While we often depend on our vehicle to reach our destination, a car cannot move without gas. Getting gas might seem as simple as filling the gas tank and driving away. But, there are some instances when the gas is harmful or has impurities. These impurities are capable of damaging the engine. So, here is how to treat bad gas in car.
Treatment of bad gas in a car is not a simple do-it-yourself process. It works for a qualified mechanic. The mechanic will remove the gas tank, empty the gas into a container, and refill the tank with pure gasoline to absorb any water or add high-octane gas to burn off the impurities fast.
It is not safe to drive a car with a bad gas problem. Treating bad gas in a vehicle is tricky because of the lack of access ease to the gas tank. Harmful gas can quench a car engine or even kill it off entirely. If you are wondering how to treat bad gas in cars, this article is for you. So, keep reading.
Water In Gas Tank
The design of a car’s combustion engine is to burn fuel, not water. Water getting into a vehicle’s gas tank poses many problems because it is not combustible. It causes premature engine failure and low performance. Water in the gas tank is awful news for any car.
It is easy to solve the problem if the water content is very little. Filling and driving the car with high-quality gasoline is enough to remove the water content most of the time. But the more significant amount of water will need a more complex solution.
Water can get into the gas tank in several ways, such as:
- Cracks in the fuel cap
- Worn out fuel pump seal
- Contaminated fuel input
Whichever way the water makes its way into the car tank, it is terrible for the engine (just as bad as putting gas in a diesel engine). Once a car engine starts giving off any of the symptoms below. Get the vehicle to a professional mechanic to check and remove the water to prevent further damage.
Symptoms Of Water Contamination In Gas Tank
Slight traces of water contamination in the gas tank will not give a significant symptom. But, an immense amount can cause the vehicle to exhibit some of these issues while driving:
1. Sputtering Issues
Water in a gas tank causes the engine to start sputtering (if you want to learn more, check out our guide on sputtering engine when accelerating). The engine is incapable of burning the water efficiently as the gas. The result is poor engine performance and engine idling. The problem might be bad gas if your car was fine until you filled your tank. To be sure, check that the spark plug is suitable and there is no check engine light.
2. Surge/Decline In Power
If a car engine starts experiencing a surge and decline of power while driving, it might result from water in the gas tank, especially without any sensor problems. The engine’s inability to compress the water leads to power loss.
3. Gas Tank Rust
Water in a gas tank causes the tank to rust. Rust forms due to water and air oxidation around a metal. Rust in a gas tank causes impurities that damage the car. It is best to replace the gas tank if it it’s rusting and check if it has affected the fuel filler.
4. Poor Fuel Management
Water, like other impurities, will cause the filter to clog. A clogged filter reduces the power output of the car engine. Due to the clog, the ECU will have to inject more fuel, causing the fuel capacity to depreciate faster.
5. Engine Failure
The worst-case scenario around water in a gas tank is a complete engine failure. Water in the engine piston causes a lack of combustion for rotating the pistons. No piston rotation means no car ignition.
The best remedy to water in the gas tank is to see a mechanic drain and dry the tank. But, you can also use a drying-fuel additive like Iso-Heet. You can also fill the gas tank with high-octane gas. These additive solutions work for small water contents only.
Bad Gas Symptoms Car
A vehicle depends on gas delivery to the combustion chamber for ignition. When the gas is not pure or free of impurities, the car will not run as it should. There will be low performance and reluctance to perform optimally. Here are some symptoms of harmful gas in a vehicle:
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #1. Ignition Difficulty
Harmful gas does not give enough power to ignite the engine. Although harmful gas is not the only reason for the difficulty in starting a car, it is one of the reasons. Eliminate the wrong fuel pump and spark plug problem before you decide it’s a harmful gas.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #2. Sputtering Noise
Due to the uneven combustion of the bad gas in the engine, the car can give sputtering noises in protest to the gas condition. The noise is not a problem or makes you uncomfortable, and it can also be due to a faulty fuel filter.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #3. Car Stalling
Harmful gas can cause stalling while driving. Impurities can block the filter, or the contamination leads to a low combustion rate. You can learn more in our guide on whether can you put diesel in a gas can.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #4. High Rate Of Fuel Consumption
Lousy gas will cause the engine to work harder than usual and burn more gas to produce power.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #5. Acceleration Trouble
Due to the engine not burning gas efficiently, the car might have trouble when you accelerate. Due to low power production, the steep hills will become more challenging to climb.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car, Symptoms: #6. Surge/Decline Of Speed
Harmful gas can cause a sudden surge and decrease speed without the driver pressing the pedals. While these symptoms are not exclusive to harmful gas in the tanks, they are problems that lousy gas can cause. It is crucial to eliminate other causes of these symptoms before concluding on bad gas causative. A good mechanic is essential at this point (and try to find the best car repair shop near me).
