Bad Gasoline

I have a new car, which is about a year old, and it broke down, luckily, across the street. It had full power and gas in it but it wouldn’t start. I had it towed to the dealership the next morning and it took them four to five hours until they could find the problem. It turned out to be bad gas. After draining the gas tank they saw that it clearly had something else in the gas. I looks like water and oil. They even took some of the gas and put it into another car to see what would happen and it started to putter and almost lose power. So they new it was the gasoline. So, I went into the gas station where I got the gas and they basically laughed at me. They tried to tell me how my tank could of had particles that are at the bottom or someone put something in my tank. But there is know way anyone could get into my tank without my doors being unlocked. I had fork out almost $400 for the technician that worked on my car plus the flush and the new gas, which of course,was not part of my lease. They had to put new spark plugs and a new battery as well. Now I need to figure out how to get back at this gas station for giving me this bad gas.

As explained in a thread here a couple of weeks ago, “bad gas” is usually the bogus explanation for “I am too incompetent or lazy to figure out what is wrong.” But let’s say that there was bad gas in your tank. If it had come from the gas station I would expect that they would have had a lot of other angry customers lined up with you. And if you did have bad gas, MAYBE it did foul the spark plugs and they needed to be changed. But why would bad gas require that the battery be changed??? Of your $400, I’ll bet that at least $150 went for the battery (dealer parts, dealer labor).

Did you see the “bad gas” and the did you see it cause another car to “putter and lose power,” or are you trusting the dealer’s (verbal?) report? If that “bad gas” was so destructive, why the heck did the dealer put it into another car? Whose car did the dealer select to use for this experiment; some unknowing customer? Did that other car then need $400 of flush, plugs, and battery?

Go back to the gas station and buy a gas can full of fuel from the same pump you used. See if your dealer can see “something else” in that gas. Hang around the gas station and give notes to people using that gas pump: “My dealer said that my car malfunctioned because of ‘bad gas’ that I got at this pump. Please let me know if you have any trouble.”

As Art implied, the dealership’s diagnosis is very questionable.
While it is possible to get “bad gas”, the actual instances of this happening are actually quite rare.

The tip-off to the dealership being…shall we say…overly generous with your money, is the supposed need to replace the battery. Even if you did have “bad gas”, this would not kill a battery, and is unlikely to have affected the spark plugs.

And, what about the Bumper-to-Bumper warranty on your new car? That warranty covers EVERYTHING on the car except tires for…most likely 3 yrs/36k miles. If the dealership charged you for a new battery, that is the strongest possible indication that they are thieves.

Thanks for getting back at me. Most of the money was for the person who looked at my car. They only charged me for the flush and for new gas which was about $18. I didn’t have to pay for the new spark plugs. The battery was just for a precaution. I do have a sample of my bad gas and gas that was right out of the pump and it clearly has something else in it. When they did a test they did it on a car that wasn’t in use for sale or any other customers car. They only used a little bit of it. So, it went through the system pretty fast… I’ll definitely check into this more. It’s really frustrating.

Hang around the gas station and give notes to people using that gas pump: "My dealer said that my car malfunctioned because of ‘bad gas’ that I got at this pump. Please let me know if you have any trouble.

I don’t think I would do that. At this time, you don’t have any evidence that it was bad gas. Talking to other drivers would make they suspicious of that station that might have fine gas. You are also not going to be the stations favorite customer of the week. Frankly I doubt if it is the gas.

So did the shop give you a sample of the gas (quart or larger), showing the separation of water and gas?

If not, no convenience store owner will believe you. Even with the sample, you may be on shaky grounds if you were the only one to have an issue with the gas that day.

Of course, a shady business owner wouldn’t necessarily admit that there was more than one person who had a problem, making your ability to prove your case more difficult.

If you are leasing, the battery may have still been covered under a warranty. One year for a battery to require replacement is very unusual, in my book. Certainly not related to the gas issue.

Bad gas is usually a coverup diagnosis for we don’t know what’s the matter so here you are. Since you have a sample, and based on what was done to your car and this other vehicle, it does sound like one of those isolated cases of bad gas.

About the only advice I can give you is to contact the branch of your state government that regulates the distribution of gasoline and ask them to inspect the pumps and storage tanks. (In OK it’s the state tax commission but your state may be different)
They have the ability to inspect the tanks and perform an analysis so hang on to that gas sample you have.

A station not too far from me may have gotten in trouble with the OK tax commission recently. At one time they carried ethanol (underground tanks were only about 5+ years old) and phased it out. Whether the ethanol had anything to do with the problems I don’t know but about a month ago their pumps were closed for about 4 or 5 days with signs posted by the state and the lot being dug up to some extent with the entire area marked off by yellow tape.
Pumps were reopened and the gasoline prices went up 20 cents… :frowning:

A few thoughts: 1) This filling station wouldn’t happen to be located adjacent to a car wash? I’ve found all these such stations have water in the gas, it can’t be avoided, the ground around their tanks is saturated year-round. I avoid them like the plague.

  1. Does your gas tank cover lock? Bored Teenagers can be pesky little critters when it comes to practical jokes.

  2. If you don’t run a tank down in under a month, you could be absorbing water and/or allowing your gas to sour. In this case use Stabile or Starbright enzyme gas treatment.

Well, I’ll disagree. While bad gas may be an excuse when a mechanic can’t figure out what is wrong, in this case I think they have good evidence what is wrong. They changed the gas and everything is fine. It certainly is possible to get a bad tank of gas. When I had about 20K on my diesel Olds, I picked up a bad tank of diesel in DesMoine. After about 80 miles, the fuel filter was so plugged, I was down to about 20 mph for the 100 miles home. I changed filters about every 1000 miles and finally dumped the tank which was full of water and mold.

File a claim with the station owner and if that doesn’t work do a small claims court action for the $400 you are out. Just get a statement from the dealer and if you can a sample of the gas.

About 3 years ago there was a station in town that had bad gas, and then offered to pay all repairs for affected cars. It does happen, rarely, but make sure you complain to the company that owns the station and if they find there was a problem hopefully they will do the right thing. My guess is water and gas. Good luck to you.

Whether they actually have bad gas or not, hanging around and handing out notes will get you a fast bum’s rush from a cop after the clerk calls 9-1-1.

My dealer gave me a sample of my gas and a bottle of new gas to show me the difference and CLEARLY, there’s something in that gas. I’m going to take a picture of it so you all can see it. Someone said is it by a car-wash and it is. Could water get into it?