How to effectively remove water from a gas tank without a workshop

How to effectively remove water from a gas tank without the help of the service station

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Removing water from the car's gas tank.

Water formation in the gas tank is a natural physical process that can be controlled, but unfortunately, absolutely impossible to prevent. Different cars and for different reasons accumulate different amounts of water, and if its concentration exceeds a critical level, it simply needs to be removed from there by all available means.

1. Let’s deal with the phenomenon of water in a car’s fuel tank

Sources of water in the tank / Photo:

Where does the water come from in the tank? First of all – from the condensate, which gets to the beginning of the fuel line from the atmospheric air. As a rule, during normal exploitation of a car and filling up with good quality fuel at reliable fuel stations about 200 ml of water accumulates at the bottom of the tank per year on average. This amount of moisture is not critical for the car itself, nor for its fuel system, if, of course, you have a new car.

Water can get into the fuel tank for other reasons as well. For example, as a result of a loosely closed cap in the gas tank hatch with rain or snow, with low-quality fuel from the gas station or as a result of hooliganism of third parties – for example, children or a malicious neighbor.

No matter how water gets into the tank, if its amount exceeds 300-500 ml, it is vital to remove it, otherwise problems may arise with the engine itself, the most terrible of which is metal corrosion.

Driving on a full tank / Photo:

To make water accumulate in the tank as slowly as possible, make it a rule to drive on a full tank. The more space a gas tank takes up with atmospheric air, the more condensation will collect on its walls during temperature changes.

Fill up only at the checked gas stations, and when traveling around the country, try to avoid dubious gas stations. Modern navigators can show not only the location of the nearest gas stations, but also their rating and customer reviews. While in another city, use this tiphack to avoid filling up your car with a couple of liters of water.

It is recommended to remove water from the gas tank when the seasons change, that is, in spring and fall. It is possible to do it only once a year, but then you have to choose only the fall, because in wintertime the water can be especially dangerous for diesel engines.

Water does not dissolve in petrol / Photo:

Let us explain – while the water does not dissolve in gasoline at all and settles at the bottom of the tank, the diesel fuel can absorb a considerable part of the liquid and literally crystallize with the first frosty day.

Pay attention also to the fact that if the water in the gas tank of your car for a long time kept at a fairly high level, it is necessary in conjunction with the procedures, which we will tell below, replace the fuel filter, otherwise you risk soon to put out of service fuel injectors, repair of which on some cars can cost a fortune.

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2. The main signs of water in the tank

How to understand, that there is water in a gas tank / photo:

Once again, water in the tank does not mix with fuel, if it is gasoline, does not evaporate and cannot pass through the filter screen of the gasoline pump. Therefore, its amount will only increase from year to year, and over time, the driver will start to notice changes in the behavior of the car.

Here is a small list of oddities associated with having a large amount of water in the tank:

The least amount of water naturally accumulates in plastic gas tanks, because liquid droplets on plastic condense less intensely than on metal. However, if you have witnessed such symptoms in your vehicle, it is likely that the water level in the tank has already exceeded the critical level and needs to be removed.

3. Proven ways to remove water from the gas tank 100%

Removing water from the tank / Photo:

You can have your car service center remove water from the tank and this is probably the best option, because adding any chemical additives in the tank will in any case provoke different intensities of separation of fat deposits from the walls of the vessel, and this in turn may cause clogging of the whole fuel system in general, which in the future will require its full flushing.

If you decide to take such a drastic step and get rid of water by removing the tank and cleaning it completely, do yourself a favor and replace the gasoline pump grid with a new one.

Make sure that the tank is not just emptied of liquid, but also thoroughly cleaned of solid deposits by chemical and mechanical cleaning.

If you don’t want to go to a service station and dismantle the tank at high cost, you can use chemical fuel additives that contain methanol or solvent. Use this method, if the car is not more than three-five years old, and its mileage does not exceed 100 thousand km, otherwise there is a real risk to get on full flushing of the fuel system.

