Vehicle storage and gasoline

Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
3,487
Location
West Michigan
What is the proper protocol for storing a vehicle for a few years with regards to gasoline? I put it up with a full tank of 91 octane but it was E10 due ot availability. I did use a stabilizer (Stabil Marine). No idea when I will pull it out of storage- it has been two years and may end up being another few years. Will I need to worry about draining the tank? Hopefully not. Its my Mustang and the evap system has always been in good shape so I don't foresee an undue amount of air and moisture ingress, although there will be some.

At this point I'm more worried about the tires which are many years old at this point.
 
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
1,046
Location
Canada, eh?
Usually fuel stabilizer is good for about one to three years.
Anything after that, and your gambling with your fuel system.

That's why I always get my classic out at least once every 8-12 months.
I also use prem fuel, so no need for stabilizer for that duration on a full tank.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2020
Messages
331
I park my 97 Volvo over the winter and sometimes it may sit for eight or nine months. I just fill the tank and don't worry about it. I've fired it up and drove it a number of times with nine month old gas with no problems. Newer cars are not a problem due to their sealed fuel systems. Now if you are driving something from say from the seventies or farther back there might be a fuel issue without fuel stabilizer.
 

Job

Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
3,028
Location
USA
In that climate I think it’s too long, possibly 5 years, and you also may get engine rust starting? The e10 is a good thing imo, absorbs water, but there are limits.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2016
Messages
188
Location
Taxachusetts, USA
If it's a larger, fuel injected engine, especially in a vehcile, I would also go as far as 3 years. 2 years if it's a small carburated engine, like a snow thrower or lawn mower, etc.
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2003
Messages
1,084
Location
Hedgesville, WV
Premium gas starts to deteriorate in 6mos to a year, adding a stabilizer can buy you another 6 mos to a year but eventually the fuel will oxidize and start to build up varnish and you will see what looks like dirt precipitating out and settling on the bottom or making the gas cloudy if it gets shaken up. It may still run your engine but it will fill your filter. If it goes too long, even if it starts and runs the first time you put fresh E10 in it the ethanol will start to clean that varnish and it will move through the system and clog injectors. Boat owners who like their boats but have let them sit for several years get their fuel polished. A service comes out and pumps all the fuel from the boat and runs it through several fine filters to remove precipitates and water and adds an octane booster. Water probably wont be your issue but varnish will if you let it sit 4 or 5 years. Remember you already put an oxygenator in the tank, its called ethanol so you cant seal out the oxygen.
 
Joined
Dec 5, 2003
Messages
2,946
Location
New England, USA
'years' is a long time and may be a large ask... I would seek out non-ethanol fuel from a marina or local airport (make sure you don't get leaded fuel), assuming your state doesn't allow it at fuel stations, and fill the tank using Sta Bil Storage. If you have a metal fuel tank I'd also consider MMO.

Aviation fuel is stable for quite a while...seem to remember a requirement for at least 2 years, but I could be wrong.
 
Last edited:

Job

Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
3,028
Location
USA
I haven’t lived long term in cold upper midwest state winters, but have for awhile. Everyone used to put Heet in their tanks due to water build up. Ethanol does the same thing to water as Heet, which is methanol. E10 is good for this. It’s a matter of how much water condensation the tank gets. Years and years who knows. I let my T100 sit for over three years but it isn’t in a cold climate. There was some light rust under the valve cover on the top of the intake cam. All measurements were like new so I just cleaned the cam and all seems perfect. Eventually that oil film is overwhelmed by condensation, even in a non freezing weather environment.
 
Joined
Aug 17, 2016
Messages
1,338
Location
Alberta
My son’s ‘94 Olds (3800) was parked at our place for nearly two years with a full tank while he went to university and a summer job up north. It idled a little bit rough until he used up the old gas and refilled the tank. So the fuel degradation was noticeable.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2013
Messages
795
Location
Maryland
What is the proper protocol for storing a vehicle for a few years with regards to gasoline? I put it up with a full tank of 91 octane but it was E10 due ot availability. I did use a stabilizer (Stabil Marine). No idea when I will pull it out of storage- it has been two years and may end up being another few years. Will I need to worry about draining the tank? Hopefully not. Its my Mustang and the evap system has always been in good shape so I don't foresee an undue amount of air and moisture ingress, although there will be some.

At this point I'm more worried about the tires which are many years old at this point.

I did the same thing you did, came back 3 years later and had to put a new fuel pump in. 250 for the pump, 80 for the tow, and 200 or so for the labor. Your best bet is to run this gas out and put in a 5 gallon drum of VP Racing fuel which is like 80 bucks. Then run it for a bit.
 
Joined
Jan 10, 2017
Messages
969
Location
Michigan
I put rec fuel in all my small engines and my old car. Its available in mid Michigan at Speedway and some Marathon stations, not sure about the West side.
 
Joined
Jun 15, 2003
Messages
38,615
Location
ME
You're already playing with fire at 2 years. Cycle this fuel out into your daily driver and start over with fresh.

Lots of good ideas in this thread. AVGas is stable for longer but I wouldn't run more than a couple gallons through.
 
Joined
Sep 20, 2002
Messages
814
Location
New York, NY
What is the proper protocol for storing a vehicle for a few years with regards to gasoline? I put it up with a full tank of 91 octane but it was E10 due ot availability. I did use a stabilizer (Stabil Marine). No idea when I will pull it out of storage- it has been two years and may end up being another few years. Will I need to worry about draining the tank? Hopefully not. Its my Mustang and the evap system has always been in good shape so I don't foresee an undue amount of air and moisture ingress, although there will be some.

At this point I'm more worried about the tires which are many years old at this point.
Are you an overseas contractor?
Might be worth t fly home once a year.
All contracts I ever seen will pay for the flight.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
970
Location
KY, USA
It probably wasn't the best but I just put a car back on the road within the last month that had been parked in my driveway with a partial tank of gas for about 5 years with no stabilizer or anything in the tank. I think it had been started 1 time in the past 2-3 years. When I parked it I had no idea I was going to have it off the road so long and just never prepped it for long term storage. When I put a battery in it and hit the key it started right up and has been running fine for the past 500-600 miles. Probably a double dose or so of stabilizer wouldn't hurt. The biggest issue I've seen with cars sitting with old gas is the gas turning to a gummy varnish and ruining the fuel pump.
 
Top