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How Does Bad Gas Make Your Car Act?

by Lexa W. Lee

Bad gasoline in your tank can cause problems in a car engine, like knocking and pinging, engine misfire, rough idling and stalling, according to The problems will typically involve how the car drives and its emissions.

Clogged Fuel Injectors

Gas that does not contain enough dispersant-detergent additives may result in deposits building up and clogging the fuel injectors. Over time, fuel delivery becomes reduced or disrupted, causing the engine to run less smoothly, hesitate and even stall.

Low-octane Gas

Mechanic working on car engine

Gas that does not have enough octane has less resistance to detonation. Combustion becomes less controlled, and shock waves from simultaneous combustion events cause knocking and pinging. Repeated impact from uncontrolled combustion can damage the engine.

Dirty Gas

Patches of water, gasoline and oil

Gas contaminated with water, other liquids and dirt can cause a car to misfire, sputter and stall. Gas can become contaminated from leaky storage tanks at a gas station, as well as cross-contamination with other fuels or chemicals before it reaches a gas station.

About the Author

Lexa W. Lee is a New Orleans-based writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has contributed to "Central Nervous System News" and the "Journal of Naturopathic Medicine," as well as several online publications. Lee holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Reed College, a naturopathic medical degree from the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and served as a postdoctoral researcher in immunology.

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