How to Clean a Fuel Tank Without Removing It

There are many problems related to cleaning the fuel tank. In this article, we’re going to show you How to clean a fuel tank without removing it and why we need to do this process. Besides, we’ll discuss the problems related to this process of cleaning the car fuel tank and we’ll go through the parts of the fuel system just to give you the idea about every part’s job.

This process is a bit tough to do. That’s why you need to know why and how to do it to keep your fuel system in good condition.

How to clean a fuel tank without removing it

Dirt in fuel tank symptoms:

If you’re not sure whether your car’s fuel tank is full of dirt or not, some signs will indicate your fuel tank needs a cleaning process. Nearly, all the symptoms are related to the performance of the car. Let’s discuss them step by step:

Bad acceleration: The first thing many people notice right before cleaning their fuel tank is bad acceleration. They feel some problems while they’re trying to accelerate their car. You may also feel the engine is taking extra pressure to reach the expected speed.

Trouble while starting the engine: A fuel tank full of dirt and contamination will make it hard for the fuel pump to push the fuel into the engine at the first start. Starting the car requires a certain level of fuel pressure provided by the fuel pump. In this case, the pump won’t achieve it.

Engine stops running: Due to the contamination that resides in the fuel because of the dirty fuel tank, you may face a sudden stop of the engine while running because the combustion chambers cannot work with contaminated fuel. So, it can’t deliver the desired power. As a result, the combustion process will be interrupted and the engine will shut off.

Incorrect gas gauge reading: As your fuel tank is full of rust and dirt, this will surely affect the gas gauge reading accuracy. The gauge reading needs a fully clean gauge plate to make an accurate reading based on the resistance that’s generated from the level of the floatation.

How to clean a fuel tank without Removing it Step by step guide:

After knowing all the details about why we have to clean the car fuel tank regularly, it’s time to know the process and how to complete it in an easy and safe way. This is considered the best way to clean out fuel tanks and to avoid any danger.

In this section, we’re going to know the actual steps of How to clean a fuel tank without removing it. Besides, you’ll eventually come to know how to clean a fuel tank of rust. Just make sure that you’re applying all safety precautions and working in an open environment as fuel is a very sensitive substance.

How to clean a fuel tank

Step 1: The first thing you have to do is to disconnect all fuel tank lines that keep it connected with the fuel filter and the engine. Stay aware when you’re doing this step. Do not damage any of the connections. The best way is to read the user manual to know the right way to disconnect them.

Step2: The next step is to fully drain the fuel tank in a special Gas Can. You can do this in two ways. Either you drive the car until the last drop of it or you can jack the car from one side and open the drain port of the fuel tank and let it drain until it’s fully empty.

Step 3: After draining the full capacity of the fuel tank, you need to make sure that there isn’t any kind of fuel. Then you have to use any kind of degreaser or dish wash detergent mixed with hot water. Let the mixture sit in the fuel tank for at least 24 hours and you can repeat this if you find it still smelly.

Step 4: Wash your tank using a high-pressure water flow in order to get rid of the last wash and get rid of all debris, rust, and dirt. Try to point the washer nozzle at many angles to make a full wash.

Step 5: Using a specialized cleaning solution is a great idea too! This is made especially for this purpose. After applying this step, wash the fuel tank with the water and you’ll notice the amount of dirt and broken rust that was stuck inside your fuel tank.

You need to use a gas tank cleaner kit. We recommend that you use this Star Tron Gas Tank & Fuel System Cleaner as it has proven a great effect in removing the deposits and sludge that are in diesel and gasoline. Besides, it is very safe on Fuel Line Materials.

Step 6: After adding the cleaning solution, it is recommended that you let it sit for some hours to make it a chemical reaction with rust and sludge.

Step 7: Rinse your fuel tank with fresh water and try to remove any trace of the solution.

Step 8: The very last step of the cleaning process is to leave the fuel tank in the fresh air to get fully dried. Surely you don’t want any trace of water to get mixed with the fuel added after the cleaning process. This may take some time from 24 – 48 hours to get your tank fully dried.

Step 9: Reconnect the connections and hoses of the fuel tank in place and make sure you closed the drain port of the fuel tank.

What Happens if we don’t clean the Dirty Gas/ fuel Tank?

