Oil in Gas Tank – An In-depth Analysis

Oils are not meant to be found in the gas tank but there are cases where car owners mistakenly put oil in a gas tank.

If the oil is added in small quantities, you’ll likely notice blue smoke coming out from the exhaust, and a change in gasoline smell which usually burns off after driving extra miles.

However, oil added to the engine in larger quantities can result in stalling, clogged injectors, fuel pump damage, bad engine sensors, and engine misfiring.

Although most older engines don’t have an oil reservoir and allow the driver put oil and gasoline in the same tank.

In this article, we’ll discuss possible reasons why oil gets into the gas tank, what happens if you put oil in a gas tank, and what to do if oil gets into the gas tank.

How does Oil Get into the Gas Tank?

There’s a difference between oil getting into your gas tank and fuel getting into your oil.

If gasoline gets into your oil tank then a problem lies somewhere in your engine, however, oil getting into a gas tank is mostly due to human error.

Some of the reasons why gas will leak into your oil include a loose fuel injector, a bad carburetor, problematic pumps, bad piston rings, a misfiring cylinder, and faulty sensors.

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Now, here are how oil gets into your gas tank.

1. Accidents

Probably due to a mistaken container or gallon, car owners can put oil into a gas tank by accident.

It is important that you differentiate the gallon for oil and that of gas to avoid mistakes like this.

2. For Improved Engine Performance

Most drivers introduce oil into their gas tank when they’re running short of gas and would love to get to the nearest petrol station.

Others believe adding little oil to the gas improves engine performance (serves as a lubricant) and also keeps their engine clean (transmission oil)

3. Engine requirements

Older cars running on 2-cycle engines require a mixture of gas and oil in the same tank since they don’t come equipped with an internal oil reservoir.

What Happens if you Put Oil in the Gas Tank

Here’s what happens if you put oil into a gas tank and what should do depending on the quantity of the oil.

As I said earlier, it all depends on the quantity of oil that gets into the gas tank. Well, if a small quantity of oil gets into the gasoline tank then you have nothing to worry about.

Simply drive to a nearby fuel station and fill up the tank, so the quantity of gas will be far greater than that of the oil.

The oil will eventually burn off as blue smoke as you continue driving.

Meanwhile, if the amount of oil that got into the gasoline is between 4 gallons and above then;

  • Don’t start your car
  • Seek a towing service to get your place to an auto repair shop where the oil can be drained from the engine.
  • Refill the gas tank with fresh gas
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The reason why I advised you not to crank the engine is to avoid spreading the oil-gas mixture to components such as the carburetor, spark plugs and fuel injectors as this will cause severe damage.

However, If your car is running on a 2-cycle engine then you don’t have to worry about oil getting into your gas tank as that’s the default.

Although, there are proportions in which these fluids should be introduced for efficient engine performance.

How to Clean Out Oil from a Gas Tank

There are many approaches to cleaning out oil from a gas tank. Here are some you can rely upon.

1. Detach the Gas Tank

This is something that’ll likely require the service of a mechanic if you don’t have the proper tool and knowledge on how to handle it.

This will require you to detach your gas tank from your car and empty the gas-fuel mixture.

You can even go ahead to degrease the tank if you still notice traces of oil in the tank. Also, desist from cranking the engine to avoid complex damage.

Once you’re sure the engine is cleaned of oil, you can now reinstall the gas tank and fill it up with fresh gasoline.

2. Drain fuel using a drain plug or hose

If you can’t get access to the fuel tank then you can surely reach out to the drain plug.

If your car doesn’t have a drain plug attached to it then you can get yourself a long hose and an empty gallon to drain the fuel into.

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Don’t put this contaminated fuel into automobiles to prevent damage but it can be used for cleaning and other household jobs.

Once you’ve drained a good amount of the contaminated fuel, introduce fresh gas into the tank and try starting your car.

3. Reach out to a mechanic

If you can’t perform any of the above tasks by yourself then take your car to an auto shop that can help drain the mixture out of your gas tank.

They should be able to resolve it for a few bucks.

FAQs

Will oil in gas harm the engine?

No, but it all depends on the quantity of oil that gets into the gas tank. Well, if a small quantity of oil gets into the gasoline tank then you have nothing to worry about.

Simply drive to a nearby fuel station and fill up the tank, so the quantity of gas will be far greater than that of the oil.

The oil will eventually burn off as blue smoke as you continue driving.