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Home | Oil and Fluid | Oil in Gas Tank – An In-depth Analysis

Oil in Gas Tank – An In-depth Analysis

March 21, 2024 | Victor Lukasso
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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 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.

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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, a problem lies in your engine. However, oil getting into a gas tank is primarily due to human error.

Gas will leak into your oil because of a loose fuel injector, a lousy 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 accidentally put oil into a gas tank.

It would be best to differentiate the gallon for oil and that gas to avoid mistakes like this.

2. For Improved Engine Performance

When running short of gas, most drivers introduce oil into their gas tank 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 you should do depending on the quantity of the oil.

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

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 gets 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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I advised you not to crank the engine to avoid spreading the oil-gas mixture to components such as the carburetor, spark plugs, and fuel injectors, which will cause severe damage.

However, If your car runs on a 2-cycle engine, 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 will 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 reinstall the gas tank and fill it with fresh gasoline.

2. Drain fuel using a drain plug or hose

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

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

Please don’t put this contaminated fuel into automobiles to prevent damage; 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, take your car to an auto shop that can help drain the mixture from 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 in the gas tank. Well, if a small amount of oil gets into the gasoline tank, you have nothing to worry about.

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.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.

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