When you own a classic car or collector car that you do not drive very often, you may be concerned that the fuel in its gas tank will go bad. Old gas in the car can become ineffective after sitting for a while and cause different types of problems with your vehicle, whether classic, collector, or modern.

Gasoline can also fail to do its job when it becomes contaminated by any other substance. In a climate like Canada where the winters can be freezing, condensation from snow and ice is the biggest culprit when it comes to water mixing with gas.

Sometimes, gas stations are to blame for bad fuel because a pump has a damaged water filter. When this happens, the pump does not do a good job of separating the fuel from water, and you will notice a difference when you drive.

In this blog, we cover how to know when you have bad gas in your car and what to do to fix it.

Your Driving Speed Changes without Your Input

You could have bad fuel in your gas tank when your car spontaneously increases or decreases speed when you have not applied additional pressure to the acceleration or brake pedals. Since not having control of your vehicle can be dangerous, you should pull off the road when it is safe to do so. If you are unable to determine the cause of the problem, be sure to get your car to the neighbourhood repair shop as soon as possible.

Problems with Acceleration

Your engine shows signs of hesitation when you place your foot on the gas pedal and nothing happens for a few seconds. The most likely cause is bad fuel in the internal combustion engine of your car.

Your Engine Stops Running While Driving

When you are driving and the engine suddenly locks up, bad fuel may be the reason. Poor quality gasoline interferes with the internal combustion process, which means your car cannot generate adequate energy to keep up with demands placed on the engine.

Problems with Your Fuel Filter

The job of the fuel filter is to make sure that dirt, debris, and other substances do not get into the gas tank and mix with the gasoline it holds. When you have an old or faulty fuel filter, it impacts the way gas travels through the engine and causes performance problems for your car.

Difficulty Starting the Engine

Gas that has separated after sitting a long time or gas mixed with water and other contaminants will make it difficult to start your engine. Even though your car will eventually start, you will have to turn the key over several times. This could cause even more engine damage. The best thing to do when you have this problem is check the quality of fuel in your car’s gas tank.

Is Old Gas Dangerous?

Maybe you only take your collector car or classic car out in the summer, and you forgot to drain the gas tank before putting it into storage last year. Old gas does go bad after a vehicle sits for several months without anyone driving it. However, fixing the problem can be as simple as topping off your car with fresh fuel at your neighbourhood gas station. Your motor should work properly when the old gas and fresh gas mix together.

The reason old gas has become less effective is that it loses octane over time, which is the most combustible part of gasoline. You have probably heard advertisements for high-octane fuel, and it is indeed better for car engines. Aging fuel also loses its volatility, causing your car’s engine to perform poorly.

You should only see minor performance issues if the gas in your car’s tank is a few months old. The most significant problems start when gasoline sits for more than a year. Common issues at this point include clogged injectors, sputtering, and engine knocking. The best solution to any concerns about old gas is to drain it from the engine and start over with a fresh tank.

If you store your collector car or classic car for long periods, keep the gas tank full to prevent water accumulation and add a fuel stabilizer to your car’s engine. Taking this step can extend the effectiveness of a tank of gas by up to 15 months. Lastly, be sure to place a tarp over any car you place in storage.

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