What Happens If You Put Sugar in Your Fuel Tank


You’ve all heard about somebody getting sugar in the gas tank, and you probably think that it will cause major damage to your engine, but what in does it actually do? What happens if you put sugar in your fuel tank? Does it make the gas a solid? Does it turn it into some kind of weird goop? Let’s put some facts on the table.

What Happens If You Put Sugar in Your Fuel Tank

Putting sugar in your fuel tank will not cause permanent damage to your engine. Your engine will run with sugar in the fuel tank. Gasoline cannot dissolve sugar, therefore, the sugar will just sit at the bottom of the fuel tank.

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The sugar that will eventually end up in the fuel lines will burn with the fuel and you will notice a different smell coming out from the exhaust system. Putting sugar in a gas tank is kinda the equivalent of putting sand in a gas tank. It will most definitely not make your engine to seize. I do not recommend that you put intentionally sugar in your fuel tank, but if you do, make sure you to clean your fuel tank and change the fuel filter.

See: How To Clean A Fuel Tank Without Removing It

Can Water Dissolve Sugar?

Yes. We have all dissolved sugar into water or coffee. Both water and sugar are polar due to their OH groups. Sugar is actually tiny little crystals. The molecules of sugar are attracted to each other, and they form tight little lattices. When those crystals are surrounded by water, the water attracts the surface sugar molecules and surrounds them and then it’s dissolved.

Can Gasoline Dissolve Sugar?

Gasoline is non-polar. It’s got long chains of hydrocarbons that don’t have different charges on different ends. On the other hand, you have sugar which is very polar due to its OH group. If you mix gasoline and sugar into a glass and try to stir it up, it won’t mix. The sugar will just sit at the bottom. Because the sugar is polar, gasoline’s non-polar, it doesn’t dissolve.

Can Sugar Destroy a Car’s Engine?

No. It’s just simple as that. Sugar cannot destroy your car engine. If you somehow end up with having sugar in your fuel tank, it’s not the end of the world. If you notice it, drain your fuel tank and clean it. But, if someone else puts sugar in your fuel tank and you don’t notice it, all you would notice is a certain change of the smell coming from the exhaust pipe. The sugar cannot dissolve into gasoline and it will just stay on the bottom of the tank. Some of the sugar will eventually end up in the engine but it will not cause permanent damage to your engine. You may notice some buildup on the cylinder head, piston and valve.

How Can You Tell If Someone Put Sugar In Your Gas Tank

As you know the world we live in, there are some people that will want to harm you by putting sugar in your gas tank. But, how can you tell if someone put sugar in your gas tank? There are few indicators:

A great way to tell that someone has put sugar in your fuel tank is to simply inspect the area around the car. It is a little bit hard to put sugar in the gas tank and the usual time to do this will be at night. So, the person will probably pour some sugar on the ground.

There should be a significant amount of sugar left on the fuel tank cap. Also, open the fuel cap and inspect the ‘throat’ of the fuel tank. There should be sugar residue because it will not mix with the gasoline.

Why Is My Check Engine Light On

Your check engine light could turn on as an consequence of having sugar in your fuel tank. As we all know that sugar doesn’t dissolves in gasoline, it will just sit on the bottom of your fuel tank. However, some of the sugar might end up into the fuel lines and your sensors will get some faulty readings. This will lead to your check engine light turning on.

If you have sugar in your fuel tank then you should be able to smell that burn sugar. It will have that sweet caramel smell coming out from your exhaust pipe. You might even feel the smell inside your cabin.

I hope you enjoyed reading our article on What happens if you put sugar in your fuel tank. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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