How Much Does a Fuel Drain Cost? Tips and Expectations

The cost of a fuel drain can vary depending on several factors, such as the type and amount of fuel that needs to be drained, the location of the service, and the company providing the service. 

However, in general, the average cost of a fuel drain in the US is around $300 to $500. For example, a fuel drain for a small passenger car may cost around $250 to $400, while a fuel drain for a larger vehicle, such as a truck or SUV, may cost around $400 to $600. 

If the wrong type of fuel has been added to a vehicle, it can cause damage to the engine or other components, which may increase the overall repair cost. 

Additionally, some insurance policies may cover the cost of a fuel drain, so it’s worth checking with the insurance company to see if this is an option.

fuel being pumped into white car

What Is the Fuel Drain Procedure?

Fuel drain is a procedure used to remove the incorrect fuel from a vehicle’s tank and replace it with the correct fuel. Here’s a brief overview of what typically goes into the fuel drain procedure:

  1. Draining the tank. The first step is to drain the tank of all the fuel. This is usually done by accessing the fuel tank and removing the fuel using specialized equipment, such as a fuel pump or a siphon.
  2. Flushing the fuel system. Once the tank is empty, the fuel lines and other fuel system components are flushed with the correct fuel to remove any remaining incorrect fuel.
  3. Refilling the tank. After the fuel system has been flushed, the correct fuel is added to the tank. The fuel is then circulated through the system to ensure it works properly.
  4. Inspecting the vehicle. Finally, the vehicle is inspected to ensure that it’s running properly and that no damage has been done to the engine or other components.

Remember that the fuel drain procedure can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each vehicle and may involve additional steps depending on the type and amount of fuel that needs to be drained. Additionally, additional repairs may be needed if the incorrect fuel has caused damage to the engine or other components.

The Potential Cost of a Fuel Drain

Here’s a list of potential costs associated with a fuel drain:

  1. Fuel drain service fee: $150 to $300.
  2. Cost of fuel: $50 to $100.
  3. Tow truck fee: $50 to $200.
  4. Cost of additional repairs: Varies widely

Here’s a table format of the same information, with average costs:

Cost ComponentDescriptionTypical Cost
Fuel drain service feeCost of the fuel drain service provided$150 – $300
Cost of fuelCost of the correct fuel added to the tank$50 – $100
Tow truck feeCost of towing the vehicle to the service location$50 – $200
Cost of additional repairsCost of repairs needed due to engine or component damageVaries widely

Note: The above costs are intended to provide a general idea of the potential costs associated with a fuel drain and are based on industry estimates for a typical passenger vehicle in the United States.

The cost of repairs due to engine or component damage caused by the wrong fuel can vary widely depending on the extent of the damage and the type of vehicle. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars for minor repairs to several thousand dollars for more extensive damage.

For example, if the incorrect fuel has caused damage to the fuel injectors, fuel pump, or other engine components, the cost of repairs can range from $500 to $2,500 or more, depending on the severity of the damage and the type of vehicle. In more severe cases, where the engine has been seriously damaged, the cost of repairs can exceed the value of the vehicle.

It’s worth noting that in some cases, the cost of repairs may be covered by the vehicle’s warranty, insurance policy, or the fuel station responsible for providing the incorrect fuel.

Things to Keep In Mind

When looking for a fuel drain service, there are several key things to keep in mind to ensure that you find the right service for your needs. Here are some important factors to consider:

1. Availability

Check to see if the fuel drain service is available in your area and what the response time is. Many services operate 24/7, but confirming availability and response time is important to avoid delays or inconvenience.

Check if the fuel drain service offers emergency or after-hours service in case of an emergency. You can also look for online reviews or check with your local automotive association to find a reliable service in your area.

2. Qualifications and Certifications

Verify that the fuel drain service is licensed and certified, and that the technicians are qualified and experienced in performing fuel drains. This helps ensure that the fuel drain is done properly and safely.

Look for fuel drain services that have technicians with ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) or equivalent certifications. You can also ask for references from previous customers to ensure the quality of the service.

3. Equipment and Tools

Find out what type of equipment and tools the fuel drain service uses, and whether they have the necessary equipment to handle your specific vehicle. This helps ensure that the fuel drain is done efficiently and without causing damage to the vehicle.

Look for fuel drain services that use specialized equipment and tools specifically designed for fuel draining to avoid damage to your vehicle. Also, make sure the service provider is equipped to handle any specific requirements of your vehicle, such as a high-performance engine or fuel injection system.

4. Additional Services

Inquire about additional services the fuel drain service may offer, such as engine diagnostics or post-fuel drain inspections. These can help ensure that your vehicle is running properly and that no damage has been done.

Ask about any guarantees or warranties the fuel drain service may offer to ensure that you are covered in case of any issues. You can also inquire about the experience of the technicians in performing additional services such as engine diagnostics or post-fuel drain inspections.

5. Payment Options

Understand what payment options are available, such as cash, credit card, or insurance coverage, and the payment terms and conditions.

Ask for an estimate upfront to avoid surprises and ensure the payment terms are clear. You can also check with your insurance provider to see if fuel drain service is covered under your policy to avoid unnecessary expenses.

By gathering all this information, you can make an informed decision on which fuel drain service to choose, and be confident that your vehicle is in good hands.


Can you drain fuel yourself?

It is technically possible to drain fuel yourself if you have the necessary equipment and experience, but it’s not recommended for most people as it can be dangerous and may cause damage to your vehicle. It’s best to leave the fuel drain process to a qualified and experienced professional.

How long does it take to drain the fuel?

In general, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to complete the fuel drain process.

How far can you drive when the tank is empty?

The distance that a vehicle can be driven when the tank is empty can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but in general, most vehicles can only travel a few miles before the engine shuts down due to lack of fuel.

  • Alex

    Alex is the founder and driving force behind the blog you're reading. As a lifelong spender with a keen eye for making informed financial decisions, he's dedicated to analyzing the economy and digging deep into online data for valuable insights. With a passion for sharing financial wisdom, he equips readers with practical advice and useful tips for a better financial future. In his free time, Alex enjoys the outdoors and a good book.