Bad Gas In Car
Gas does not stay good forever. Once inside a gas tank, it can only survive about 30 days before it becomes harmful. Oxidation of gas is the biggest threat to gas in a car. Oxidation happens when gas is exposed to air or the atmosphere.
It causes the gas to decompose and create a gunky mess that can destroy the fuel filter and pump. Some gas contains ethanol which attracts moisture (which is why it’s a good idea to use an E10 checker). Moisture ruins gas and causes the vehicle to develop faults. Water can also get into the gas or gas tank from a faulty gas tank component or the gas tank.
Harmful gas has a lower octane rate, meaning a reduction in combustion rate. Harmful gas causes symptoms like hard starting, default acceleration, deterioration of engine components, and engine failure. It is essential to check for these symptoms and see a mechanic if the car show any.
Gas Treatment For Car
While driving a car, the engine accumulates carbon deposits. With time these deposits can interfere with the vehicle’s engine performance. But, gas treatments aid in cleaning the machine by eliminating carbon deposits and are of different types or methods.
Generally, it uses solvents like polyether Amine (PEA) to remove residues in the engine. There are different types of car gas treatments. They include the following:
- Gas-Line Antifreeze: Antifreeze (not the same as antifreeze used for engine cooling) is a gas treatment that prevents water in the gas tank from freezing or breaking up the water so it won’t freeze.
- Fuel stabilizers: Fuel stabilizers prevent idle gas in a car from oxidation. It is a perfect treatment if a vehicle stays inactive for a long time.
- Cleaning of carbon deposits: This treatment involves using additives to eliminate carbon deposits that have been in a car for a while.
- Octane boosters: The use of octane boosters improve the octane level of the gas in a vehicle. It helps the car owner avoid getting expensive fuel. They are usually suitable for high-performance fast cars.
- Fuel boosters: Fuel boosters improve MPG. They increase fuel combustion efficiency.
As much as we cannot vouch for the efficiency of all these gas treatments, we can say that carbon deposit cleaning and gas-line antifreeze are the most common and effective.
Old cars are always the cars that require gas treatment to increase performance. Fuel-line antifreeze treatments are also a lifesaver during the winter and could determine if a car starts in the morning or not.
Water In Gas Treatment
Gas and water are not a good combination. Water is denser than gas. When it gets inside a gas tank, it sinks to the bottom and gets into the car engine, causing problems. Different ways to treat water in gas or prevent it from entering the fuel system exist. These methods include:
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car: #1. Use Of Fuel Additives
Adding fuel additives to the gas tank will remove the water from the gas. These additives are of different concentrations. They include ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and methanol. Add additive into the fuel tank before gas for the best result. The alcohol concentration will absorb the water in the gas tank.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car: #2. The Use Of WD-40
WD-40 is a solution that causes water displacement in gas. It also prevents corrosion in gas tanks. Adding an ounce of WD-40 will remove any standing water under the gas tank, leaving only gas.
Car Won’t Start After Getting Gas
Sometimes, after getting gas, the vehicle might refuse to start. This fault is an indication of a defect in the engine fuel part. There are many reasons why an engine will not ignite after getting fuel. They include:
1. Faulty EVAP
A faulty EVAP is the most typical reason a car will not start after getting gas. The EVAP might be malfunctioning. Filling a gas tank causes an air overpressure that needs to go somewhere, especially if the fuel nozzle is tight. If the valve opens, the air will get directly into the intake manifold.
The air inside the manifold causes too much fuel to get into the combustion chambers during engine cranking after the gas refill. The presence of air in the manifold leads to difficulty in car starting.
2. Dead Battery
A car with a dead battery will not start. The battery connections could also be loose. Car batteries can last up o five years. Always check for corrosion and tighten the terminals. It is vital to replace them after five years or once it starts showing signs of failure.
3. Fuel Filter Clog
Blockage of the fuel filter will cause the engine not to start. Before this happens, the car must have shown signs of a clog in the filter. Check and clear the filter of all debris and try starting the car.
4. Bad Fuel Pump
The fuel pump is always inside the gas tank to ensure it keeps a cooler temperature (to find out more, check out our guide on what does a fuel pump do). However, if the fuel level is too low, the pump can get damaged by overheating. Before a fuel pump fails, it shows whining and sputtering noise symptoms.
