Fuel Tank Treatment - Steps On How To Clean Your Fuel Tank

November 23, 2023

A fuel tank treatment, often called a fuel system cleaner, is essential for maintaining the health and performance of vehicles and machinery. Ignoring this crucial aspect can lead to a host of problems. Over time, impurities and contaminants can accumulate in the fuel tank, affecting the engine’s efficiency and longevity. 

This is where different types of fuel tank treatment come to the rescue, each designed to address various issues and keep the engine running smoothly. So, what does a diesel tank treatment entail, and what are the proper steps for cleaning a fuel tank? Let’s find out!

diesel fuel tank treatment

What Is A Fuel Tank Treatment?

A fuel tank treatment includes pouring a mixture of things like cleansers, stabilizers, lubricants, or performance boosters into the gas tank. The purpose of the treatment is to help the engine run smoothly during regular use. It also aims to preserve the fuel quality when the vehicle or machinery is stored and not in regular service.

There are a variety of diesel tank treatments, such as:

  1. Cleaning -  Clears out the gunk from the fuel system.
  2. Lubrication - Greases up the engine’s moving bits.
  3. Performance Boost - Boost the vehicle mileage and equipment’s performance.
  4. Stabilization - Stabilizers mix with the fuel to keep the components from breaking down during storage.
  5. Moisture Control - Keeps moisture out of the gasoline to prevent rust and corrosion.

Fuel tank treatments are a big deal for these reasons:

  1. Engine Well-Being - They keep the engine running healthier and longer.
  2. Preventive TLC - They’re crucial for improving engine performance and for any vehicle owner wanting to maintain their ride.
  3. Smooth Sailing - Treatments make the engine parts work smoothly, reducing friction and avoiding rough starts, which means your car lasts longer.
  4. Chemical Cleanup - They help break down tough gunk and grime inside the machinery, making future cleaning convenient.
  5. Boosted Power - A well-treated engine runs better, preventing friction between components, hard starts, and rough idle.
  6. Damage Defense - Without treatment, contaminated fuel can deteriorate your storage tank, fuel, machinery, and engine.
diesel fuel tank cleaner

How Fuel Tank Treatments Work?

Fuel tank treatments work by getting into the fuel before it burns. We usually pour the recommended amount of treatment into the tank when refueling with gas. This “splash blending” technique ensures the treatment spreads throughout the fuel. 

Inside the engine, these treatments tidy up the injectors and carburetor as needed and can even break down stubborn gunk and grime inside the vehicle. Here’s a lowdown on the workings of fuel tank treatments:

  1. Fuel System Cleaning - A diesel fuel tank treatment uses detergents and solvents to eliminate carbon deposits, varnish, and contaminants from the fuel system, including injectors, lines, and the combustion chamber. These deposits accumulate over time, harming engine performance.
  2. Injector Cleaning - An injector cleaning treatment removes deposits from fuel injectors, ensuring proper fuel atomization for better combustion, increased power, and reduced emissions.
  3. Corrosion Prevention - Some treatments contain inhibitors to protect components from rust, which is crucial for idle vehicles and equipment.
  4. Moisture Control - Moisture control treatments disperse or absorb water in the fuel tank, preventing engine issues caused by moisture.
  5. Lubrication - Lubricating agents reduce friction, extending the lifespan of fuel system parts.
  6. Fuel Stabilization - The fuel stabilization treatments keep fuel stable during storage, preventing starting or running issues.
  7. Octane or Cetane Boost - The performance boost treatments increase the ratings of octane (gasoline) or cetane (diesel) for improved engine performance.
  8. Emission Reduction - Some treatments promote cleaner combustion, helping vehicles meet emissions standards.

Steps On How To Clean Your Fuel Tank

Cleaning your fuel tank is essential, especially when you think there might be gunk or dirt causing problems for your vehicle. A clean tank keeps your engine running smoothly and lasting longer. Here are the key steps for cleaning the fuel tank to ensure a clean and efficient fuel system.

Ensure Safety First

Any kind of fuel is highly flammable. Therefore, you must take some preventative steps before cleaning the tank. First, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and remove any potential ignition sources. 

Next, tidy up your workspace to prevent potential accidents and ensure you’re working in an area with proper ventilation. Also, wear a face mask to avoid inhaling fuel fumes and goggles to protect your eyes from potential splashes.

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Drain The Fuel Tank Into An Approved Container

Start by getting the fuel out of the gas tank, using a siphon or pump, and putting it in an approved container. This prevents fuel wastage and allows us to inspect the fuel for any signs of contamination or debris. 

Draining the gas tank is especially important when dealing with an above-ground fuel tank. It ensures that any potential issues with the stored fuel are identified and addressed promptly.

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Clean The Outside Of The Tank

Wipe down the exterior of the fuel tank with a cloth or paper towel to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. This step is essential to prevent contaminants from entering the tank when we open it.

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Remove The Fuel Pump

Locate the fuel pump, usually inside the fuel tank, and remove it. Consult the vehicle or machinery’s service manual for specific instructions on fuel pump removal.

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Swirl Gas Tank

With the fuel pump removed, gently swirl the gas tank to dislodge any loose sediment or debris. This will make it easier to clean the tank’s interior effectively.

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Clean The Tank Interior

Use a fuel tank cleaning brush or a long, flexible scrubbing tool to clean the interior of the tank. Ensure to remove all residue, sludge, and debris from the tank’s walls and bottom.

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Swirl Cleaning Solution Inside The Tank

Pour a diesel fuel tank cleaner recommended for fuel tanks into the tank. Swirl it around to ensure it covers all interior surfaces. This solution helps dissolve any remaining contaminants and residues.

