.

Check Engine Light: Your vehicle’s onboard computer may trigger the check engine light, signalling a problem that could be related to water in the gas tank.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. Ignoring water contamination can lead to engine damage and even a breakdown on the road. So, let’s move on to the steps you can take when water gets into the gas tank and how to remove it.

How to Safely Remove Water from Your Gas Tank

Removing water from your gas tank can be a tricky process, but it’s necessary to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. Here are three methods to safely remove water from your gas tank:

a. Drain the Gas Tank

drain the gas tank

This method is the most direct approach to removing water from your gas tank, but it can be a bit challenging. Here’s how to do it:

Safety First: Park your vehicle in a well-ventilated area away from open flames, sparks, or smoking. Make sure the engine is cool.

Disconnect the Battery: To prevent any electrical sparks or accidents, disconnect the vehicle’s battery.

Locate the Drain Plug: Consult your car’s manual to find the drain plug on the gas tank. It’s typically located at the bottom.

Collect Gasoline: Place a suitable container under the drain plug and remove it carefully. Allow the contaminated gasoline to drain completely.

Dispose of Contaminated Gasoline: Properly dispose of the contaminated gasoline at a hazardous waste facility or in compliance with local regulations.

Replace Fuel Filter: After draining the tank, consider replacing the fuel filter to ensure that any remaining water is removed from the fuel system.

b. Use a Fuel Additive

GettyImages 129310650 | Motor Guiderr

Another approach to getting water out of a gas tank is by using a fuel additive specifically designed to deal with water contamination. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Purchase a Fuel Additive : Visit an auto parts store and purchase a fuel additive that addresses water in the gas tank. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Add the Additive: Pour the recommended amount of fuel additive into your gas tank according to the instructions on the product label.
  • Fill the Tank: Top off your gas tank with fresh gasoline to dilute the water-contaminated fuel.
  • Drive Your Vehicle: Drive your vehicle for a while to allow the additive to mix with the contaminated fuel. The engine will burn off the treated fuel.
  • Monitor Performance: Pay attention to any improvements in your vehicle’s performance and symptoms. If issues persist, consider seeking professional help.

c. Seek Professional Help

If you’re unsure about tackling water contamination yourself or if the problem persists after attempting the above methods, it’s advisable to seek professional assistance. A mechanic can diagnose the issue accurately and take the necessary steps to resolve it, which may include draining the tank and cleaning the fuel system thoroughly.

Preventing Water Contamination in the Gas Tank

Prevention is often the best solution when it comes to water in the gas tank. Here are some proactive steps you can take to minimize the risk of water contamination:

a. Proper Fuel Storage

  1. Choose Reputable Gas Stations: Opt for well-established and reputable gas stations with good maintenance practices to reduce the chances of contaminated fuel.
  2. Inspect the Fuel Pump: Before filling up, visually inspect the fuel pump for any signs of water or foreign substances.
  3. Use Fuel Additives: Consider using fuel additives regularly, as they can help absorb small amounts of water and improve fuel quality.

b. Regular Maintenance

  1. Check for Leaks: Regularly inspect your vehicle for any fuel leaks, damaged seals, or deteriorating gaskets. Replace or repair them as needed.
  2. Fuel Filter Replacement: Follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations for replacing the fuel filter. A clean fuel filter can help prevent water from reaching the engine.

c. Fuel Quality Control

  1. Use Fuel Stabilizers: In situations where your vehicle will be parked for an extended period, use fuel stabilizers to prevent fuel degradation and water contamination.
  2. Monitor Your Fuel Gauge: Keep an eye on your vehicle’s fuel gauge to avoid running on empty, as this can increase the likelihood of drawing water from the bottom of the gas tank.


Dealing with the situation when water gets into the gas tank can be a frustrating and potentially costly experience, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can minimize the risk and address the issue effectively. Remember to follow the safety precautions when attempting any DIY solutions, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

By understanding how water gets into the gas tank, recognizing the symptoms of contamination, and knowing how to safely remove water from the tank, you can keep your vehicle running smoothly and avoid unexpected breakdowns on the road. In the end, proactive maintenance and a watchful eye on your fuel system will go a long way in preventing water-related issues with your vehicle.

So, the next time you wonder what to do when water gets into the gas tank, you’ll be armed with the knowledge to handle the situation with confidence and competence. Safe driving!


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