To learn more, check out our guide on how to know if fuel pump is bad.
5. Faulty Starter
6. Issues In The Spark Plug
Spark plugs have to ignite the air-fuel mixture and give power to the engine. If the spark plugs gets contaminated, the machine will not start.
These reasons might be why a car won’t start after getting gas. To prevent this hiccup, it is always essential to do routine maintenance on the vehicle.
Worst Thing To Put In A Gas Tank
Only use the recommended liquid for a vehicle. Gas is the only liquid that should enter a car tank. Or else the vehicle uses diesel. Diesel should be the only liquid to enter the tank. Putting the wrong fuel has the availability to destroy a vehicle’s engine. Completely
The worst substances to put in a gas tank are substances like sugar or soda will clog the filter and cause an engine failure. Bleach will ultimately corrode the rubber and metal engine components while it circulates.
The presence of water in a gas tank causes engine misfire and low engine power. In dire cases, water can shut down the engine. Substances like salt, brake fluid, urine, honey, hydrogen peroxide, and engine oil should never enter the gas tank. The only thing in a gas tank should be gas. Very important.
When fuel sits in a car for more than 30 days, it oxidizes and goes wrong. This situation is where the gasoline stabilizer comes in. A gasoline stabilizer is a liquid solution that helps protect gas in a tank. It bonds to the gas to prevent decomposition of the gas. It is a mix of lubricants and antioxidation to avoid evaporation and water.
A gasoline stabilizer is necessary only if the vehicle stays idle for a long while. It is also suitable for boats and other gas-utilizing machines. Some gasoline stabilizers can preserve fuel for up to a year or more.
To use a gasoline stabilizer, measure the amount according to the manual instructions and pour it into the nearly empty gas tank. Fill the gas tank with gas and run the vehicle for 5-10 mins to allow the stabilizer to enter the entire fuel system.
Shelf Life Of Gasoline
The life span in the storage of gasoline depends on the fuel type. Some fuel types last longer than others. For regular gas, the shelf life is 3-6 months before it starts degrading.
However, diesel can last up to a year, and organic base ethanol has only a life shelf of 1-3 months before it loses combustibility. Oxidation and evaporation is the greatest threat to gas.
It is pretty challenging to track the age of gasoline. Gasoline life starts from the refinery and ends inside a gas which may have been a long time when it is used. One of the ways to avoid lousy fuel is by using reliable gas stations.
Long Term Gasoline Storage
Gasoline has a brief life span. Improper storage of gasoline will ruin the gas. It might evaporate or decompose. These threats are the most challenging aspect of long-term gasoline storage.
To store gas for a long time, follow these instructions below:
- Get government-approved containers for storing the fuel.
- Add gasoline stabilizers to prevent oxidation and evaporation.
- Store the gas away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Gas is highly flammable and can expand in freezing weather.
- Store the gas away from residential areas and out of children’s reach.
- Seal the containers very tight to prevent vapor from escaping.
- Get a siphon kit and use it properly.
Storing gas the right way can get the gas to last for a year and more. It is important not to carry any light source close to the storage area to prevent fire outbreaks.
Car Sputters After Getting Gas
Sometimes a car might sputter after getting gas. The sputter indicates that the vehicle is not working at total capacity. A car sputtering means the engine is not correctly combusting fuel due to a fault in the fuel system or engine. Fault or clog in the fuel system is the leading cause of sputtering after getting gas.
The fuel filter, fuel pump, spark plugs, or ignition system could malfunction. Bad fuel can also cause sputters. The best way to find out the exact cause of the sputter is to visit a mechanic. Ignoring the sound will only lead to more damage and expenses.
Sugar In Gas Tank
Whether by mistake or prank, adding sugar to gasoline or gas tank is a NO NO. It might not ruin the car engine, but it will cause some problems, unlike the myth that the sugar will caramelize after the gas finishes or dissolve. Sugar does not caramelize or dissolve in gas.
Sugar will remain in a sediment state inside the gas. While it might not be able to pass through the fuel filter, it might clog the fuel filter and injectors if there is a significant amount. The clog will cause sputtering and other engine problems. If it is a prank, the nasty trick will cost you money to replace the fuel filter and injectors.
FAQs On How To Treat Bad Gas In Car
How Long Does Gas Last
Gas can last up to six months before degrading due to oxidation or evaporating. However, ethanol gas has a short life span of three months.
Does Gasoline Go Bad
Yes, gas can go bad if it sits in a tank or container for an extended period. Exposure to air will cause decomposition of the gas. It will start getting sticky or gunky. Bad gasoline is not suitable for cars because it causes engine failure.
