What Happens When You Put Sand in a Gas Tank?

by Vanessa Tang
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gas tank image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com

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.

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