What Happens When You Put Sugar in A Gas Tank? A Full Guide

Sugar is a popular household ingredient that seems harmless in almost every case. But when it comes to automobiles, things are not that simple.

What happens when you put sugar in a gas tank? Does it pose no harm at all – or will it cause irreparable damage that costs you thousands of dollars to buy a replacement?

Bryan’s Garage is here to the rescue! We will discuss things that might happen to a sugar-filled car tank and what you can do to improve the situation.

Let’s dive in right now! 

What Happens When You Put Sugar In A Gas Tank?

What Happens When You Put Sugar In A Gas Tank

What happens if you put sugar in a gas tank? Some sugary obstacles cannot go through fuel filters, which blocks their openings and keeps fuels from flowing smoothly into the gas tank.

As a result, it cannot start and might eventually die down.

Things That Gas Tank Sugar Might Inflict Damage On

Once the sugars go inside the car’s gas tank, it will continue slipping to the bottom and settling underneath the tank – rather than dissolving itself.

As sugars far exceed typical fuel in terms of density (1.59gr/cm), some of its granules will refuse to flow through your fuel filter. Instead, they will clog these injectors or fuel filters, especially if the sugar amount is higher than expected.

As the clogging level posed by sugars is quite severe, the fuel injectors and filters will malfunction. Your cars might start to stall and struggle – as if they ran out of gas, while in fact they do not.

This phenomenon will persist until the vehicle stops working altogether, meaning your carburetor and fuel pumps have experienced severe effects.

All hope is not lost for those who diagnose the problem immediately and find on-time solutions for them.

However, if this dilemma does not receive treatment right away, the cars will suffer from significant – sometimes irreversible – damage.

Some may argue, is the issue even that serious? After all, it’s just sugars! Yes, we agree that the sugar itself does not directly harm the tank, since it’s by no means a toxic ingredient.

Instead, it’s the gradual clogging inside the injectors and fuel filters that kills your cars over time.

Can We Still Drive Cars With Sugars Inside Their Tanks? 

In a way, yes, since the clogging doesn’t occur immediately. When the sugary amount is within safe territories, you can still traverse quite a long way with your precious cars.

However, we do not suggest you keep things that way for long; if possible, get rid of those substances immediately before the car’s condition worsens.

And, of course, you don’t need us to describe what will happen if you decide to ignore the dilemma for weeks or months.

As previously mentioned, the car will struggle to sustain a smooth run – as if its tank has no fuel at all – and refuse to kickstart.

The clogging in your fuel pump keeps the car from getting sufficient fuel supply, terminating its operation altogether.

It’s not an exaggeration to claim that sugar in gas engine tanks is one of the worst silent enemies for automobiles in the 21st century.

Some Warning Signals To Keep An Eye On

How can we know that our vehicle is suffering from a sugary attack? Stalled engines and power surges are some of the most common signals for sugar in the gas tank.

Power Surges. Power surges tend to occur during acceleration due to granules littering the fuel lines – which hampers the fuel consumption’s standard level.

Its fuel flow stutters and becomes uneven, leading to unexpected power waves in acceleration – followed by a lull.

On another note, the pump mechanisms might also become caramelized, especially if the filters are placed right after the pump.

Stalled Engine. Your car will likely suffer from stalled diesel engine components, jerking whenever you slow down or speed up.

That’s a direct result of 100% clogged transmission lines – and if things are more serious than anticipated, the issue will remain even during the automobile’s idle periods! 

That’s not even the end of the story. Worse, you might not even be able to start the car in the first place – one of the most ominous signs of sugar in gas tank.

After all, your fuel access is blocked completely, and a car without fuel can not operate on its own! 

In such unfortunate cases, we do not suggest you repeatedly kick-start the car. Those moves will wear down your battery and the starter.

And what if there are no symptoms at all? That does not mean the sugar gas tank has resolved itself; maybe the signals are just building up, waiting for the moment when those sugary granules finally penetrate your engine compartment.

How Can We Remove Sugars from Our Gas Tanks?

For only a small dose of sugars, replacing the filters or pumps is enough to eliminate the dilemma for good.

But if a whopping bag of sugars attacks your car, only professional services can help you in that case.

Some sprinkles of sugars, fortunately, are not that of a big deal.

All you must do is replace the fuel pumps sooner than normal to ensure all those sugary foes are gone forever. Check out this instruction to check your fuel pump properly!

But once someone does the nasty trick of pouring into your tank a huge bag of sugars (or even more), the problem is no longer that simple! 

Under these circumstances, your best bet is to take this unfortunate vehicle to some popular mechanics.

With years of experience and advanced skills, they will be the only people that can extract sugar from the car for you.

A typical procedure involves complete sugar removal and subsequent cleaning, costing from 200 to 300$ in total.

While 200-300$ of major repairs is not that much money, they are still quite a loss for victims of those cruel pranks. The culprit should be the one who takes responsibility, not you! 


How Much Sugar Is Enough to Ruin Gas Tanks?

By now, no official scientific studies have delved much into this matter.

Still, many real-life experience reports recorded so far might be more than enough evidence; apparently, a small teaspoon (for every 15 gallons) can already cause the car to stall for a little bit.

Any number higher than that will lead to symptoms and damage already discussed in the previous section!

Hence, you should always pay close attention to your car’s operation. If power surges and engine failure occur more often than usual, it’s time to stop the car and do a quick check.

Other Than Sugars, What Components Can Damage The Gas Tanks?

Here’s some not-so-great news: literally anything other than gasoline! That’s why so many automobile criminals rejoice – since there are so many ways they can wreak havoc on your car without much effort.

Salt, water, and sticky liquids like honey can easily ruin your entire engine compartments by clogging its fuel cells.

Other substances like hydrogen peroxide, bleach, coke, and urine are also some terrifying car killers to beware of.

Once you let them invade the tanks, putting them out (both the liquid and the smells) will take lots of time and money! 

All in all, we do not suggest you put ANYTHING in the tanks at all… except for when you want to ruin your own car on purpose, of course. But who would want to do that if not for insurance money fraud? 


Some Warning Signals to Keep An Eye On

This article has discussed what happens when you put sugar in a gas tank.

Though the consequences can still be reversible if diagnosed immediately, it would be best to avoid the matter right in the first place.

Avoid bringing sugary food or drinks near your car, and keep a close eye on it whenever there are parties or picnics nearby!

Leave a Comment