Such additives work if there is not more than two liters of water in the tank. If there is more water in the tank, their effectiveness will inevitably tend to zero.

Solvent / Photo:

To remove the moisture you can use pure solvent, which is on sale in any quantity in all the construction stores in the country. But its efficiency will also decrease as the water level in the gas tank increases. And it is not recommended to use more than 250 ml of solvent per 40 liters of fuel.

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If you want to save money and remove a big enough amount of moisture from the tank, use acetone. It is not recommended to use this agent permanently, because of its negative effect on the rubber parts of seals. However, using 200-300 ml of acetone per 40 liters of gasoline will not damage the fuel system in any way, and water will be absolutely removed from the tank. It is recommended to add acetone to a car’s gas tank not more than once a year!

There is also an old “ancient” way to remove water from the tank – alcohol. The thing is that modern cars can work perfectly well on alcohol solutions, and in the process of mixing water with alcohol you get the well-known vodka. It is possible to pour any quantity of alcohol into the tank at one time, because alcohol is absolutely harmless to both rubbing parts of the car, and to rubber or paronite seals.

Adding alcohol to the gas tank / Photo:

Alcohol has an important quality – when mixed with water, it allows its molecules to pass unhindered through the filter screen, burning safely and being naturally removed from the gas tank in a short time.

The only problem may be the inaccessibility of the chemical, which has recently been prohibited for sale in pure form in pharmacies. And a 70% solution of alcohol cannot be used. If you can not find the usual alcohol, you can use isopropyl or methyl alcohol.

Keep in mind that methanol is a strong poison, and even inhaling its vapors can lead to serious health problems.

However, you need to take care not only about the absence of water in the gas tank – preparing your car for the fall includes other important points.

How to remove water from the gas tank?

Despite the tightness of the fuel tank, moisture still gets into it, no matter how the car owner would beware of it. The amount of liquid increases over time, resulting in auto breakdowns. Fortunately, there are many ways to get the liquid out of the gas tank.

How does water get into the gas tank?

There are several options here:

  1. Condensation . Half-empty tank, temperature fluctuations, summer heat – all this leads to the fact that the moisture settles on the walls of the container and flows down, settling at the bottom. Of course, its amount is minimal, but over the years it can accumulate enough.

  1. Getting in through a gas tank hatch. This is the most common way. Rain, thick fog, using a wet filling gun – all these things contribute to the problem, however insignificant it may seem at one time to get water in the gas tank.
  2. Use of low-quality fuel. Condensation that forms in tanks during fuel transportation and storage gives a certain percentage of water in gasoline or diesel. However, the biggest problem is diluted fuel. Although such fuel is rare nowadays, the threat of running into it is very real. Especially at second-rate gas stations.
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Natural way (precipitation, condensed air) for 3-4 years, up to 300 ml of liquid can accumulate in the tank. If it’s about diluted gasoline, there are absolutely different figures – up to one liter per year or two.

What is the danger of moisture in a tank?

Alas, not all car enthusiasts know what harm moisture does.

Firstly, it causes rust. If plastic fuel tanks are not threatened by this problem, then it is actual for metal ones. Corrosion leads to fuel filter clogging, filter replacement and fuel supply problems. Also rust adversely affects the operation of the car battery.

Secondly, water can trivially freeze on the fuel filter in winter, because it does not allow moisture – only fuel. And a frozen filter won’t let fuel through. The filter will have to be warmed up for the fuel pump to work. A situation like this is not the best thing that can happen on a winter street.

Water in the gas tank: symptoms

Signs of moisture in the gas tank, when the amount of liquid is too high, it is difficult to ignore. Water does not mix with gasoline, it is heavier than it and settles to the bottom of the tank. If enough liquid collects, the pump delivers it to the injector system, not fuel. In addition, when you drive, the water gets agitated, enters the combustion chamber or settles on the filter and interferes with the system. If there is a lot of it, the engine will “malfunction”.

