Does Diesel Go Bad?

Diesel fuel deteriorates over time, it’s a reality. The natural process of excellent fuel turning poor is accelerated by three factors: water, air, and warmth. Those three factors will always hasten the decomposition of your brilliant, clear fuel into murky muck. You end up with a fuel that refuses to cooperate, gasoline that simply will not burn as you require.

Is diesel gasoline from ten years ago still good?

It’s an age-old question for diesel truck drivers and anyone else who drives a diesel-powered vehicle. ‘Does diesel fuel have a shelf life?’ In actuality, there is no such thing as an expiration date for diesel, but the longer you store it, the worse it performs.

In reality, keeping diesel without properly treating it can cause a slew of problems, not just for the fuel but also for any vehicle into which you chose to put it later. We’ll go over exactly what happens to untreated diesel fuel when it’s stored for a long period, as well as how you may avoid these bad consequences by simply treating the diesel before it’s stored.

Diesel fuel’s performance deteriorates when it sits in storage for extended periods of time. When the fuel reaches the final stages of the process, we call it “diesel fuel gone bad.” It may be too late to save your stored diesel fuel if you notice these things occurring to it. However, there are a few things you can do to extend its life, which we’ll go into later.

  • As a result of being exposed to environmental variables, chain reactions occur: Light, water, and heat are the most prevalent environmental variables that have a negative impact on diesel fuel. If the diesel fuel is stored in a location where any of these things might affect it, the molecules in the fuel will produce chain reactions that will cause the fuel to slowly but steadily change from an oil to a varnish.
  • The gasoline darkens, and the gums get swollen: As a result of the chain reactions that occur between environmental variables and the molecules of diesel fuel, the fuel thickens and darkens, turning into more of a gum or sludge.

This process alters the molecular structure of diesel fuel, and because most modern diesel fuels do not contain the same amount of sulfur as older diesel fuels, bacteria begin to thrive in the fuel, forming biomass. This can result in acids that completely degrade the fuel over time.

  • The sludgy fuel won’t burn properly, resulting in black smoke: This thicker, darker dieselfuel won’t run as smoothly as a diesel fuel that hasn’t been influenced by external factors, resulting in black smoke and engine sputtering, which is never good for your car.
  • The lubricity of the diesel leads to internalvehicle damage: Now that this diesel fuel nolonger has the lubricity it once had, the acidic nature and thickness of thefuel will begin to adversely affect the fuel pump, diesel injectors, and engineand may not even be able to start your engine if bad enough.

You may be wondering if there is any solution that would allow you to keep diesel fuel without it becoming a sludgy mess now that you know what it means when you hear it has gone bad.

The solution is significantly more straightforward than you might have assumed. You can ensure that your stored diesel fuel is safe at all times by using a diesel fuel stabilizer. Although there are numerous brands and formulations to pick from, we recommend Opti-Lube, which is the world’s #1 rated additive that more than doubles the shelf life of diesel fuel.

Despite the fact that diesel fuel does not have a specific expiration date, the performance of stored fuel might be harmed over time if improper storage and additives are not used. If you intend on storing fuel or not driving your truck over the winter, it’s important to use a reliable additive like Opti-Lube and take precautions before it’s too late.

We at Gem State Diesel understand the damage that gummed-up diesel fuel can cause to a vehicle, which is why we’ve decided to offer this knowledge and show you how we maintain our fuel working at its best no matter what. After all, it’s always better to be cautious than sorry, especially when dealing with something as precious and impressive as a diesel engine.

How long does diesel fuel last before it turns bad?

If you pose this question to several people, you will almost certainly get various replies. This is due to the fact that the storage life of any fuel is influenced by the environment. Given what they do, the military has a natural interest in fuel storage, therefore they’ve studied the storage life of fuels extensively throughout the years. The most important thing is to keep the fuel cool and dry. Diesel fuel may be stored for six to twelve months in optimum conditions. Even under ideal conditions, fuel stabilizers and biocides are required to extend the life beyond twelve months. If the gasoline can’t be kept cool, below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, for at least a year, twelve months is the best estimate for storage. It’s important to note that this only applies to diesel fuel, not ethanol or biodiesel mixtures.

