The gas tank is one of the most important and deadly parts of your vehicle. An exploding gas tank can ruin your car and kill you. In order to avoid a gas tank explosion, it is important to take your car in for regular inspections. It is also helpful to select a car with a good safety record and a durable tank. If you need a repair to your tank, there are a few things you should know about how the tanks work and how much everything should cost.
How The Gas Tank In Your Car Works
When you start your car, a certain amount of gas is released into a fuel line. In most modern vehicles, a computer controls the amount of gas that is released when you start your car, accelerate or slow down. The gas lines run lengthwise underneath your car. It is connected to a gas regulator that is near the fuel injectors. When you depress the fuel pump it transports data to the fuel gauge on the instrument panel on your dashboard. This will let you know if you need gas.
Modern gas tanks are designed with safety in mind, but you still want to take your car into the shop immediately if you smell gas. A gas leak can cause a major accident.
Always make sure to check your gas cap for cracks every time you fill up your tank. A cracked cap can cause a leak and it is very easy to prevent.
One of the most common things that can damage your gas tank is an accident. If your car is in a t-bone accident, there is a chance that your tank could explode. Even if it does not explode, it is likely to suffer damage. Running over a pothole may also cause impact damage to your vehicle.
If you have a classic car that sits in your garage for a good portion of the year or an old clunker that you use for back up in emergencies, you may not use a lot of gas. Old gas can actually cause problems in your tank. The chemical composition of gas can change over the course of time and it may damage your engine. There are some fuel stabilizing products that may help to make gas last longer and will protect your fuel tank from corrosion.
Water in the Gas Tank
If your car is experiencing poor acceleration it may be because you have water in your tank. When this happens the fuel system will start pumping water into the engine rather than gas. Water can also cause jolting and sputtering when you start your engine. This can damage your gas tank and your engine.
People will do a lot of disturbing things for revenge and those who are bent on retaliation have been known to pour sugar into gas tanks and place potatoes in the tailpipe. Sugar can damage a fuel pump and a blockage to the tailpipe will stop your car from running. Make sure to do a quick inspection of your car’s tailpipe if you believe it has been vandalized.
If you have rust in your gas tank, it can cause the tank to rot and corrode. Rust can run into the fuel injectors and this can cause an engine to run hot, because there's not enough fuel mixing with the air. It can also plug up the fuel filter and this can stifle the flow of fuel. Your car may also have problems accelerating if it does not get enough fuel. Fortunately, there are things you can do to clean rust out of a gas tank so that it does not build up.
Cleaning Your Tank
In order to clean your tank, remove all the fuel using a fuel caddy and drop the tank down. Inspect it for any cracks, because if there are any you need to repair your tank or get a new one.
Remove the fuel pump and clean the area around it then pour hot water into the tank with a hose. Add mild detergent and scrub off the debris. Dump the water out into a safe container and dry the inside of the tank. You should always let it sit for a while before putting everything back together.
Whenever you clean a gas tank, you should always take the proper safety precautions. Be sure to wear a face mask with goggles. Be sure that there is plenty of ventilation if you are working in a garage. Never mix two cleaning products together and make sure that there are no heat sources around you when you work.
Repairing Your Tank on Your Own
If you find a hole in your tank, there is a way to repair it without replacing it, but it can be complicated work. Not only will you have to remove the fuel lines and clean the tank completely, but you will also have to scrape off the old rust coating and oil with a wax scraper. Be very careful to remove all oil and fuel from the tank as it can combust if there is any fuel left on it at all. Most people will let the tank dry out for at least a week before they start to work on it. You will likely have to do quite a bit of welding and sanding in order to repair the tank. You will also have to paint the tank.
The average cost of replacing a car’s gas tank is between $1094 and $1160 and that does not include labor. Before you put money into replacing the tank it is important to consider if it is really worth it. Cars with old gas tanks tend to be old themselves and a leaky tank may be a sign that it is time to replace your car. If you decide to get a new car, research the fuel system.
