How to Clean a Car Gas Tank

By Sarah DeWitt Ince
Take precautions to clean your gas tank properly.

If you have an old car, you may need to clean the gas tank. You can always hire a professional to clean it for you, but if you're on a tight budget, that might not be possible. When you need to clean your gas tank, you should take certain precautions to do it properly and safely.

Consult your vehicle's manual to understand how each part connects to the tank and how the gas tank should be removed.

Make sure there is little to no gas in the car. Drive your car to burn any remaining gas, if necessary.

Remove the tank, based on the instructions in the car's manual. Make sure that your tank is empty.

Fill the tank with fuel tank cleaner, following the instructions on the bottle. In some cases, you will need to dilute the cleaner with 1 or 2 gallons of water. Different cars also take different amounts, so refer to the bottle's instructions for guidance.

Let the cleaner sit for several hours to allow the solution to work on and loosen grime, rust and other deposits attached to the walls of the gas tank.

Clean the tank out with water from a garden hose. Clean the outside of the tank as well.

Repeat the first few steps until nothing comes out of the tank. Rinse the tank a few extra times to be sure that it’s completely clean.

Allow the tank to dry for 24 to 48 hours; be sure your tank is completely dry before reinstalling it. The tank must be completely empty and dry before it is put back on the car.

Tip

Clean your gas tank in your driveway rather than in your garage so you can dispose of the material that comes out more easily.

The job will go much faster and more smoothly if you can get someone to help you. Try to find someone who has done this before.

Warning

Perform this job outdoors to allow for proper ventilation.