The symptoms of water in the gas tank are:

  • engine power drops;
  • the engine starts badly or starts only after several attempts;
  • extraneous noises appear in the engine compartment;
  • the car refuses to start in frosty weather.

To avoid this, you need to get the water out of the fuel tank in time and watch where and what kind of fuel you fill up.

Some cars have a water sensor on the fuel filters. In this case, it is easy to establish its presence.

How to remove water from the gas tank

To understand how to remove water from the gas tank, it is worth taking into account that this liquid does not mix with the fuel. This means that it is necessary to change its structure at the molecular level and turn it from water into fuel.

It will help all known substances – for example, alcohol, acetone and solvent – or special preparations that are sold in auto stores.


Removing moisture using alcohol is an effective way. There are three types of alcohol that can be used – ethyl (food grade), isopropyl and methyl alcohol. Alcohol, when mixed with water, turns it into a flammable liquid that easily passes through the fuel filter and literally “flies down the pipe” – that is, through the exhaust tract.

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Ethyl alcohol is the safest, but its sales are limited and almost impossible to acquire these days. If you have old supplies, fine. Pouring ethanol into the tank will, quite simply, make vodka out of water.

Methyl alcohol is poisonous and should be handled carefully, preferably with gloves on. It should not be allowed to come into contact with mucous membranes. The removal procedure should take place outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, because methyl vapor is poisonous.

Isopropyl alcohol is the most common option. It is very easy to remove water with isopropyl. It is relatively harmless and easy to get. It is used to make a non-freezing fluid.

It is important that the alcohol is not diluted. Otherwise, its use will not give results. About 200-300 ml of alcohol is poured into a container.


If there is no alcohol on hand, and it is necessary to remove the liquid, you can use acetone. This is another agent that turns H2O into a fuel mixture.

It should be mixed in the same way as alcohol, the proportions are about the same.

Special substances

They have the same effect as the named options, but are much more expensive (some brand variants can be up to 5 times more expensive).

To get rid of moisture, the composition is added to the gas tank. The amount is taken in accordance with the instructions.

Some drivers are afraid to use “grandfatherly” ways, the ineffectiveness of which is confirmed by marketing “facts”. They may be right. However, looking at the composition of an expensive substance, you will find the same alcohol or acetone plus fragrances and dyes. It is quite possible that to pay for the smell and color to 500 rubles and justified.

Removing liquid from the gas tank: other ways

In addition to the use of withdrawal compounds, there are other ways to remove water from the fuel tank. You can, for example, remove the tank, drain the liquid from it, and at the same time wash and dry it. The advantage of this method is that the tank is cleaned from foreign impurities – sand, rust, dust. The disadvantage is that it is very labor-intensive.

The second method allows you to remove water from the gas tank without removing it. You will need a small hose, an empty container and the knowledge of physics within the school program. One end of the hose is placed at the bottom of the fuel tank and the other end is placed in an empty container below the tank level. The liquid will flow into the vessel below – the law of communicating vessels.

The third way is to pump out the water. The pump is located at the bottom, so it is enough to unscrew the spool, press through the diagnostic block and the liquid can be pumped out into any container.

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Gasoline engine and diesel car – is there a difference?

Because of the water in the tank of a diesel car, the fuel injection pump is severely worn, which affects the performance and durability of the engine system. The properties of diesel are somewhat different than those of gasoline.

It is possible to expel the water from the diesel engine in a different way. In addition to universal methods – removing and drying the fuel tank – you can also use special removers, though they are not gasoline.

Only instead of alcohol or acetone, it is recommended to use machine oil – about 200 ml per 50-liter tank.

So, we’ve figured out what to do if water gets in the gas tank, and what are the causes of this phenomenon. It is recommended to check and clean the fuel tank in the autumn, because, having frozen in winter, water can create a problem at the most inopportune moment.

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