MARICOPA (3TV/CBS 5) - Several customers had to pay thousands of dollars in car repairs after pumping water into their gas tanks.
It happened at the Circle K on Smith-Enke Road and John Wayne Parkway in Maricopa last Friday.
"We got in the car and we could only go 10 miles per hour and were sputtering, and it kind of wouldn't accelerate," Michelle Schaefer said.
Schaefer filled up with mid grade gas on Friday and drove home with no problem. However on Saturday, she could barely make it to work, which was only 6 miles away.
"It almost felt like when you run out of gas, it just wouldn't go," Schaefer explained.
The owner of Copa Mechanic, Ed Quirindongo, said he got a call from a customer that their car wouldn't start after filling up at the pump. He said he immediately put two and two together, because that day was particularly rainy.
"When that happens, on some gas stations, if the seals are leaking or the pressure of the water on top of that, [it] will leak into the fuel tanks," Quirindongo said.
He said if water gets in the tank, you might not even be able to start the car.
"Since water is heavier than fuel, your fuel pump will pump it into your injectors and into your engine and it won't start, you'll just get water," Quirindongo explained. "Depending on how much water you get, you'll either have no start or rough running engine and your check engine light will come on for misfires."
Quirindongo said timing is key to get the repairs done as rust can build in the fuel pump quickly, which will cost you more money.
Quirindongo knows of at least 10 customers affected by this situation, and a tow truck driver told Schaefer he had to help a dozen people on Saturday alone.
Schaefer said she had to pay more than $1,200 in repairs, but Circle K has been in touch with her for reimbursement.
"Right now it's just kind of in the [insurance] claim phase so I haven't actually been paid yet but I'm hopeful that I will get paid," Schaefer said.
Circle K released this statement to Arizona's Family:
"At Circle K, we guarantee the quality of our fuels. However, issues do occasionally arise, and customers should report them to Circle K for review by its claims department. Customers may either file a claim with the Store or call our Customer Service Hotline at 1-833-685-7318."