Bad Gasoline: What It Is And How To Handle It

Your vehicle has been running great. Then, almost out of the blue, your car starts to sputter and stall. The dreaded engine light comes on, and you panic. The last thing you need is a repair bill. Before you overreact, you need to consider if bad gas could be the culprit.


Bad gas can be caused by a number of factors. Sometimes excess water gets into the tanks at the gas station or even at the manufacturing plant. Your own gas tank may have particles in it that can mix with the gas and cause these issues. If your car was running fine before you filled up the gas tank, bad gas is a logical suspect.


If the only real symptom is the engine light coming on, take your car to your mechanic or an auto parts store and have them read the code your vehicle is sending out. It takes only a minute for them to plug a computer into your car and pinpoint the problem. If the code indicates a fuel sensor issue, it may indicate bad fuel. If your fuel light doesn't come on but your car is sputtering even after it is shut down or your vehicle actually stalls on the road, bad fuel may also be the issue. You can try using a fuel additive and see if that corrects the problem. If it does not, you may have to have your tank drained and refilled at your local auto repair shop.


Experts say getting bad gas is rare, but they still recommend going to major chains where business is brisk and any problems will be quickly noticed. Also, in these larger stations, the gas will not sit for long, a common reason for gas to go bad. Remember, dumping fuel from your gas can into your car is not smart, especially if the gas can has been exposed to the elements. Also, if you do get bad gas from your local gas station, take your business elsewhere. They may have a tank problem that could occur again.

Bad gasoline is usually not the cause of your car's mechanical problems, but if things go bad right after you've filled up, you should at least consider the possibility. Have the engine light code checked and/or try a fuel additive. If that does not work, head to your dealership or mechanic for an expert diagnosis.