Cleaning the dirty gas tank is a crucial process that is required in order not to damage any of your fuel system components. A dirty fuel tank affects negatively the fuel system components and the overall performance of the car.

As we learned how to dissolve sludge in a gas tank in the previous section. Here comes the question what would happen if we keep driving a car with a dirty fuel tank?

Clogged Fuel filter: The fuel filter is one of the components that is very sensitive because it has a very fine filtering membrane inside. If the fuel coming from the fuel tank is full of dirt and debris, the fuel filter may get clogged. Then, you have to change the fuel filter and surely you don’t want this.

Overloading fuel pump: As the fuel pump is the device that pushes the fuel right from the fuel tank into the fuel pipes straight to the fuel injectors, this pump must have a certain level of pressure to pump the fuel.

With a dirty fuel tank and a clogged fuel filter, the pump will do extra work in order to reach the level of pumping fuel. This might make an overload on the pump and it might fail. The other possibility is that the pressure of the pump will drop down and will cause performance issues in the engine.

Uneven fuel spraying: If ultra-tiny particles of dirt that can flow through the fuel filter reach the fuel injectors that spray the fuel into the combustion chamber at a certain shape to ensure the full combustion of the fuel and the lowest fuel consumption, it may block the way of fuel. So, the injector may stop working properly. This may cause a problem in the engine or the spraying will have another shape leaving the combustion at a bad level. Also, this will raise the fuel consumption rate.

Benefits of Cleaning Fuel tanks at the right time:

It is very beneficial to keep your fuel tank always clean. Because this will ease the process of cleaning it the next time. The regular cleaning process of the fuel tank will prevent carbon build-ups from rising to a higher level. Also, erasing the rust possibilities that might lead to damage of the fuel filter over time keeps your parts good.

In order to keep things easy and to extend the longevity of your car parts, it is recommended that you keep a regular cleaning process.
We talked in the previous sections that the carbon residues and build-ups residing in the fuel tank will have a very bad effect on the parts of the fuel system which may lead to fuel system failure. It will cost a fortune to recover to its original state once again.

Also in order to keep your tank from making buildups, you can use the fuel enhancement products available in the market and fuel stabilizers for cars. This will help the system from dissolving the dirt and this is how to clean gummed-up fuel lines without removing them and reinstalling them.

How to Clean Your Fuel Tank YouTube Video

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How do you flush a car gas tank?

This process starts with the safe disposal of old gas. Then good degreasing is required for the fuel tank using detergent soap and hot water. After this, applying a specialized cleaner solvent will help you to get rid of carbon build-ups, dirt, sticky stains, and rust.

Then wash this dirt using water. After that, let it fully dry for some time. After that get the pipes and hoses back in place and refill with fresh clean gas.

How do you know if your fuel line is clogged?

You can notice this by experiencing some issues while driving such as hard starting and reduced power of the car. This happens due to the little amount of gas that reaches the engine at a certain time. So, the engine is not getting its sufficient amount of gas supply and that indicates your fuel line is clogged.

How long can Gas sit in a car?

From 4-5 months. After that, a kind of chemical reaction will happen that will produce harmful substances to the engine. It is not recommended to keep the gasoline inside the car. It contains chemical components like benzene, alkene. These components will make a chemical reaction and it may harm you.

How much does it cost to flush a fuel tank?

It depends on the car and how complicated it is. But it will be anywhere between 400$-1500$. This is for full fuel system cleaning including injectors.
This cost is except for the labor fee. It means, if you’re getting it done by someone, you have to add a little more. The cost also varies from region to region.

Can a fuel filter be cleaned?

The fuel filter is the device that prevents dirt and debris from entering your fuel system. It is made of many layers of paper and nylon embodied into a metal body. So, cleaning it will not be efficient. Changing the fuel filter is better in order to take maximum filtration ability.

Final Words:

So, this is how to clean a fuel tank without removing it. After reading this article, you have to be fully aware of what the fuel tank cleaning process is and what the benefit is. Besides, how you can save your fuel system and perform this process on a regular basis.

Be sure that you have sufficient knowledge of your fuel system service before performing this action in order not to damage any part of your car. Asking an expert always will be a good choice when you’re confused about anything related to your car for your safety.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

One thought on “How to Clean a Fuel Tank Without Removing It

  1. So interesting and thank you for providing such useful information for car owners. Please keep up the good work. Thank s

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