Avoid Bad Fuel Systems
There are a few cars in automotive history that have had notoriously poor fuel systems. The Ford Pinto had one of the most dangerous fuel systems in automobile history. Ford did not include reinforcements around the fuel tank when it built the Pinto and that made the engine vulnerable to damage and combustion. The fuel tank was also mounted on the rear of the tiny hatchback and that made it vulnerable to damage and explosion if the car was rear-ended.
The Mercury BobCat sedan was also considered to have a very dangerous fuel tank. It’s tank was in the same position at the back of the vehicle. The cars were eventually recalled, but not before they caused 180 deaths.
GM’s side saddle gas tank is also regarded as an epic failure. It was installed in over 10,000 trucks from 1988 to 1991. In spite of the side tank repeatedly exploding and killing people, GM refused to recall the vehicle. Over 2000 people were killed because of the exploding tanks from 1973 through 2009 when GM finally did a recall.
In the 1960s the engineers at GM repeatedly warned the corporate office that they had major safety concerns about the tanks, but the corporate office insisted on releasing the trucks anyway. The Department of Transportation asked GM to recall the vehicles many times over the years, but they refused. Multiple wrongful death lawsuits eventually convinced them to change their minds.
When looking for a new vehicle, it is advisable to ask the salesperson about the safety of the vehicle’s tank. You can also do a bit of research online so that you can make an informed decision about which car to buy. Salespeople are intimidated by informed customers and the more you know about cars going in the less you are likely to be lied to and the better deal you are likely to get.
If you decide that you want your gas tank repaired, but you do not want to do it yourself, you will want to explore your options for hiring someone to do it for you.
Hiring an Independent Mechanic
If you want to save money, you can hire an independent contractor online. There are some mechanics who work out of their garage who are actually quite good and honest, unfortunately, there are also those who are not. Be sure to get plenty of references and ask lots of questions if you go this route. Get a time and price estimate in writing.
You should ask the mechanic for the business name under which he or she is incorporated. It is never advisable to hire an auto mechanic who has not at least incorporated themselves in your state. Incorporation will show that they are stable and unlikely to be running a fly by night operation.
Going to an Auto Body Shop
Almost anyone will tell you that an auto body shop is the best place to go for any repair. The prices are lower than at a dealership and you will be able to talk to the mechanic directly. If you do your research, you should be able to find a shop that specializes in your kind of car.
The AAA website has a list of approved mechanics and you can go there to find one in your area. You can also check Angie’s List to see reviews by previous customers. The mechanic who works on your car should have attended trade school and have up to date certifications in your type of vehicle.
Going to a Dealership
Your dealership is likely to charge you twice as much as an auto body shop would. However, their mechanics are specifically trained in your type of vehicle. They will understand the inner workings of your car and they will know exactly how to fix your gas tank so you won’t have to keep bringing the car back. The shop will have all the necessary parts on hand and they will bill you by the job and not the hour, so you won’t have any surprises when all is said and done.
Some gas tank leaks can be repaired for as little as $200. Be sure to shop around and get a few bids before deciding who will work on your car.
If your tank needs to be replaced and you decide it is not worth the trouble, you may want to consider selling your old car. You will have several options for unloading the clunker. You can sell the car yourself, but that can be expensive and time-consuming. You would have to put an ad on the internet or in the paper that you are likely to have to pay for. Prospective buyers often can only meet with you at certain times. You may have to miss work to meet with them and they are not guaranteed to buy from you.
You could sell your car as a trade-in when you buy your new vehicle. The dealership will probably give you a very good deal. Just remember to check the final price of the new car, because they will often tack the amount of the trade-in onto the total cost.
You can donate your car to charity. Car’s for Kids takes auto donations for the Make a Wish foundation. They will give you a voucher for your tax write off and they often have special gifts and promotions for dealers.
Sell Your Car to Us
Cash Car Buyers can give you top dollar for your old car. All you have to do is fill out a simple online form. We will ask you for your name, email, and phone number. We will also ask you for the make, model, year and VIN number of your car. We are primarily interested in cars manufactured in the last 20 years. We will call you back right away and make you an offer. If you accept the offer we will arrange to pick up your vehicle.
When our staff member arrives at your home, they will do a brief inspection of your automobile, pay you in cash and tow it away for free. It couldn’t be easier.