Everyone knows there is a direct connection between the type of fuel we use and the fuel efficiency of our vehicles. We also know it’s important to keep engines well maintained so they run as efficiently and as long as possible. But one thing that can have a big impact on fuel efficiency but often goes unrecognized and neglected is the fuel tank maintenance.
Here are a few things you need to know about fuel tank maintenance and repair, especially if you operate commercial or industrial equipment that uses large volumes of diesel fuel.
Common Types of Fuel Tank Damage
Most fuel tank damage is caused by one of two things: physical impact or rust. Tanks made of aluminum are vulnerable to rust corrosion, especially if they’re used in humid environments. If allowed to build up over a long period of time, the rust can eventually eat a hole right through the tank.
All tanks are susceptible to physical impact damage, which might come from rocks and other debris or from the stress of hitting a pothole. The rougher the terrain your equipment is in, the more likely it’s picked up some significant dents or cracks.
Pinholes, large holes, hairline cracks and dents are all common types of tank damage. It’s important for even small defects to be detected and repaired in a timely manner, because they can easily get worse if the equipment stays in use. A single bump can turn a hairline crack into a catastrophic problem that leaks fuel and keeps expensive equipment out of action.
How to Prevent and Repair Fuel Tank Damage
As with any type of equipment maintenance, the best option is to prevent serious damage from happening in the first place. When it comes to fuel tanks, preventative maintenance is just as important as with engines and cooling systems. Have your fuel tanks thoroughly inspected every few months and address any issues immediately. That includes tanks attached to your equipment and larger storage tanks. On-site inspection is always a worthwhile investment.
Regular cleaning of steel and aluminum fuel tanks is a basic measure that is too often forgotten about. Any debris and dirt buildup where fuel is stored will eventually contaminate your fuel supply and find its way into your engines. Prevent costly jams, clogs and failures by eliminating this common root cause.
Fuel tanks can be lined with a protective coating to help protect them from moisture and corrosion. Diesel fuel contains additives that make it especially vulnerable to water absorption, so it’s recommended you coat all large gas tanks. The lining also helps seal tiny cracks and pinholes that are difficult to detect.
If fuel tank damage does occur, it may require welding service to repair. Aluminum welding is an effective way to seal larger holes and cracks, as well as fix damaged fuel tank baffles. Installing additional baffles may also help regulate the flow of fuel inside the tank and prevent it from moving too much during transport.
Keep these maintenance tips in mind and your fuel tanks will be sure to serve you well for many years. With an experienced service partner like Industrial Radiator Service, repair is usually a more cost-efficient option than replacement.
Check out our fuel tank repair page for more information about fuel tank services, and contact us when you’re ready to find the right solutions for all your fuel tank service and radiator repair needs.