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Drain Tank And Dry It

After swirling the cleaning solution, drain it into a separate container. Allow the tank to air dry completely. This is crucial to prevent moisture from contaminating the fuel.

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Inspect The Tank. Replace If Damaged

Inspect the tank’s interior for signs of damage, rust, or corrosion. If the tank is severely compromised, it may need to be replaced. Minor damage can sometimes be repaired, but a professional should do this. 

In cases where your tank is beyond repair, a bulk fuel tank rental can be a practical solution to ensure a continuous fuel supply.

fuel tank cleaning

Carefully Check If The Tank Is Completely Dry

Ensure the tank is thoroughly dry, both inside and outside, before proceeding. Any residual moisture can lead to fuel contamination or corrosion.

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Refill The Tank With Fresh Fuel

Once the tank is dry and in good condition, refill it with fresh, clean fuel. This ensures the fuel system remains free of contaminants.

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Fuel Polishing

To maintain the fuel quality over time, consider fuel polishing, which involves removing contaminants from the stored fuel. It is important because fuel quality degrades over time, with issues like microbes, water, sediment, and hydrocarbon oxidation causing clogs, engine problems, and reduced efficiency. 

Fuel polishing keeps fuel clean and stable, preventing expensive equipment damage and ensuring reliable performance in critical uses like backup generators and fire pump engines.

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Fuel System Cleaners

Using fuel system cleaners periodically can help prevent the buildup of deposits in the tank and the fuel lines, maintaining optimal engine performance. 

Different vehicles like trucks, motorcycles, boats, cars, and small engines have specific fuel system cleaner options for diesel treatment. So, choose one that is designed specifically for their fuel tanks.

diesel treatment

Why Should I Clean My Fuel Tank?

Regularly cleaning your fuel tank is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your vehicle’s fuel system and overall performance. Here’s why it’s essential:

  1. Preventing Fuel Pump Failures - Contaminants in the fuel tank clog the pump filter, forcing the pump to overwork, potentially leading to burnout and damage to a new pump.
  2. Optimizing Fuel Efficiency - A clean tank ensures clean fuel delivery, enhancing gas mileage and overall fuel efficiency.
  3. Extending Fuel System Component Life - Regular cleaning shields components like fuel filters, injectors, and the pump from premature wear, prolonging their lifespan.
  4. Minimizing Engine Maintenance Costs - Preventing fuel-related issues reduces the risk of costly engine repairs or replacements.

Cleaning a fuel tank regularly offers many benefits, such as:

  • Clean tanks provide uncontaminated fuel, boosting mileage and efficiency.
  • Regular cleaning saves on component replacements and repairs.
  • Clean tanks lead to smoother engine operation and reliability.
  • Preventing fuel-related issues avoids costly engine repairs.
  • Clean tanks minimize the risk of fuel system failures and related safety hazards.

However, just like its advantages, there are also several disadvantages of cleaning a fuel tank regularly:

  • Regular cleaning can be expensive, particularly with significant contamination.
  • Cleaning may be time-consuming, especially if it involves meticulous work or repairs.
  • Incorrect cleaning can harm the tank or its components.
  • In some cases, professional cleaning is necessary, increasing costs.
  • Vehicle downtime during cleaning can be inconvenient, especially for commercial or industrial vehicles.
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Other Things You Need To Know When Cleaning A Fuel Tank 

Here are some crucial things to know when cleaning a fuel tank:

What is the best coating for fuel tanks?

The Gold Standard Tank Sealer is a top-notch sealer designed for metal, aluminum, and fiberglass diesel tanks. It forms a robust and fuel-resistant seal when it cures. Other choices like Kynar Coating and Halar ECTFE Coating are also good. 

If you have an outdoor plastic fuel tank, it’s best to use exterior latex house paint or flexible elastomeric paint to protect it.

What chemicals clean fuel tanks?

There are various chemical cleaner options for cleaning fuel tanks. Some top choices are Rust Remover by Evapo-Rust, Fuel System Cleaner by Star Tron, and Fuel Tank Cleaner by Red Line.

How do you maintain a fuel tank?

Regular fuel tank maintenance involves these steps:

  1. Regular visual inspections for damage, leaks, and corrosion.
  2. Keep the tank exterior clean and clear of debris.
  3. Install a leak detection system if possible.
  4. Use high-quality fuel and change filters regularly.
  5. Avoid overfilling the tank.
  6. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent condensation.
  7. Consider corrosion-resistant materials or coatings.
  8. Use cathodic protection for metal tanks.
  9. Periodically test the tank’s integrity.
  10. Have an emergency response plan for spills.
  11. Comply with local regulations and standards.
  12. Keep records of inspections and maintenance.
  13. Replace the tank if it’s beyond repair or at the end of its life.

Secure Fresh Fuel Supply for Your Storage Tanks! 

Neglecting fuel tank treatment can lead to numerous problems, including contamination, deterioration, and operational disruptions. Therefore, treating your diesel tank regularly and correctly is crucial to ensure the longevity and smooth operation of your vehicles and machinery. 

However, ensuring a secure and fresh fuel supply for your storage tanks is also vital. At Fuel Logic, we offer a convenient solution - onsite fuel delivery directly to your vehicles and equipment, eliminating the need for on-site fuel tanks. 

Our services, including mobile fuel deliveryDEF deliveryBulk fuel delivery, and Off-Road diesel delivery, cater to a variety of needs. For a seamless experience, visit our Contact Us Page or use our Online Order Form. Secure Your Fuel Supply Now!

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