6 important things you must know about your car's fuel tank


Posted by: 234DRIVE x NAIJAUTO.COM

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The tank where the flammable fuel that your car uses is the fuel tank and needs to be maintained properly. Do you know how? Read about it now.

I know you know that it's the gas tank's function to store the petrol/diesel you buy into your car. Is that the only thing the gas tank does? You will be learning essentials things you need to know about your car's storage tank and fuel tank maintenance in this article. 

What is a fuel tank?

A fuel tank is a safe container in a car used to store flammable fluids like petrol/ethanol/ to avoid any fire-related hazard. The gas tank is made out of different materials but the common ones you find in cars are gas tanks made out of plastic, steel, aluminum, and welded metal sheets.


Fuel tanker accident in Nigeria shows us how flammable these fuels are

Where is the gas tank of a car?

The fuel tank on wheels is located underneath the car just under the rear seat most times. It's around areas that cannot crumple during accidents so that the car won't burst into flames. The fuel tank on trailers and trucks is located just behind the trailer head standing alone. 


Can you see it now? The silver container is the fuel tank

What is your fuel tank capacity?

There are things every motorist should know about fuel tank capacity. One of them is that all cars are designed to have the particular size of the gas tank that best suits the purpose and weight distribution of the car. Bigger cars like SUVs always have bigger gas tanks than sedans. Averagely, though, gas tanks vary between 40 and 75 liters. To confirm this, you can measure with a fuel tank measuring stick whenever your gas tank is taken out for any reason at all.

There are larger gas tanks for special-purpose cars like war vehicles or special project vehicles that will be driven in areas without gas stations. In the past, some car brands used to have reserve gas tanks but nowadays the reserve tank is together with the main tank.

So, here are the 6 essential things about your fuel tank 

1. How long can you drive on a reserve tank?

If the capacity of your car's fuel tank is 60 litres, once the fuel tank indicator is on the reserve level which is indicated by the "E" sign on the fuel tank meter, it means you have between 5 to 10 litres of fuel left in your car and you should drive to the nearest gas station for a refill mandatorily.


Once it enters the red zone, you have to refuel!

If you don't have money for fuel, please borrow, if not your car will halt in the middle of nowhere. 

2. The different types of fuel that can be put in a gas tank

There are 6 types of fuel that cars use to run engines these days, and they are :

  • Gasoline - Mostly called petrol in Nigeria, it is the most popular type of fuel for regular cars. The price of petrol in Nigeria is now ₦123 per litre in Nigeria and it has a strong smell.
  • Diesel - This is the second most popular fuel for cars. It is a fact that cars that run on diesel consume less fuel than gasoline engine cars. That's why the large fuel tanks on trailers and trucks are filled with diesel. The price of diesel in Nigeria is ₦224 per litre. 
  • Compressed natural gas - Natural gas in cars is a cheaper and environmentally friendly fuel for cars. It also has a close performance to diesel and petrol engine performance.
  • Liquefied petroleum gas - This is another name for propane used as cooking gas in Nigeria. A  couple of cars in Ghana have a device installed in them that allows petrol engine cars to run on propane because it is cheaper. In Nigeria, there are official cars that run strictly on LPG just to reduce cost and they perform well too.  


The LPG tank can take up boot space sometimes

  • Ethanol - This is a fuel that is gotten from sugarcane, corn, potato, and other natural foods. It can also be found in alcohol. It is a biofuel that cars use but it is not sold in Nigeria.  

3. Which fuel to use for your car?

The fuel to use in your car is always recommended by the manufacturer.

I once went on a trip from Nigeria to Ghana. On getting to Accra, Ghana the fuel attendant sold Diesel into the Toyota Coaster that was transporting myself and friends. It was a petrol engine bus and it didn't start up until the diesel was drained and replaced with petrol. 

Always be sure of the type of fuel recommended by the car manufacturer by checking the car manual, checking the inside of your fuel tank lid/door, using the internet, or asking professionals. When you get to gas stations, be sure of the content leaving the fuel tank nozzle into your car at the gas station to avoid sad stories that touch your bank account. 


