Are you planning to sell your car in Dubai and UAE because somebody put sugar in the fuel tank? Do you really need to? Can a cheap household essential hold the power to ruin an expensive automotive? Is it just a myth or is there truth behind this common belief? The experts at CarSwitch.com did some research to help you find out!
Well, according to the legend, sugar destroys a car’s engine, causing some serious damage to it. This strongly believed legend has been around for over 70 years. It has even appeared as a prank in some movies too.
What happens to the sugar once it is inside the gas tank as per this classic legend is that it dissolves in the gasoline and gets into the engine when you start the car. Once there, it melts into a sludge with the heat of the engine and reaches every nook and cranny of the engine. However, the real problem starts when the engine is turned off and it cools down. The sugar sludge hardens and jams the engine making the car engine a piece of junk forever and now it is impossible to sell your car in UAE. Seams quite believable right? WRONG!
Why, you ask? It’s plain simple SCIENCE.
While sugar is definitely soluble in water, it is not soluble in gasoline. So, if somebody puts sugar in the gas tank, it doesn’t cause any major damage to the engine. In fact, since the sugar doesn’t dissolve in gasoline, most of the sugar simply settles down at the bottom of the tank or the slow flow pockets of the gas tank. So, there isn’t much to be worried about. Even if you already started the car without knowing that somebody has put sugar in it, the chances of engine damage are quite low. The numerous filters between the car engine and the gas tank will simply not let the sugar into the engine.
The built-in fuel filters are the life-savers
Why? Well, sugar crystals are usually 200 microns in size and the filters in the car’s fuel system can capture much smaller particles than that. The sock like filters in the gas tank, in-line fuel filters at the pump inlet, filters in the high pressure pump inlet in the engine bay, and the filters at the fuel injector inlet, will all stop even the tiniest sugar particles from entering the engine. If there is a considerable amount of sugar in the gas tank, these filters will probably be clogged. All you need to do is change the filters a few times. Even if the sugar is too much, simply remove the gas tank, dump the fuel and sugar, clean it out and replace the filters. Check the fuel pump for the flow rate since clogged filters can affect its efficiency or even burn out the fuel pump. But it probably wouldn’t ever go this far. Even if it does, your engine will be perfectly fine. Get the filters changed and the fuel pump checked.
The fact is that the effect of sugar in the fuel tank is not much different from sand in the fuel tank. The filter changing and tank cleaning might be an expense now you have to bear, but it does not turn your car into a useless piece of junk.
Here’s what you need to be worried about instead
What you should be careful about is water. Even water is harmless in small quantities and there is some probably already running through the fuel lines, but water in large quantities in the fuel tank can do what sugar can’t. It can hydro-lock an engine. This is because water is non-combustible and the piston will not be able to complete its stroke in the chamber causing considerable damage to the engine. Yet, modern-day cars with oxygen sensors and computers will usually stop the car before it can reach that point. So, it is just an urban myth that isn’t going to have much significance when you sell your car in UAE.