Symptoms of Water in a Car’s Gas Tank and How to Fix it?

Whether it enters by accident or on purpose, water in the gas tank of an automobile is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Water can enter your fuel tank either when you fill

What happens when you put water in a gas tank?

up the tank from the pump or from condensation within your fuel tank due to weather. Here are some of the symptoms that you may experience if there is water in your gas tank. We will also go through how you can fix this problem.


How You Know If Water Is in Your Gas Tank

One of the symptoms that you will immediately experience if there is water in your gas tank is trouble with acceleration an hesitation. If you have trouble getting up to highway speeds yet there is nothing wrong with the rest of your vehicle, you should look into the possibility of water in your tank.Issues accelerating? There may be water in your gas tank.

You may also experience volatile changes of speed that you do not implement while driving. This may also take the form of a sputter. If your gas tank is full and your car still sputters when you hit the accelerator pedal, then you may want to look into the possibility of water contaminated fuel.

How to Fix the Problem of Water in Your Gas Tank

The best way to remove all water from the gas tank is to simply replace the entire volume of gas that is being used. This may seem like an expensive alternative to some drivers; however, the damage that you will be avoiding to your car is more than worth it.

HEET® is a fuel additive that is made for removing water from the gas tank. However, if there is more water in the tank than there is gas, fuel additives will not work.

The best way to remove bad gas from the tank is a process of immediate displacement, siphoning out the old gas while immediately placing high octane gas in the tank as quickly as possible. Depending on the amount of water in the tank, you may want to drain the gas tank and leave it empty for a while so that it can dry out.

If you do not have the wherewithal to perform this procedure on your own, it is well worth the time to get a professional mechanic to take on the job. Water in a tank can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to a vehicle if not dealt with properly.

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  • I had rust in a motorcycle tank. I used Apple Cider Vinegar to remove the rust and immediately rinsed with distilled water mixed with 3 tablespoons of Bakingsoda to neutilize the acid from the Vinegar. I did this twice and then rinsed several times with filtered water/final rinse with distilled water. I dried the tank best I could with hair dryer including heating seems of tank to help. I could not hear any water, yet sure some small amount must still in tank??? I then filled tank with non ethanol regular gas. I will not be starting bike for several months, and will drain tank again before attempt to start, but would have more piece of mind to get remaining water out now. Is Heet product you speak of the best or do you recommend something else?

    • Hi James,
      In this case, We’d recommend adding STA-BIL 360® Performance™ or STA-BIL 360® Marine™ to this fuel which will neutralize any water that may have remained in the tank and preventing rust and corrosion. Or, simply keep a bottle of ISO-HEET® Brand (the red bottle) ready. When you are ready to drain the fuel tank again, add some ISO-HEET® to remove this excess water. Please contact us at if you have any questions about this.Thank you.

  • I have a 04 Nissan Maxima. Had half of tank of bad gas( golden brown in color). Siphoned all the gas out and also replaced my fuel pump. Car cranks but won’t start. There is spark and the pump is pushing gas to the front what now? Also tried starting fluid. It does not work

    • Hello, since we are not able to assess your Nissan in person, we recommend taking it to your nearest professional mechanic to be looked at.

  • After filling with gas my van misses badly after the engine has warmed up. Have put additives in gas tank, injector cleaner, replaced fuel pump, filter, computer and spark plugs.

  • F150 2016…..hesitates pulling out and when down gearing to stop.
    2. Instrument Cluster dries out, turns off the gauges with lighting, camera, and radio….This is another cluster I purchased on eBay. When I remove the cluster, and pull out the main harness and replug, the radio, camera works fines…but when I replug back the IC, starts acting up, turning all types of symbols, lights, and goes out.
    Any recommendations..

  • I have maruti suzuki Zen(petrol), it has problem of black smoke and water particles in exhaust pipe

    • Hi Rakesh, since we are not able to assess it in person, we suggest taking it to a professional mechanic. Thank you.

  • A friend brought me 3 gallons of gas when I ran out. I put most in tank then used a funnel at the end to get the last out. At that time I noticed gas was a white milky color!! Water??

    • Hello,it sounds like there may be some contamination. Since we are not able to assess the vehicle in person we suggest having it looked at by a trusted professional mechanic.

  • I have a 2002 ford f150. When I put gas in my truck. About 20 minutes later it started to jerk when I stop at a red light. What should. I do

    • Hi Calvin. Since we are unable to assess your car in person, we suggest taking it to your trusted professional mechanic.