Water in Gas Tanks Could Cause Costly Problems

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A handful of cars broke down Wednesday after customers say they were sold watered down gasoline at a Fort Smith gas station. Mechanics say the problem could cost people hundreds of dollars.

“See how it looks,” Mark Wakefield, co-owner at W & W Automotive in Fort Smith, “Turns milky looking when you shake it.”

Wakefield shows 5NEWS what water and gasoline look like when mixed. The concoction resembles a substance angry customers at Sunshine #7 put in their tanks on Wednesday.

Workers towed a handful of cars from the gas station. Customers say they were sold watered down gasoline. Mechanics say cars will not run with too much water in the gas. He said, “It sucks off the bottom of the tank and it sucks the water first cause it separates from the fuel.”

Wakefield says there are two ways to fix the problem. Option one, mechanics can pump the water out of the fuel tank and put gas back in. Option two, workers pull the tank out, dump it, wipe it down and put it back in the car. “If we can get 90-percent of the water out that’s great and then put as much gas as you can back in there.”

Mechanics say fixing the problem can range anywhere from $60 to $700. “Depends on if they say oh yeah you’re gone have to have a fuel pump,” said Wakefield, “You’re gone have to have a fuel filter, yeah we gotta flush your lines and everything, yeah you’re looking $600, $700.”

Mechanics say the car will run again. Wakefield does not expect the water to do any serious damage.

Mechanics say customers with water in their tanks may have trouble with an oxygen sensor or converter.

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