Bad gas in a Honda Accord? What to do...?



Yesterday I filled my 2003 Accord with a tank of 87 octane Sunoco gas. I drove about 10 miles to have 2 new tires put on the car, and drove home. It wasn’t rainy though it was damp when I filled the car. It was pouring when I drove home. When I got home and got ready to turn off the engine, the car was sputtering. Today it ran rough, sputtered, and STALLED as I was driving to work.

I put in a bottle of dry-gas, but the car is still stalling when the brake is on. It restarts without any difficulty, but sometimes restalls when put into “drive”.

The dealership has the car – does anyone know if this sounds like water in the gas or something more serious? Is it possible it’s related to the 2 new tires (seems unlikely…) It’s very intermittant, and not sputtering or stalling all the time.

Thanks for your input!


One more thing I should add: The car has 47,000 miles, has always run beautifully, and NO check engine light came on.



Sounds to me like a classic wet ignition system.


If the ignition system is wet, would it start? It cranked and started every time, but stalls when I’m at a stop (like at a stoplight). It restarts without difficulty.

If the ignition system is the problem, how costly is that to fix?


Bad gas would not present intermittent symptoms. I agree with the other poster that it is an ignition related problem. I would try checking all of your plug wires and making sure they are all pushed onto the distributor and the spark plugs. I would check the distributor cap for cracks and I would spray some “wire dry” on your plug wires and distributor cap. This is available at your auto parts store. Your car seems too new to need new spark plugs or wires but you could try changing plugs plus the distributor cap and rotor. None of those are very expensive, especially if you are handy and can do it yourself.


I’ll definitely talk to the service people about this. The state agency that regulates gas stations sent someone to the station to take a sample of the gasoline. The man I spoke with had asked me if there was a diesel fuel sold at the same station. If diesel fuel had contaminated the gasoline, would it cause these symptoms?

Thanks –


So let’s see if the gas has water in it. Take a piece of garden hose and siphon somne of the gas out of the tank. I’d drive it around the block and replicate the problem by hard and frequent braking to mix the gas and water up a bit. Then siphon a glass jar full and let it settle. Gas and water don’t mix well . . . and you’ll be able to see if you have bad gas. Easy-squeezy. If you DO have bad gas . . . gotta sipohn as much as you can out, dispose of it properly, and re-fill with clean gas and drive it. Maybe change fuel filter(s), it’s time anyway. A bottle of dry-gas will help. If it’s NOT bad gas . . . look at the other posters responses about the ignition system. BTW . . . I had a tank of bad gas once, lived at that time in the flatlands, only time the car sputtered was at stop signs and going around 90 degree turns. Weird. But easy to check. Good luck! Rocetman