Skip to main content

It’s 2024. You’re pulling into a gas station to hit the pumps and add some much-needed fuel to your car or SUV’s barren tank. Admittedly, you’re probably giving more thought to pump availability, gas prices, or the ever-so-delicious snack you’re going to buy in the Stop-N-Shop. However, you’re probably not pondering the damage that the fuel you just pumped into your car is wreaking. Unfortunately, as recent instances indicate, bad gasoline could be causing some serious damage to your vehicle.

If you pump bad gasoline into your modern vehicle, you could be looking at a four-figure repair bill

It sounds like a vehicle ownership hazard your father or grandmother might warn you of across the table on one of their “I’m just going to say one last thing” rants: bad gasoline. However, it still happens today. Moreover, with some sensitive fuel system components, it could be a bothersome expense to repair damage from contaminated gas.  

According to WDRB in Louisville, KY, a driver stopped at a fuel pump in their Ford Escape SUV. That sounds fairly routine, right? Wrong. The driver departed the pumps and, within minutes, he was on the side of the road. The Escape would take him no further after his fuel stop. 

The driver had the compact SUV towed to a Ford dealership, hoping for a quick resolution. Unfortunately, the technicians at the Ford service center had less-than-stellar news. “The Ford dealer had to drop the fuel tank, the whole tank was filled with water, they even left me a sample,” the driver told WDRB.

An empty Shell station closes down after bad gasoline issues in the UK.
An empty Shell station | Getty Images

If you know anything about fuel injection systems, you know that bad gasoline, whether contaminated or diluted, has the potential to damage or clog a multitude of fuel system components. That includes the fuel pump, filter, injectors, lines, or even the tank itself. In the case of the Ford Escape driver, the bill was $1,200 to replace his fuel pump and injectors. 

However, for a pricier vehicle with more expensive replacement parts, that repair bill could have been much, much higher. If you leave a fuel stop and suspect bad gasoline, be on the lookout for the telltale signs. Specifically, pay attention to any signs of poor operation, decreased throttle response, difficulty starting, or stalling.