Water in the Gas Tank Symptoms and Fixes

It is possible for water to get into your vehicle’s gas tank when you’re pumping new gas into it at the gas station. The weather outside can also cause condensation to form which puts water in your gas tank as well. Whichever way it happens, when water gets into a vehicle’s gas tank, it needs to be dealt with promptly.

Common Symptoms

The first symptom you will notice is when your vehicle doesn’t perform the same. As you put your foot on the accelerator pedal, the vehicle will hesitate before it moves faster or forward. If you’re on the interstate and try to go fast, the vehicle simply won’t go as fast as you want it to. The car may even sputter and then randomly move at faster speeds than you want it to.

If these symptoms just occur out of nowhere, then your gas tank probably has water in it. The hesitation and sputters is due to the injectors having water slugs go into them. Since water does not burn the same way gasoline does, the piston is not pushing anything upward after the combustion chamber is sprayed with water and causes steam to form. Therefore, when water is sprayed into the chamber, the injector is probably getting a water slug into it. This is what causes the sudden jolt of higher speed.


To fix the problem, all you can do is drain the entire gas tank so you can get rid of the contaminated fuel. After that, you then fill the gas tank with new uncontaminated fuel. Make sure the fuel system is cleaned while you’re doing this too. Sometimes you may have contaminated gas if the suppliers of the gas didn’t mix the fuel additives properly. This will make the additives ineffective at keeping out deposits. Then, the fueling system will have varnish in it.

Alternatively, you may end up contaminating your gas if you don’t have a gas cap over your tank and then it rains outside. Sometimes your gas station may be at fault if its water filter was bad before supplying you with the gas. If not that, then their fueling tanks could have dirt, water, or corrosion contamination or perhaps your own car’s fuel tank does. Filtration systems are not 100% accurate, despite all the filters it has. As a result, residue and contaminants end up in your vehicle and cause damage to it.  If you don’t have a lot of octane in your gasoline, then it is probably from the gas station advertising their standard gas as having lots of octane in it. That way, they can charge more money for it even though they aren’t giving you the octane in your fuel.

Read also: 5 Symptoms of Exhaust Leak in the Car

It is normal to have a little bit of water in your fuel tank. This little amount won’t cause the symptoms above to occur. But if you do notice these symptoms, then chances are you have a lot of water in your tank and you need to deal with that promptly.



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