Boat Fuel Tank Maintenance 101

Fuel Tank

Like any vehicle, a marine vessels and fuel tank require regular maintenance to ensure their life and performance. From season to season, however, when recreational boats sit in storage for prolonged periods of time, the effects of allowing boat engine fuel to remain stagnant for too long begin to impact the overall capability of the vessel.

Understanding what goes into the fuel you use to power your recreational vessel makes all the difference in maintaining your boating equipment in both the short and long term. Get familiar with the type of fuel you currently use to make more informed decisions about the equipment and products you rely on to maintain your recreational vessel throughout the year. 

The Dangers of a Stagnant Engine Fuel Tank

There are a number of risks associated with allowing marine engine fuel to sit stagnant for prolonged periods of time—a good example of this is keeping your recreational vessel in storage between seasons out on the water. But what happens when you keep fuel in your stored boat?

Sludge Build-Up 

When boat fuel is allowed to sit for long periods of time, sludge and bacterial matter can accumulate in the vessel’s fuel tank, causing negative impacts on the health of passengers, the environment, and the overall performance of the boat. As bacteria accumulates in the damp darkness of the fuel tank, sludge may enter your vessel’s injection pump. As a result, the device may fail completely, costing you more in avoidable repairs. 

Cleaning a Boat’s Fuel Tank

If you’ve recently purchased a new-to-you vessel, arrange for professional fuel polishing of your recreational boat. The process of fuel polishing involves the “super cleaning” of your boat’s fuel tank whereby organic materials such as water, sludge, and algae are removed. In extreme cases, the entire fuel tank may need to be replaced. 

In general, fuel tanks should be polished annually, depending on how often the vessel is left in storage throughout the year. If the fuel present in the tank is being used with more regularity, this will mitigate the need for more frequent cleanings. If fuel is stored for more prolonged periods of time, then the fuel tank will need to be cleaned more often. 

Maintaining Boat Fuel Tanks Through Preventative Maintenance 

To mitigate the need for frequent cleanings of your vessel’s fuel tank, you should understand from where your fuel is coming and from what your fuel is made. An effective preventative measure for evaluating the quality of the fuel you use is to keep a sample of it in a glass mason jar. Monitoring the jar will reveal what type of materials a gas dock is fueling its boats with as the various components of the fuel begin to separate over time. Diesel fuel, for example, has a visual degradation typically within one year, depending on the temperature of the fuel tank.

Partnering with Mack Boring Parts & Co. for Your Engine Needs

Contact the team of experts at Mack Boring for more information regarding your recreational vessel’s engine today! 

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