Last Updated on January 6, 2021
Since automobiles were first sold to consumers, there has been a myth floating around about what happens if you pour sugar into a car’s gas tank. The common belief is that pouring sugar into a gas tank will cause the engine of the vehicle to become disabled. You’ve probably seen movies where mischievous characters secretly pour sugar into someone else’s gas tank so that their car cannot drive anymore. But do you know anyone in real life who’s had their car disabled from such a stunt? Most likely, the answer is no.
The truth is that pouring sugar into a vehicle’s gas tank will not cause it to become disabled. People think that mixing sugar with gasoline will somehow create a semi-solid solution which will clog up the fuel lines and cause the engine to stall. This is not actually the case because the sugar will not dissolve when it is poured into gasoline. Instead, the sugar will sink into the gas tank until it reaches the bottom because sugar weighs more than gasoline. The worst thing this will do is limit the amount of gasoline that you can fill your gas tank with.
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Indirect Car Problems from the Sugar
Just because sugar does not affect the fuel in your gas tank, you should not assume that it won’t cause other problems. It is very well possible that your fuel filter could get clogged if some of the sugar happens to flow toward it. Once the fuel filter gets clogged, it will limit the flow of fuel into the internal combustion engine which will ultimately cause the car to stop working properly.
There is no guarantee this will happen, but it is possible if you happen to drive over a bump in the road. Some of the sugar on the bottom of the tank might get knocked into the filter if this happens. The more bumps you drive over, the more sugar particles that will get knocked into the fuel filter. This will eventually add up to a lot of sugar on the fuel filter, resulting in the flow of fuel into the engine being restricted. Fortunately, your fuel line should not be affected by the sugar.
Removing the Sugar from the Gas Tank
A little bit of sugar in your gas tank would be no big deal. All that would be required is for you to replace your fuel filter sooner than you normally would until all the sugar is gone. However, if someone has poured an entire bag of sugar into the gas tank, then you will need to take your vehicle to an auto mechanic. They are the only ones that can remove the sugar from your gas tank. This procedure will involve removing the gas tank from your vehicle and then cleaning out all the sugar in there. It will typically cost anywhere from $100 to $300 to get this service done. While this might not be a whole lot of money, it can still be a costly service to someone who has been victimized by such behavior.
Water is Worse Than Sugar
If somebody truly wanted to stall someone else’s car engine, they could do so by pouring water into their gas tank. Water could actually get into the fuel line and then flow into the engine. This would obviously put a tamper on the internal combustion process because it needs fuel and air to be mixed together, not water and air. The engine would not be destroyed from this, though. The person can take their vehicle to a mechanic and receive a simple fuel treatment in their gas tank which will get rid of the water.