How Long Can You Store Gasoline
If stabilizers or additives are inside, you can store gasoline for up to a year. Without additives or stabilizers, gas can only hold for six months, depending on the gas type. Ethanol base gas stores lesser than high octane gas.
How Many Gallons Of Gas Does A Car Hold
A big car can hold up to fifteen gallons of gas, while a smaller car will hold about twelve gallons. Some unique performance cars can have as much as twenty gallons according to their customization.
What Happens When You Put Sugar In A Gas Tank
When sugar gets into a gas tank, the sugar forms sediments at the bottom of the gas tank. It might end up clogging the fuel filter and injector. Sugar in gas tanks is terrible as it destroys the fuel system and causes engine faults.
What Does Sugar In A Gas Tank Do
Sugar in a gas tank will clog the fuel pump, the fuel filter, or the fuel injector. The clog will cause the car to sputter and have a low-performance rate. There will be a deficiency of fuel going to the engine.
What To Do With Old Gas
The right thing to do with old gas is to dispose of it properly by calling your city disposal department. Do not keep it where other garbage gets burnt. Gas is highly flammable, whether old or not.
How Long Does Gas Last In A Can
Standard gas will stay in a can for about six months. But, the ethanol-gasoline will last only three months. The presence of ethanol will facilitate faster evaporation of the gas. Non-ethanol gas is preferable for long-term storage.
How To Use Gas Can
The proper way to use a gas can is to keep the can on the ground while filling it, remove the can cap and keep it on the floor, then place the pump nozzle inside the can top, fill the can but remain a little space. About 95% is enough to prevent spillage. Squeeze the nozzle to avoid spillage from leftover while withdrawing, then cover the can top, and carry gently.
How To Rejuvenate Old Gasoline
You can rejuvenate old gasoline by mixing it with new gas at one to four ration and adding an octane booster—the one part of old gas and four parts of fresh gas. The octane booster will help the gas to combust past the impurities of the old gas.
How To Clean A Gas Tank That Has Been Sitting
To clean a gas tank that has sat for a long time, gently remove the fuel pump from the tan to prevent residuals from entering the tank. Use a hose to fill the gas tank with water and pour some detergent. Use a long brush and scrub the inside, rinse and allow to dry properly.
How To Store Gasoline Long Term
To store gasoline for a long time: Get dry standard-approved containers, put the fuel inside, add a gasoline stabilizer to prevent oxidation, and store in a dry place without extreme temperatures and away from children.
How To Treat Bad Gas In Car
You can fix the bad gas in a car by adding a high octane gas inside the tank. The high octane gas will help burn off the impurities. You can also use an octane booster or remove the harmful gas.
What Happens If You Put Water In A Gas Tank
Water in a gas tank causes difficulty in combustion due to its high density. It destroys the engine components like the fuel injector and pump and causes rust in the gas tank.
What Happens When You Run Out Of Gas
When you are out of gas, your car engine, car brakes, and hydraulics will shut off. The steering wheel will require immense energy to steer the car. Running out of gas can damage the car engine.
Does Gas Float On Water
Yes, gasoline floats on water. The density of the gas is lesser than water. It has a density of 0.6g/ml compared to water’s 1.0 g/ml.
Is Water Heavier Than Gasoline
Water is heavier than gasoline due to its high density. The weight of gas in a gallon is six pounds.
Can You Mix Old Gas With New Gas
Yes, you can mix old gas with new gas in a ratio of one to four. Adding an octane booster will help the combustion of the mixture.
How To Tell If Gasoline Is Bad
You can tell if gasoline is terrible if it does not has a transparent color. The wrong fuel will have a dark or muddy color. The foul gas odor is horrible and not the same as regular gas.
Can You Drive Without A Gas Cap
Yes, you can drive without a gas cap, but it is not advisable. Although moving capless does not harm the car engine or cause gas spillage. The cap is a shield against impurities entering the gas tank. Impurities destroy car engines.
Conclusion On How To Treat Bad Gas In Car
Bad gas is harmful to a car’s good health. It doesn’t just cause poor performance. It also leads to total engine failure if left for long. The symptoms of harmful gas in a car tank range from sputtering noise, surge and decline of speed while driving, high fuel consumption, and engine failure.
At the sign of any of these symptoms, the next place you should go to is the mechanic garage. Avoid trying to fix the damage yourself, as some of the fixes may require the removal of car parts. A stable, reliable gas dealer or station is best to prevent bad fuel into your car tank.