Storage Tanks and Regulations

The most significant benefit that well maintained storage tanks provide over time is the prevention of fuel contamination by water. Tank structural integrity is obviously vital, especially for above-ground tanks with top holes that can enable rain water to pollute the fuel if they deteriorate over time.

Experts advise that you gradually reduce the amount of space left in the tank; this space will affect how much water from condensation builds in the gasoline. The minimum amount of space required is determined by the tank layout and the amount of fuel in the tank (because of expansion).

Depending on whether your fuel storage is above ground or underground, different requirements apply. If more than 10% of the tank is below ground, it is technically classified as underground. Varied states have different standards for the precautions a facility must take to prevent leaks and spills while also dealing with corrosion issues that may arise over time. There are also federal restrictions in existence that are administered and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result, a facility that wants to save money by storing gasoline must consider the expenses of complying with these procedures in order to determine the overall return on investment.

Controlling Stored Diesel Stability

If these other procedures are performed, biocides and diesel fuel stability treatments will prevent most fuel storage difficulties. A biocide will kill active diesel fuel bacteria in storage tanks, while stability treatments will keep the fuel from breaking down due to chemical reactions with external influences.

Because the removal of sulfur from ULSD renders the fuel much more susceptible to microbial activity than it used to be, biocides have become indispensable instruments in diesel fuel storage.

So, while it’s critical to manage the water accumulation that comes with fuel storage, even if you do so meticulously, there’s a higher risk of a microbiological problem developing, in part because not everyone in the distribution chain is watching things as closely as you are.

Keep in mind that the existence of “biofilm,” or biological mass created by organisms, might impact the speed with which a biocide kills bacteria in fuel. In instances like this, unless the biofilm is broken down and the bacteria can be penetrated by the biocide, a storage system can be reinfected following treatment. The tank would have to be mechanically cleaned in cases of extreme biofilm accumulation.

In stored fuels, stability treatments target oxidation and acid-base processes. When a fuel is exposed to oxygen, it oxidizes, as you might expect. The oxygen reacts with the fuel’s pre-existing “reactive components.” This kicks off a chain reaction that transforms the fuel’s healthy stable molecules into unstable reactive molecules, causing the fuel to darken and stratify. Antioxidants work by halting chain reactions at the start, preventing them from continuing further down the line. Fuel stabilizers work in a similar way to stop dangerous acid-base reactions by reacting with acidic precursors in the fuel and preventing them from reacting with other fuel agents. This is especially essential when the fuel has been exposed to certain metals, such as copper and iron, which promote or exacerbate these hazardous reactions. These reactions can be sped up with just a small amount of dissolved metal. To mitigate this problem, employ an antioxidant stabilizer with a metal deactivator.

You might also be interested in the following articles:

  • How to Tell if You Have a Diesel Fuel Fungus Problem, Generator Owners
  • How to Avoid Fuel Contamination
  • Where do the fuel bugs go while treating infected fuel?
  • Does diesel fuel have a shelf life?

How can you determine whether the diesel fuel you’re using is bad?

Signs That Your Diesel Fuel Isn’t Working

  • Sludge or gelling
  • Fuel filters were commonly blocked.
  • Inefficient use of fuel.
  • Fuel pumps that have been damaged.
  • Machine is more difficult to start.

Is diesel still excellent two years later?

According to studies, diesel fuel #2 becomes polluted and degrades within 28 days of being stored. Diesel fuel can only be stored for 6 to 12 months on average, and under ideal conditions, much longer. In general, to extend the life of stored diesel fuel quality, it should be:

  • The temperature was kept at roughly 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Biocides and stabilizers were used in the treatment.
  • In compliance with NFPA 110, it must be properly maintained.

The term “diesel” is used in NFPA 110 “1.5 to 2 years in storage According to the Standard, “NFPA 110, A-5-9, states that tanks should be sized so that the fuel is utilized within the storage life, or that provisions be provided to replace stale fuel with fresh fuel.

