Water In Fuel Filter Symptoms (9 Things To Be Aware Of)

Do you think there’s water entering your fuel tank through your fuel filter and impacting how well your car runs?

In older vehicles with rusted gas tanks and poor tank breathing, water in the gas tank is very likely. However, newer cars might also experience similar issues.

Unfortunately, as everyone knows, a vehicle’s fuel cannot operate with water. So, let’s find out more about it!

Water In Fuel Filter Symptoms

1. Rough Acceleration

Rough acceleration is a likely symptom of water in the gas tank of cars, motorcycles, or even larger vehicles.

Further, the air-fuel combination in the combustion chamber will be highly unusual since the engine believes the water to be fuel. However, it is frequently detectable by abrupt acceleration.

So, once you notice this sign, you must immediately check your fuel tank or let an expert inspect your vehicle to avoid further damage to your engine.

2. Engine Misfires

You may also see misfires when the water hits the cylinder’s combustion chamber.

Furthermore, Since water is a non-combustible liquid, water in the engine could lead the engine to misfire and run rough if it is absorbed into your vehicle’s fuel system.

Therefore, misfires can result in rough acceleration, but you can also observe misfires on idle, which can have similar symptoms.

3. Check Engine Light Turns On

Sensors continuously monitor all engines in modern automobiles; if one sensor reports incorrect readings, it will communicate this situation to the engine control unit.

Of course, it will record a trouble code in the memory if something’s wrong with your vehicle, such as when water passes through the fuel filter.

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So, it is recommended you check the issue codes using an OBD2 scanner if the check engine light is illuminated on your dashboard to understand the problem further.

4. Steam Coming From The Exhaust

If water is present in the exhaust pipe or the combustion chamber, it will evaporate and produce steam. In addition, everyone knows that water will become steam when heated over 100 °C.

Therefore, if you observe that the exhaust pipe is emitting a lot more steam than usual, it may be due to water in the fuel tank.

5. Difficulty Starting The Engine

Difficulty Starting The Engine

An automotive engine’s startup phase is quite crucial. First, the fuel mixture must be ideal; otherwise, the spark plugs won’t have enough fuel to burn the gas or be able to light it.

Therefore, water in the gas tank can lead to prolonged cranking times and harm the condition of your vehicle.

6. Engine Will Exhibit A No-Start Condition

If there is too much water in the gasoline, the engine won’t even start. In addition, if your engine won’t immediately crank, it may be hydro-locked.

So, when the pistons attempt to compress air in the cylinder, they will also try to constrict the water, which is impossible because water cannot be compressed like air.

It might even harm the engine’s internals, such as the crankshaft rods, and lead the engine to lock up completely. It takes a lot of water in the chamber, which is uncommon, for this to occur.

Therefore, if you believe this to be the case, take out one spark plug to ensure the crankshaft can still be turned after that.

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7. Sluggish Acceleration

The car’s sensors work together to maintain a constant, ideal air-fuel ratio.

That said, your vehicle’s sensors will receive a false readout if water flows through the engine from your fuel filter, causing it to operate excessively.

As a result, the engine’s power may be diminished, resulting in symptoms like sluggish acceleration.

8. Idling Or Sputtering Issues

Water cannot catch fire. Water in the combustion chamber will cause the engine to perform strangely, and it might show up as idling issues, sputtering, or subpar performance.

Additionally, sputtering or a significant decline in performance after filling up the tank might be attributed to tainted gasoline if your car operated normally before that point.

Therefore, you must check whether your spark plugs are functioning and check to see if the check engine light is on.

9. Abrupt Rise Or Fall In Power

Driving may cause the engine to surge quickly and suddenly lose power if water passing through your fuel filter is combined with gasoline.

Further, the engine will struggle to compress the water, resulting in a pronounced loss of power. However, the engine will gain power and accelerate as cleaner gasoline is supplied.

That said, surging or a substantial loss of power may be brought on by water in the gas tank if there are no other sensor issues or engine defects.

To know more, you can also read our posts on transmission control module symptoms, weak ignition coil symptoms, and overheating ignition coil symptoms.


Your vehicle’s fuel filter is an essential part of your fuel pump system that supplies gas to your engine to work correctly.

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However, having water that can pass your fuel filter into your fuel tank needs immediate attention, as this can bring you inferior performance and cause damage to your engine.

Knowing these symptoms can help you better understand what’s happening to your vehicle.

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