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Engine Damage Caused by Pouring a Soft Drink in the Gas Tank

by Jacob Burney

Depending on the amount, pouring a soft drink into a car's gas tank can cause a significant amount of engine damage. Car manufacturers design modern day engines to deal with only gasoline in the fuel tank. The water and sugar are foreign substances, and the engine cannot process a large amount of either.

Significance

A pint or less of soft drink in the engine will not cause substantial damage. There may be strange sounds or small "hiccoughs" while the engine runs. However, a liter or more of soft drink is too much for the engine to process. According to "Car Talk," the car will run poorly and may not start at all.

Types of Damage

Water in the soft drink will do the most damage. Too much water in the engine will get into the fuel pump and fuel line. Water can not power an engine when it evaporates, therefore the valves will not work.

The sugar in the soft drink may cause you to replace your fuel filters, because the sugar will melt onto the filter when the car runs. Your car will still run, but will not work optimally with clogged filters.

Solutions

Ask a mechanic to drain your gas tank and your engine of water if you have too much soft drink in the system. He will also change the fuel filter at this time, especially if you tell him a beverage is running through your engine.

If you have expansive knowledge of car engines, you could detach the fuel line yourself and drain the engine. However, gasoline will also be in the tank. The fumes and high flammability are extremely dangerous to deal with at home as opposed to in an auto garage.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Jacob Burney has been writing professionally since 2005. He has written articles for "Broncos GameDay" magazine and the 2007 "South Pacific Games." He has also written several approved grant proposals. He is a former Peace Corps volunteer and holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Bucknell University with minors in philosophy and religion.

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