Filling up your car with water is a pretty rare occurrence, but we’re told consumers can reduce the risk by not using a pump where a tanker truck is refilling the storage tank. There is often a little water in that underground tank – for example, up to 2 inches is allowed under Michigan law – and it’s normally not a problem, since water is heavier than gas and it stays at the bottom of the tank. But if the underground tank is being filled just as you use the pump, there’s a chance the water could slosh up and get mixed in.
If you suspect you’ve pumped water into your car, act quickly. Document everything. Keep your receipt and know the pump number and time of purchase. Immediately call your state’s weights and measures inspectors (often part of the state Department of Agriculture). Ask them to send an inspector right away.
Take the car to a certified mechanic, and if they find water in the gas, ask them to keep a sample of the contaminated fuel. Document the chain of evidence in case you need to have the sample tested for a court battle. And call your insurance company.
- The ABC News Fixer