Top 5 Things That Should Never Make It to Your Fuel Tank

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As a car owner, you are probably aware that the fuel tank is one of the most critical components of your vehicle. It is responsible for storing and delivering fuel to the engine, which powers your car. However, not all substances are suitable for your fuel tank, and some may cause significant damage to your vehicle. In this article, we will discuss the top 5 things that should never make it to your fuel tank.

1. Water

Water is the most common cause of contamination in fuel tanks. It can enter the tank in several ways, including condensation, leaks, or refuelling. When water mixes with fuel, it creates a layer of water at the bottom of the tank, which can cause corrosion, clog fuel lines, and damage injectors. It can also lead to the growth of bacteria, which thrive in moist environments and can clog filters and injectors.

To avoid water contamination, your tank must be properly sealed and free from leaks. Also, avoid filling your tank during or after a rainstorm, as water may have seeped into the underground storage tanks.

2. Dirt and Debris

Another common contaminant found in fuel tanks is dirt and debris. It can enter the tank through the fuel pump, fuel lines, or during refuelling. Dirt and debris can clog fuel filters and injectors and cause engine malfunction. They can also lead to a reduction in fuel efficiency and power output.

Your car’s fuel filter will normally trap contaminants such as dirt and debris. However, you still want to prevent contamination from entering your tank to avoid clogging the filter prematurely, which can be expensive to replace. Also, avoid refuelling in areas with a lot of dust and dirt, such as construction sites.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is a common additive found in fuel, particularly in the form of ethanol. While ethanol can improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions, it can also cause significant damage to your fuel system. Ethanol can absorb water and cause corrosion in the fuel tank, fuel lines, and injectors. It can also damage gaskets, seals, and other rubber components in the fuel system.

To avoid damaging your fuel system, using a low percentage of ethanol is essential. Most car manufacturers recommend using fuel with no more than 10% ethanol. Also, avoid leaving fuel in your tank for extended periods, as ethanol can absorb moisture from the air and cause corrosion.

4. Sugar

Contrary to popular belief, adding sugar to a fuel tank will not cause the engine to seize. However, it can cause significant damage to your fuel system. Sugar does not dissolve in fuel and can create sludge at the bottom of the tank, which can clog filters and injectors. It can also cause corrosion and damage to the fuel pump and lines. 

There is no normal scenario where sugar would end up in your tank unless someone deliberately tampered with your car. If you suspect that your fuel tank has been tampered with, it is recommended that you have it inspected by a professional mechanic.

5. Diesel in a Petrol Engine

Finally, one of the most common mistakes made by car owners is adding diesel to a petrol engine or vice versa. Diesel and petrol engines operate differently, and using the wrong fuel can cause significant damage to your engine. 

Petrol engines require a spark to ignite the fuel, while diesel engines rely on compression to ignite the fuel. Using the wrong fuel can cause misfiring, engine damage, and even engine failure.


Your fuel tank is a vital component of your vehicle, and keeping it free from contaminants is essential. By avoiding the substances discussed in this article, you can help extend the life of your fuel system and prevent costly repairs.

If you suspect that your fuel tank is contaminated, don’t hesitate to contact Fuel Fixer right away. Our team of experts in contaminated fuel cleanup have the knowledge and experience to properly diagnose and fix any fuel contamination problems, ensuring that your vehicle is running at optimal performance levels. Contact us today to get started. 

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