What Happens When You Put Sand in a Gas Tank?

by Vanessa Tang

Sand is best left on the beach or in a sand box. If it makes its way to your auto's gas tank you may be in for a headache and expense.


The concepts of putting something other than gas in the gas tank allegedly originated in the 1996 movie, "Kingpin," where sugar was placed in a victim's gas tank.

Potential Damage

If the tank was filled up with sand to the brim, it could damage the engine. Snopes.com notes that most cars contain a "sock" at the end of the tank's pickup tube that prevents anything that is not liquid from entering. The car's fuel filter should collect any remaining sand from entering the engine.


A complete flush of the tank and a change of the fuel filter should fix the problem. This kind of repair could range anywhere from $450 to $500.


A locking gas cap might be a good investment. Speedconcepts.net offers several varieties for different vehicles in the $30 to $40 range.

About the Author

Vanessa Tang has been a freelance writer since 2001. Her expertise ranges from increasing your financial IQ and beating the recession to teaching English and parenting. Tang's work has appeared in various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baldwin-Wallace College.

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