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How Long Does Gasoline Last in a Car?

Gasoline is what fuels a car to make it go but how long does gasoline last and why does it go bad?

Since driving a car with bad gas can cause a variety of different engine problems, you need to know how to avoid these issues altogether.

How long does gasoline last in a car?

The answer to this question usually varies since there are different types of fuel. Therefore, dependent upon the type of fuel that is being referenced at that time, the answer can vary from 3 to 6 months inside of the gas tank.

For instance, if your vehicle runs on diesel fuel, you can expect the answer to range from  6 to 12 months. 

You will also need to factor in other variables like how long did the gas sit in storage at the refinery, how long did it take to transport it, and how long did it sit in the gas pump before you fill-up.

So, it is good to be especially cautious prior to driving a vehicle that has been sitting for prolonged periods of time.  

As a general rule of thumb, most professionals in this industry recommend using up all of the gas in your engine before a few months have passed. If you do not follow these guidelines, you can expect a number of things to affect its efficiency. 

For instance, the gas in your vehicle may not be potent enough to fire up the engine. Or, the gas may be contaminated due to excess water and corrosion.  

How to tell if the gas has gone bad

Before you drive a car that has been sitting for a long period of time, test the gas for its overall quality and efficiency.  Simply put, do not crank or try to drive a car with ‘stale’ gas

Stale gas can be described as the fuel that has lost most or all of its combustibility. This is because the quality of gas begins to degrade over time. 

To make this determination, here are a few things that you should pay close attention to. 

  • Car fails to start
  • Rough idle 
  • Stalls during acceleration
  • Engine light is on
  • Darker than usual colors
  • Sour smell

If you see any of these signs, do not drive your vehicle until you have consulted with a professional car mechanic.  Car mechanics are familiar with all of the essential requirements of removing the gasoline properly so that no damage is done to your car’s engine. 

Tips for avoiding letting gas go bad

To properly maintain the gas that goes into your engine and the lifespan of your vehicle, here are 5 great tips that you can follow to get the maximum protection benefits. 

Tip #1 – Only Purchase What You Will Use

To keep the water condensation down inside of your gas tank, keep your gas tank filled. However, to avoid issues with your tank’s vapor recovery system, don’t be tempted to top off your tank by overfilling it.  Additionally, if you are storing your vehicle away during the winter months, always avoid leaving the tank half full. 

Tip# 3 – Always Buy Fresh Fuel

Pay special attention to the gas stations that you purchase your fuel from. Look for gas stations that keep a steady flow of customers. Gas stations that attract large crowds are a lot more likely to sell new gas than those that have few cars. 

Tip #4 – Only use Gas Caps that Fit

If you lose your gas cap, don’t delay buying another one. It’s not expensive and it’s a quick fix to solving a potentially big problem. This is because gas caps are designed for specific purposes, including keeping out water, dirt, and other kinds of harmful debris. 

Tip #5 – Add Fuel Stabilizer to Your Gas Tank

To keep the gas fresh in your tank, add a fuel stabilizer. 

  • Top off the tank with gas, especially if you think the gas is already bad. 
  • Pour in the fuel stabilizer
  • Drive the car for 10 minutes to circulate the stabilizer throughout your car’s fuel system.

After you have added a fuel stabilizer to your tank, you can expect your gas to last for up to a year. 

Bottom Line

Keeping a car up-to-date with proper maintenance may not be difficult as many vehicle owners may think. However, if you are to do a good job in all areas, you need to know how to handle its fueling needs properly, too. 

You need to know how long your fuel stays fresh when to add fuel stabilizer, how to avoid buying bad gas, and any other thing that relates to extending the life of your ending and your vehicle.

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