Fuel tank replacement cost

Expect to pay between $700 and $2,500

Author pictureAuthor picture
Author picture
Written by
Author picture
Edited by
BMW and Endurance Auto Warranty
image showing a black car parked and loading gas on a gas station

While it’s not a common occurrence, fuel tanks can fail. (It’s usually due to a collision, water getting inside or poor manufacturing, but even leaving a car to sit undriven for too long can be cause for a replacement.)

When that happens, what can you expect to pay for a new fuel tank? Will your warranty cover it? And can you fix a fuel tank without replacing it?

Read on to find out.


Key insights

  • Fuel tanks usually cost between $700 and $2,500 to replace. That’s a big range, but the cost of a new tank varies a lot from vehicle to vehicle.
  • Your best bet in most cases is installing a brand-new tank. (Aftermarket fuel tanks are rare, used tanks are risky and repairing a fuel tank can be dangerous.)
  • If your fuel tank failed for no discernable reason, then it might be covered under warranty.
  • You don’t necessarily have to replace your fuel tank and the connected fuel pump at the same time. If one fails, you can usually keep the other.

How much does a fuel tank replacement cost?

The average cost to replace a fuel tank hovers around $1,500, according to repair cost estimator RepairPal. However, your cost can vary significantly.

“The cost of a fuel tank replacement can range anywhere from $700 and $2,500, on average, depending on the extensivity of the labor and cost of the fuel tank itself,” said Sean Kim, a mechanic in the Greater Atlanta area.

The cost of a fuel tank replacement can range anywhere from $700 and $2,500, on average.”
— Sean Kim, mechanic

To illustrate, you can purchase a brand-new, OEM fuel tank for a Honda Civic for around $400 to $600, depending on the model year. An equivalent part for a BMW 7 Series retails for nearly $1,600.

That much variation can make it tough to know whether your mechanic is giving you a good deal. If you really want to make sure you’re not overpaying for a repair, try reaching out to other reputable mechanics in your area for estimates. Having a few itemized estimates can give you the context to know what a fair price is.

Can you fix your fuel tank without replacing it?

If you’re on a tight budget, you might also be wondering whether you can get by with a fix to your existing fuel tank.

“Repairing a fuel tank almost rarely ends well,” said Kim. “Unless you know what you’re doing, it’s a safety liability.” (Most fuel tanks are still extremely flammable when you remove them.) “If you look online, you'll see some viral clips of techs setting their entire shop on fire attempting a fuel tank repair,” added Kim.

Okay, so you have to buy a new tank. Maybe there’s somewhere you can buy one for cheap? “Aftermarket fuel tanks aren’t really common,” said Kim. “Perhaps a used tank? My only concerns would be if it's on a vehicle with historical fuel tank issues, chances are a used fuel tank will eventually have the same issue.”

Basically, you don’t have a ton of options for saving money on a fuel tank replacement. Luckily, you may not be the one paying the bill.

Are fuel tanks covered under warranty?

Fuel tanks are covered under most factory bumper-to-bumper warranties, which usually last between three years/36,000 miles and five years/60,000 miles from new, depending on your vehicle’s manufacturer.

» CHECK YOUR COVERAGE: Car warranty check by VIN

Certain locales also mandate that you get a special warranty for your emissions system — including your fuel tank — that lasts up to seven years/70,000 miles. Basically, if you live in one of the following areas, your vehicle may fall under CARB Emissions Standards:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Vermont

Extended warranties can protect your vehicle long after the manufacturer’s coverage has run out. The downside in situations like this is that they don’t cover preexisting conditions, so you have to buy one and make it through the waiting period before your vehicle starts showing signs of problems.

“I did get a fuel tank replaced in my car and that was four grand. I only had to pay 400 out of pocket. So, that was really good,” reported an extended warranty reviewer from New York.

Fuel tank replacements are typically covered under mid- and upper-tier extended warranty plans. The Superior plan from Endurance, for example, covers your entire fuel system — but if you want fuel tank coverage from olive, you’ll have to go for its top-tier Complete Care plan.

To learn more about extended warranties, check out our picks for the best extended car warranty companies.

Just keep in mind that warranties in general only cover bad designs and factory defects. If your fuel tank failed due to water getting inside, damage from a collision or some kind of outside “cause,” your claim should be denied.

» LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

Note: This isn’t technically a warranty issue, but you should check if there’s been a recall for your fuel tank, too. During a recall, a manufacturer essentially admits (or is forced to admit by the government) that it made a mistake, and it commits to replacing or repairing the parts involved free of charge.

For example, Volkswagen announced a recall on Feb. 22, 2024, of over 260,000 Audi and VW models with faulty fuel systems. If your vehicle was listed on that recall, a dealer will correct the problem for free.

Quick and easy. Find an auto warranty partner now.

    FAQ

    What are the signs of a bad fuel tank?

    “Common symptoms would be the gas pump at the gas station constantly clicking off when trying to fill your tank,” said Kim. Basically, if the pump at the gas station clicks off every few seconds, it’s usually a sign that something has gone wrong in your fuel system — and your fuel tank could be the culprit.

    How does a fuel tank go bad?

    Fuel tanks usually fail if they’re damaged in a collision, if water gets inside (causing rust or corrosion), or if they were badly designed or installed at the factory.

    Is it safe to drive with a faulty fuel tank?

    It’s not safe to drive with a malfunctioning fuel tank. Faulty fuel tanks can quickly become fire hazards, so it’s best to pull over ASAP and have your car safely towed to a repair facility.

    Should you replace your fuel tank with your fuel pump?

    You don’t necessarily have to replace your fuel tank and fuel pump at the same time. “If a tank fails, it’s usually just the tank,” said Kim. “When doing a tank replacement, you can swap over the old fuel pump.”


    Article sources

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

    1. RepairPal, “Fuel Tank Replacement Cost.” Accessed Feb. 22, 2024.
    Did you find this article helpful? |
    Share this article