14th April 2020

Ask An Expert: Should I Fill My Tank With Fuel When I Store It?

For the first in our 'Ask The Expert' series, we're looking at the age-old question of whether you should fill your tank when you're storing your vehicle. Many thanks to Mike for sending this question to us.

An old favourite this. When storing classic vehicles over the winter months should you fill the petrol tank or not? I get conflicting advice about this one, especially within the context of the shelf life of modern fuels - Mike Mahon

To answer this, we got in touch with David Tassell from Cherished Storage based in the West Midlands.

“Classic vehicle storage is quite a complex, fine art with a multitude of variables that need to be taken into consideration; from environmental temperature changes to the age of the vehicle in question.

But as a general rule of thumb, the question of whether to fill your tank with petrol while you’re storing it, comes down to whether your petrol tank is made of plastic or metal.

If you have a modern classic, from the 1980s for instance, with a plastic fuel tank, you can leave this empty while you store it.

If you have a classic with a metal fuel tank though, there are positives and negatives for filling with fuel. If you fill with fuel, there is much less air in the tank which means less corrosion. However, after a couple of months you’ll be left with a tank full of stale fuel - modern fuel does not last as long as it used to, even when compared to just 10 years ago. As a result, most people tend to fill the tank with fuel and then use an fuel stabiliser additive to ensure that the fuel can still be used once you take it out of the garage in a few months time.

A good inspection inside the tank will tell you more, if it is rusty already then no amount of fuel will cure this, many tanks are now being remanufactured. Almost any tank could be remade as a one off.

Also one part of the fuel system that often gets over looked is your fuel hoses, they don’t last forever!”

For more short term storage advice visit our blog Top Short-Term Storage Tips from Footman James.

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The information contained in this blog post is based on sources that we believe are reliable and should be understood as general information only. It is not intended to be taken as advice with respect to any specific or individual situation and cannot be relied upon as such.