Car owners and drivers are cautious of what they put in their gas tanks. It is unlikely for someone to pour bleach into his gas tank unless he is running an experiment. However, a malicious person may bleach your car without your knowledge.
If your car has been bleached for any reason – experimentally by you and maliciously by someone, what should you do? Will bleach in gas tank explode? Though bleach in a gas tank will not explode or prevent your car from running, you need to rectify the issue as soon as possible. This article will explain the short and long-term effects of bleach in fuel tanks and how to address the underlying problem.
What happens when you put bleach in the gas tank?
As I explained in my previous article, sugar in gas tanks would cause damage to the car, but bleach will cause a catastrophe in the fuel tank and the engine. If bleach gets into the fuel tank, it creates two reactions.
Firstly, bleach is formulated with water and chlorine. And it is mostly water. For this reason, when bleach gets into the gas tank, it stays under the fuel, invariably reducing the overall vehicle performance, especially as the fuel reduces.
Secondly, the chlorine compounds in the bleach will react immediately it mixes with the gasoline. The reaction will burn the chlorine in the bleach, which has two effects.
It forms a corrosive oxidizer in the gas tank, which can lead to several other issues. Also, some amount of the gas becomes inert. If the inert gas goes into the engine, it’ll reduce the overall engine performance.
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Short term effects
Are you wondering how much bleach in a gas tank will ruin a car? The answer depends on two things; the amount of bleach added and the amount of gasoline remaining in the tank before someone poured the bleach. You’ll first notice that the vehicle will run poorly and perceive a bleach odor as you drive.
If the tank is almost filled to the brim and someone adds little bleach, it may not ruin the car. But if the fuel gauge is showing empty and a gallon or more bleach is added to the gas tank, it’ll cause a catastrophe if you keep driving with it. The truth is little bleach in the gas tank may not cause any short-term effects on the car.
However, do not relent if the bleach does not affect your car’s performance because the long-term effects may be grievous, and it’ll drop an expensive repair bill on the table.
Long term effects
As explained earlier, bleach is formulated with water and chlorine. Though bleach is a cleaning agent, chlorine in water is a strong acid, oxidizer, and corrosive. This implies that bleach will create rust on system components and wear out the seals and gaskets in the fuel delivery system.
These effects don’t take place immediately. It is gradual stuff. If you watch MythBusters bleach in gas tank experiment, you’ll see that the entire gas tank was filled with rust the following day. You’ll likely have similar results if someone pours bleach into your gas tank.
MythBusters experiment shows that bleach in the fuel tank will form rust in the gas tank. The rust will surely find its way into other components as you drive with the rusted tank. It’s a matter of time before the accumulated rust travels into the other fuel delivery system, like the fuel injectors. Of course, you know what this means. It’ll reduce engine performance and cause catastrophe.
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How to clean if bleach in the gas tank?
When wondering how to fix bleach in a gas tank, the first thing to check is whether you have driven the car or not. If you haven’t driven the vehicle, the only feasible solution would be to drop the gas tank and drain the fuel, and bleach in it.
However, if you have driven the car, you must also replace the fuel filters. After that, rinse the gas tank with fresh gasoline. Please, do not wash the fuel tank with water because water can cause problems. Whether you have coke in gas tank or sugar and bleach in gas tank, follow this approach to fix the problem.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Q: Is bleach in a gas tank traceable?
As reiterated above, the only way bleach will get into your gas tank is if you’re doing an experiment or a malicious person added it. You’ll perceive bleach while driving if you’re driving a car with bleach in the gas tank. Plus, there will be significant rust in the gas tank within a day or two, and every other component the bleach travels through will receive its peak share of the rust. Therefore, bleach in a gas tank is traceable.
Q: Is bleach flammable?
Bleach is formulated with water and chlorine; none of these compounds are flammable. This means that bleach is not a flammable liquid. It’ll not ignite fire nor burn on its own. However, it is essential to note that it contains oxidizing properties, which can cause the fire to burn more intensely at higher temperatures, and may cause the fire to spread faster.
Q: How long does it take bleach to ruin a gas tank?
Bleach in the gas tank will start ruining your engine within 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the quantity. Whether you have a quart or 2 gallons of bleach in gas tank, it is difficult to say how long it can take to ruin your engine. While a few drops won’t cause severe issues, it’s essential to drain the entire gasoline in the tank if you notice even a quart of bleach.
Q: How long does it take for bleach to off the gas?
You should not ignore bleach in the gas tank, expecting it to go off on its way. If you do, you may have catastrophic issues with the fuel delivery or engine components. Always drain the gas tank and refill it with fresh fuel once you notice someone poured gasoline into it. After draining the fuel, the leftover bleach will gas off in an hour or two.
Q: What mixed with bleach makes toxic gas?
If you mix bleach with ammonia, it’ll produce a toxic gas called chloramines. And exposure to chloramine gases will cause health issues like chest pain, watery eyes, nausea, coughing, and shortness of breath, wheezing, irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, pneumonia and fluid in the lungs.
Q: How do you neutralize bleach gas?
There are many bleach neutralizers in the market. However, some are more effective than others. One of the effective bleach neutralizers is sodium metabisulfite. To neutralize the harmful bleach residue with sodium metabisulfite, add a teaspoon to 2.5 gallons of water. Follow the directives on the neutralizer for proper measurement if you use a different neutralizing agent.
While bleach is a super cleaning agent, adding it to your gas tank will cause catastrophe in the fuel delivery and engine components. Firstly, it’ll corrode the gas tank, leave particles in the fuel filter and export the corroded shavings to the engine components as you turn on the engine. Also, it’ll leave toxic fumes that can cause health issues in the car interior.
If you’re wondering what to put in gas tank to ruin engine, the answer is sugar, coke, sand, salt, and bleach. Flush your tank whenever you have bleach in gas tank or any of these substances in the fuel tank to help the engine provide optimal performance.