What Fuel Stabilizer Is and How to Use It
Many of us view our vehicles as members of the family. Perhaps some might find us crazy, but with all of the time and sweat that we pour into our machines, it’s hard not to get more than a little bit attached to them. This is why we spend a lot of money making our machines look nice and drive like a dream.
This becomes even more important for those of us who own multiple vehicles. Garage space? Check. A cover? Check. Premium gasoline in the tanks? Check, and check. Particularly if you happen to own a sleek, performance-oriented sports car or something nice and vintage, only the best will do to keep your pride and joy on the road and driving fine.
One of the downsides of having a collection of cars, though, is the reality that some of them are likely going to be sitting in storage for a while. Particularly if you happen to live in a more inclement area, it’s highly likely that there are entire seasons where you won’t be able (or want) to drive your most sensitive investments. And this is where you ensure that they have a cover to keep the critters out, and (preferably) a climate-controlled garage to store them in.
However, the gasoline can become a bit of a problem. Did you know that gasoline, even premium, has an expiration date? The reasons why so many drivers aren’t aware of this fact is because most people who own one or two cars will use up the gasoline before this becomes a concern. But if you have multiple vehicles and have to put them into storage for a long period of time, you might be surprised to know that the expiration date for gasoline is a mere 30 days. This is particularly important if you are putting a car away for the winter season… because, well, winter typically lasts for longer than 30 days.
The only exception is if you have it in an air-tight container, but your car’s gas tank isn’t airtight. You’ll need extra protection.
What’s the Big Deal with Expired Gasoline?
The scary news is that expired gasoline can potentially ruin your engine entirely. If you leave fuel sitting in the tank unused for more than a couple of months, you are risking it compromising the internals of your fuel tank, which will cause you no end of problems the next time you try to fire up your machine.
Even worse, if the gas sits in the car for more than 6 months, it can completely ruin the carburetor. If this happens, you’ll have to deconstruct the carburetor, clean it up, and put the engine back together again. It’s a major hassle, and let’s face it: when the weather warms, you’d rather be out cruising than reconstructing your carburetor.
However, the good news is that there is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to fix this problem. You can use a fuel stabilizer to ensure that the fuel does not cause damage to your precious automobile.
What is Fuel Stabilizer?
If you are wondering, “What does fuel stabilizer do?”, fuel stabilizer is a substance that is specifically made to help the gasoline in your tank not corrode the engine. Basically, it’s an anti-expiry solution that will keep the gasoline fresh for longer than it would be otherwise. Most fuel stabilizer solutions will protect the engine for at least 24 months, which is considerably than any winters we’ve seen.
In the event that you need to store your vehicle for longer than this, you’ll need to drain the engine. However, if you’re just storing your vehicle for a couple of months or a season, this is a messy endeavor and best avoided. It’s much easier just to put a measure of fuel stabilizer in your tank when you’re looking to store the car and you can forget about it until the next year. (And, hey, your car will already have some fuel to get it started.)
How to Use Fuel Stabilizer
Fortunately, using fuel stabilizer is a simple, DIY-friendly procedure, even for those who don’t own any tools. So long as you can access your gasoline tank (we hope you can), you’re good to use fuel stabilizer. The first thing you will want to ensure is that you are running your tank on nearly empty.
At this point, all you need to do is open the fuel tank, measure out the amount of stabilizer that is recommended by the fuel stabilizer manufacturer, and then pour this into the gas tank.
It is a good idea to top off your tank at this point. If you can go with a gas that does not have ethanol, this is best. Filling your tank will help minimize the chance that the fuel system of your car is exposed to air or water.
You’ll need to turn the engine on for a few moments to let the gasoline move through it and ensure that the fuel stabilizer solution is evenly distributed throughout the tank. Typically, you aren’t going to need to run the engine for more than 5-10 minutes. Assuming that you are driving the car home from the gas station, that is probably enough time.
After this, you’re finished! Again, no tools required, and it is absolutely worth taking a few minutes before storing your vehicle to protect your engine from corrosion.
Does Fuel Stabilizer Only Work on Cars?
You can use fuel stabilizer on anything that has an engine. In addition to storing cars, you can also use it to help protect lawn mowers, snowmobiles, or even generators. If it has a gasoline engine and you are looking to store it, it is highly likely that you will be able to use fuel stabilizer to protect it.
If you are planning on storing anything with a gas-powered motor for a long period of time, make sure that you have fuel stabilizer to protect it.
Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on AutoZone.com and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.
Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.
FREE Loan-A-Tool® program requires returnable deposit. Please note that the tool that you receive after placing an online order may be in a used but operable condition due to the nature of the Loan-A-Tool® program.