Team AckoJul 22, 2021
A vehicle’s fuel tank is crucial to its functioning. Fuel-driven vehicles need either petrol or diesel, and the tank is the source for it. Whether it is a car or a bike, a vehicle’s engine is dependent on the fuel tank for continuous fuel supply. That is why one needs to be wary of contamination in the fuel tank.
Water in the fuel tank is a common problem faced by vehicle owners. If the quantity of water inside the fuel tank is on the higher side, then it can be a difficult problem to handle. Such a scenario can lead to multiple issues related to the engine, lubrication, and rusting. Read ahead to know more about problems, symptoms, and solutions concerning water presence in your vehicle’s fuel tank.
There are numerous ways water can enter your vehicle’s fuel tank. And there are multiple ways concerning how to get water out of the fuel tank. Usually, one notices such an issue when the vehicles start facing ignition problems, sudden halts, etc. and then it becomes necessary to get rid of water. However, before finding the optimal solution, you need to find out the extent of water present in the fuel tank.
You can change the fuel filter, add additives to the fuel tank, or drain the fuel tank to clean it. But all this requires expertise. Speak to a trusted mechanic and make an informed choice regarding the solution. If you are well versed with vehicles, cautiously perform the actions and choose the solution based on the quantity of water in the fuel tank.
Usually, if your vehicle’s fuel tank has water, the car or bike might face problems related to ignition, acceleration, and sudden stoppage. If such symptoms show up continuously, you should get your vehicle checked as there might be the presence of water in its fuel (diesel/petrol) tank. If you want to play an active role in checking the water presence, you can try out the following methods.
Check fuel colour – The colour of the fuel will look darker if there is the presence of water.
Check smell – Water in the fuel tank can emit a foul smell.
Check microbe – Water presence can lead to microbial growth.
Use Water-finding paste – Use a dip-stick laced with water-finding paste and detect the water in the fuel tank of a car or bike.
It does not matter if the water is in the fuel tank of your car or bike, it can be damaging to any vehicle. If you have detected the presence of water in (diesel/petrol) fuel tank, then seek professional help at the earliest.
The presence of water inside a vehicle’s fuel tank can create havoc. After all, it is a foreign substance in a machine that is designed to function with clockwork precision. The entry of a foreign entity can disrupt the mechanisms of the engine and supporting systems leading to severe issues.
Here are some of the problems that can arise because of water inside a car or a bike’s fuel tank.
Water in the fuel tank can be a trigger point for rust to occur on the inside. Water and fuel will not mix. Eventually, water will sink to the tank’s surface. If that water stays at the bottom for a long time, it will lead to rusting. And if the fuel tank has any ridges or edges, the rusting process will happen more quickly.
Nowadays, vehicles come with an injector. Earlier, they used to be fitted with a carburettor. Modern-day injectors facilitate the flow of fuel into the combustion chamber. The injector’s pores are designed in such a manner that only the required amount of fuel is sprayed through them. The fuel’s density also plays a role in determining the injector’s efficiency.
Here, the presence of water complicates things. As water is dense, it is not sprayed as efficiently as fuel by the injector through its pores. This creates stress on the injector which can cause issues.
Fuel from the tank is pumped to the engine. The fuel also helps in cooling and lubricating, and water will affect this process. Rusting and fuel-injector issues can also impact the fuel pump.
Water can mix with the engine oil and harm the engine’s lubrication process. More the proportion of water, the more serious the issue.
If the above problems happen together or a combination of them occur at a higher intensity, then it can lead to engine seizure. The problem can be so severe that you may have to replace the engine.
Also, read: Vehicle Scrappage Policy in India
Be aware of the following water-in-fuel-tank symptoms. Get the tank checked as soon as possible if the symptoms persist for a longer duration. One-off instances might not be because of the water-related issues but something else.
Presence of water in a car or a bike’s fuel tank will affect combustion capacity. The vehicle’s combustion efficiency will reduce because of water. This will, in turn, harm the four-wheeler’s or two-wheeler’s power and mileage. The issue can get more problematic if it is left unresolved.
Drivers and riders whose vehicles have water presence often complain about engine stalling. This can happen while the vehicle is on the road or at rest. For example, the engine can stop functioning while a bike is in motion on the road or a car’s engine can refuse to start. Such issues happen due to problems related to combustion and compression, which are accentuated because of the water.
A car or a bike can shake vigorously while accelerating if the tank has water presence. One might feel the need to throttle more. The juddering can be due to lag in power.
The vehicle might release steam. The vaporisation of the water will lead to steam and it will escape from the car or bike’s exhaust.
Just as the steam is released, water droplets might also be released from the exhaust pipe. This happens due to condensation.
The answer to how to get water out of a fuel tank can vary depending upon the extent of the damage. Here are some fixes for water in the fuel tank. Seek professional assistance for the following solutions.
An ideal solution would be to drain the tank, clean it, and refuel it with good-quality fuel. This can be an expensive procedure but can offer better results.
A fuel filter acts as a hurdle for the water to enter the vehicle’s engine from the fuel tank. However, the filter can lose its efficiency due to the water getting stuck inside it. In such a scenario, replacing the old fuel filter with a new one can be helpful.
You can remove water from fuel tank with Rubbing Alcohol, which is a chemical that can settle at the fuel tank’s bottom and absorb the water. Eventually, such a chemical will pass through to the engine and get combusted.
Fuel additives can be added to the tank. This will dilute the fuel and water. Methanol-based additives should work. However, this method should only be used in the case of a low amount of water.
Some vehicle issues are visible to the naked eye. Problems with the tire, dents on the door, or scratches on the windshield can be noted and solved easily. However, when it comes to complex internal problems like the presence of water in the fuel tank, one cannot sight them easily. Here are some frequently asked questions that can help you clarify some doubts.
What can happen if water enters the fuel tank?
Prolonged presence of a higher amount of water in the fuel tank can cause multiple problems. These problems can lead to engine issues, lubrication hassles and rusting. These instances can cause other problems as well. For example, if a bike is running at full speed on a highway and its engine stops because of water presence, then it can cause a major accident.
How much water in the fuel tank is considered problematic?
The fuel storing part of the vehicle is called a fuel tank. Therefore, only fuel should be housed in that tank. Water is an uninvited guest in such a scenario. In some cases, even a small quantity can be damaging. Types of solutions undertaken and how quickly they are undertaken to get rid of the accumulated water also play a part in determining how much water is problematic. Therefore, if you get a hint that there is water present in the fuel tank, immediately visit your trusted service centre and get the issue resolved.
Can a new fuel filter prove helpful if the water in the fuel tank is on the higher side?
No, fuel filters can only stop a small amount of water from escaping its clutches.
Can weather-induced condensation lead to water in the fuel tank?
Yes, that can be a possibility.
Can water enter a bike’s fuel tank due to heavy rainfall?
Yes, it is a possibility, especially in the case of continuous heavy showers.
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