Half or Full Tank of Gas for Low-use Vehicle?
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Half or Full Tank of Gas for Low-use Vehicle?

    This is actually a car question, but let's pretend it's for a tractor...


    Now that I'm retired, our second car is "low mileage" -- just 50-70 miles per month. I've been filling the tank only haifway so the gasoline doesn't get too old. We're in Florida, so I don't think I should have condensation problems most of the year due our warm weather (although we have very high humidity). During our two "winter" months (lows in the 30's), I assume a full tank is recommended. Otherwise, it is better to risk some water or rusting in the never-full tank, or hope the gasoline additives don't deteriorate too much in the four months it takes to use the fuel?
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    Back in the "good old days" they recommended keeping the tank full to reduce condensation. However, modern cars have sealed fuel systems so that is no longer the case. Also, we had rust problems back in the "good old days" but most modern vehicles have plastic tanks that no longer rust. I'm 70 and my truck sometimes sits for many weeks with a partial tank of gas and it has never had an issue. It's a 2004 and just turned 52,000 miles.

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    arlen's Avatar
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    I would fill it up with non ethanol if possible and use stabile marine treatment. That’s what I do with my generator, and no problems even after 2 years of storage.
    Since you said let’s pretend it’s a tractor...fill it with diesel
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    Use Stabil or similar

    I've always been told that gasoline deteriorates over longer periods and becomes varnish-like. This is what gums up carburetors in equipment that has long idle periods. I have used a product called Stabil for many years. I make sure it's in place for each winter storage period. I have a Honda lawn mower that is now 33 years old. It has never had any carburetor work and still starts on the first pull. I treat the gas in each piece of equipment's tank and also the storage tank. The Stabil website has more information.
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Great advice! I always used Stabil in my trimmer, blower, etc. during the winters "up North"... It would be cheap insurance here for my 14 year-old car. (I suspect fuel injectors are more vulnerable to varnish than carburetors.) I also hadn't thought about sealed fuel systems being resistant to condensation. I'll continue half tanks in the summer and a full one in the winter, and treat the gas for extra protection.
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    I also have a low use car. I use only non-ethanol gasoline in it, and don't worry about the fuel level. In my location, non-ethanol is the same price per gallon as corn-added gas. If I were unable to fill it with real gasoline, I'd add a dose of fuel stabilizer/water absorber. I'm in a warm climate (southern SC) and the car is driven about once a month and always parked in my garage.

    BTW, with pure gasoline being the same price as ethanol gas, I've switched to real gas for my other vehicles, too. I'm finding about a 10 percent increase in range per refill.

    For my diesel tractor, parked in a shed, I try to keep the tank topped off during the winter. I haven't ever used any fuel additives in it. The tractor does get used every day. even in winter, since I'm still riding, and need to drag my arena every day, and muck stalls and spread manure. Plus, I mow my winter forage grass.

    The fuel tank on the 1025R is low down and easy to fill. I doubt I'd make the effort to top off if I had a different tractor with a hard to reach fuel tank.
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    Points have been made.
    Use a gas stabilizer of your choice (StaBil, SeaFoam, etc etc) and non ethanol gas if possible.
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    I cant add any more about stabilizers than the others have, but will add this that I learned when I had a Kawasaki Concours.
    On those bikes, the fuel tubes in the carburetors were very tiny. On a hot engine, fuel would evaporate out of them, and with the ethanol fuels, it would lead to problems fairly fast if you werent lucky.
    What a Concours carb guru came up with as a solution after trying many things was to simply add about an ounce of TCW3 two stroke oil to the fuel.
    After having those carbs rebuilt once by me and a second time by him, I tried it. Never a problem after that.
    The fuel evaporates, but the oil doesnt. It leaves a film on everything that quickly dissolves once fuel is flowing again. It works in other stuff too.
    If I had a vehicle that I was worried about fuel sitting in for any length of time, Id add a bit of that to the mix.
    All of my gas cans get a mix of 1oz of that and 1oz of Mercury Quickleen. Keeps everything working well so far since Ive been doing it.

    Honestly though, 4 months isnt too long, if you use the fuel in that amount of time. Since the system is better sealed than they used to be, its not such a big deal. The ethanol in the fuel is likely to cause most of the issues anyway, so you could try to find a station with ethanol free fuel, but its more expensive. Several additive companies make a product that helps inhibit the effects of ethanol on fuel system components too, if you want to try that route. Id venture a guess the additive route would be cheaper than the non-ethanol fuel for an automobile.
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    blue87fj60's Avatar
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    Well here is my .02 of learning hard way....
    Parked a good running Toyota Land Cruiser almost 9 years ago with a problem with front axle.
    Wife bought new truck so there it sat. Had probably 5 or 6 gallons of fuel in a 26 gallon tank.
    Fast forward to last month. Decided to pull truck out of parking spot and get it running for our son's first vehicle when he gets his license in about a year and a half.
    New battery yada yada yada.. won't start.
    Deduce no fuel getting to engine. It's fuel injected and has a closed system.
    Check and have power at pump.
    Pull pump assembly from tank..yikes. Totally rusted up like it had a tank full of water. Inside of tank is a mess too. When i drained the fuel it smelled like Seagram's.
    No water.
    Condensation of empty tank really did me in.

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    Last edited by blue87fj60; 08-20-2018 at 06:55 PM.
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    jgayman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blue87fj60 View Post
    Condensation of empty tank really did me in.
    Metal tanks must be kept full, plastic not so much.
    blue87fj60 likes this.
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