The fuel door tells you the right fuel to buy

Always remember your fuel tank lock. Some fuel tanks use keys while some can just be closed. Lock the cap well to avoid spillage because remember, these fuels have high flammability.  

4. Why you should always keep 1/4 tank of fuel in your gas tank

You should always keep at least 1/4 tank capacity fuel in your gas tank at all times for the following reasons :

  • Fuel in the tank helps to cool down the fuel pump placed below the gas tank.
  • Metallic gas tanks rust and then the sediments mix with the fuel. To avoid these sediments from blocking the fuel tank filter, the fuel should always be in the tank at least to a 1/4 level.
  • For your own safety at all times. Unplanned road trips might result in driving through the night and you don't want to be stranded at nightfall because the fuel in your car is empty.

5. Getting a fuel tank leak repair

Once you start to notice fuel leaking from your car, it is mandatory to get it sorted immediately to avoid an explosion. Most cars today have a fuel tank pressure sensor that serves as a fuel tank monitoring system to give off a fault code on the dashboard once there is a leak in the gas tank. So, how do you get a fuel tank repair?

If your car just got a fuel tank pump replacement/repair, then you should suspect the leak is coming from the nipple. The fuel tank nipple is where the pipes that take fuel from the gas tank to the engine is connected to the gas tank. Once the pipes are not properly attached to the nipple, there could be a fuel leak. 


Can you see many pipes on the fuel tank? Leaks can happen here 

The next possible problem is that there could be actual fuel tank damage caused by the collision of the gas tank with something while the car was moving. If you drive your car over very sharp/strong objects, it could affect the gas tank beneath the car but this is a rare occurrence. 

Once you do an inspection on all the fuel tank parts, and you notice a crack or break along the fuel tank then you need to take it for a fix. There are welders and blacksmiths that would repair this if the gas tank is metal. If it's plastic, there are also professionals that mend plastic but honestly, I would advise a fuel tank replacement because most fuels can weaken the spot where the gas tank got mended and start leaking again.


Fuel tanks are exposed to the ground, here is a leaking one 

To get a replacement, the fuel tank price varies from ₦40,000 to ₦250,000 depending on the car and it is always very scarce in Nigeria for some brands. There is a high probability that importing a replacement gas tank might be the only option for some car brands. 

The last fuel tank part to check during leaks is the fuel tank neck and cap. It could be broken and can lead to fuel leaks which you would notice around the rear quarter panel of the car as a fuel drip. A broken fuel tank neck/cap causes other problems like water mixing with the fuel. If you don't know what to do when water mixes with the fuel in your tank, just stop driving until it is solved by a professional.

You can learn how to remove your car's fuel tank on your own here, to help you gain full access for inspection purposes :

How to take out your fuel tank by yourself

The fuel tank hose after the cap can also be damaged but this rarely happens because it is always protected. The chances of your car getting these fuel leaks are increased when there is an accident, except you use a racing fuel cell that protects fuel from spilling even in accidents. Make sure to perform a thorough fuel tank inspection if you ever get involved in an accident that affects the body of the car.

6. How to remove rust from your gas tank

For older motor vehicles that have gas tanks made out of metals, I said earlier that there is a high possibility of rust. To remove this rust you need a fuel tank rust remover filled into your empty gas tank. After this, you will take out the gas tank manually and drain after the rust remover takes out the rust. This is the best fuel tank rust treatment available today and it sells between ₦10,000 and ₦13,000. 


Your fuel tank looks messy when it rusts, use a treatment today like deox-C


We have come to the end of the article '6 important things you must know about your car's fuel tank' I hope this has given you more insight into your car's fuel tank and how to maintain it properly to avoid excessive repairs to your car and yourself.

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Crank - the head of content for 234DRIVE is a mechanic/car enthusiast/car vlogger that writes and creates relatable motoring experiences. Whenever he lays his hands on any car, he reviews them in depth. He calls himself the 'Educative Car Guy'.

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