Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: I put rusty fuel in and now no power and engine warning light with lightning bolt on it.

asked by on

Good day. PLease may you advise me 1) what should I do to fix the below problem and 2) can i drive with it like this? I am i a very small town with no mechanic and home is 400km away. So about a month a go I had my car serviced by my mechanic and then about 3 weeks ago I out rusty fuel in not knowing it was rusty, now i filled up at a garage 2 days ago and the warning light with a lighting bolt on the engine came on and there is hardly any power, I then changed the fuel filter which was dirty and it had a bit more power but its still not working properly and where I live is 400km away, it drives reasonably fine as it is but I am worried that if I drive it I could do further damage?
My car has an automatic transmission.

I wish I could tell you that it would be OK to drive to the next town, but I can’t. I’ll bet that the rusty fuel you put in your car had a high water content. Now the water is gathering in the bottom of the tank and causing you trouble. Unfortunately, manufacturers no longer put drain plugs on the bottom of the fuel tank, so the only thing you can do is siphon the tank empty and replace it with good fuel. Trouble is, when you siphon the tank there will still be a small portion of fuel in the bottom, and that is where the water will be. But you might get away with it if you siphon the tank empty and then fill it up with fresh fuel. I don’t recommend the fuel additives that are marketed for this, I’ve seen them cause more trouble than good. You could try contacting Your Mechanic, they might have a technician in your remote area that can come to your home and check out your car. and help you solve this problem.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. I put rusty fuel in and now no power and engine warning light with lightning bolt on it.

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: VW reliability improvements over past several years

Hi there. Over the last 5 years or so VW has done a great job of making their cars more reliable. Though the advancements in the cars are great, 99% of the reliability comes from maintenance. Where some other are...

Q: What's Dry Gas?

Dry gas, or Drygas, is an alcohol based fuel additive. Its purpose is to remove excess water from gasoline by absorbing the water and burning it off in the combustion chamber. It also prevents water in gasoline from freezing by...

Q: Will not turn over

Hi, thanks for writing in. In many instances when this occurs, the problem is the actual battery cables themselves. When the battery is "stimulated" with the wrench to the body or other metal components not grounded, it can cause the...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Long Does a Heater Control Valve Last?
Keeping the right amount of coolant in a car is essential in keeping the engine at the right temperature. Failing to have the right amount of coolant or even bad elements...
P0240 OBD-II Trouble Code: Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance
P0240 code definition Turbocharger Boost Sensor B Circuit Range/Performance What the P0240 code means P0240 is an OBD-II generic code triggered when the Engine Control Module (ECM) detects the intake boost...