What if I use an outdated diesel engine?

It’s unlikely to take as long as you imagine. When you put fuel in a container, you only have a few months before the quality starts to deteriorate, and that time is cut in half if the fuel is polluted in any way.

Petrol has a six-month shelf life when stored in a sealed container at 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and just three months when stored at 30 degrees Fahrenheit. The more heat it is subjected to, the faster it will blow up.

You’ll be able to keep the container for even shorter time if it’s not well sealed, and there’ll be an elevated fire risk owing to combustible vapours escaping.

Diesel, on the other hand, can be utilized for six to twelve months before becoming ‘gummy,’ which can clog filters and cause engine problems if used.

Is it possible to clean old diesel?

Microbiological growth develops inside the fuel tank when water contaminates diesel fuel. This growth renders the fuel black and, if left in a tank for long enough, converts it into a mud-like substance (sludge). Water enters the tank in a variety of ways. The deck fill is the most likely entry point. Water will enter the tank if the cover is unfastened or the rubber seal is missing. Condensation might collect in the deck fill and enter the tank. The primary filter (first in line) separates water from fuel while also protecting the engine. When water is discovered in the primary filter, the fuel tank must be thoroughly cleaned to guarantee that no water remains.

Small sailboats that don’t consume a lot of fuel and are stowed every winter can be found with old diesel fuel. Unlike modern automobiles, trucks, and power boats, which consume a lot of fuel, the fuel inside these sailboats is most likely over three years old. When storing diesel fuel, we utilize additives, but over-treating might lead to other issues. The best protection is to clean (polish) the fuel with new clean filters. To safeguard the engine, all marine diesel engines include primary and secondary filters that must be maintained.

Having the tanks cleaned and the fuel polished every three years is the greatest answer to the problem of old diesel fuel. To remove the sludge and water, a remote filter and fuel pump are used. Due of the amount of time and equipment required to complete this work, it might be costly. Installing an on-board gasoline polishing system so that the owner/operator may perform it themselves is another option. The sludge and water in the tank will be broken up and removed by recirculating the fuel through a filter. All diesel fuel may be cleaned and reprocessed to make it usable again.

Fuel that is not clear in color should not be used. The color should be amber or crimson. You ought to be able to look right through it. It is necessary to polish your fuel if it is black in color. Make sure the deck fill is snug and the O-ring seal is secure. Check main filters for water and sludge on a regular basis. Filters that are black and limited should be replaced. Filters should always be primed with good, clean diesel fuel. The majority of boat owners are aware that they should change the engine oil every season, but they overlook checking the fuel quality. Diesel engines are incredibly dependable if they are fed clean fuel and lubricant on a regular basis. Take care of the little things first, and the larger things will follow.

What happens to diesel if it sits for an extended period of time?

There are two issues here. First, because diesel fuel is a carbon-based petrochemical, it begins to oxidize as soon as it leaves the refinery, forming the sediments and gums that choke fuel. So, how long will a gallon of diesel fuel last? Without diesel fuel additives, diesel can go bad in as little as 30 days, causing deposits that can harm fuel injectors, fuel lines, and other system components, reducing fuel economy and performance.

Water is a significant issue in diesel fuel for several reasons. One is that new diesel mixes frequently include biodiesel, which has a higher water content by nature. If the water isn’t separated from the fuel, it can make its way into the fuel injectors. Pressures of up to (40,000) PSI are used in newer common rail fuel systems. If even a single droplet of water makes its way to the fuel injector through one of the new high-pressure systems, it can blow the tip-off, which is an expensive repair. This slime, like oxidation, can clog the fuel and cause long-term damage.

You can reduce the amount of water in your tank by keeping it full, which reduces the amount of condensation area in the tank and thus the amount of water. Second, diesel fuel treatments that demulsify or separate water from the fuel are available. A Fuel Water Separator (FWS) filter is found in almost all diesel engines. The performance of the body is improved by demulsification (FWS). All OEM manufacturers recommend demulsifying diesel fuel to ensure that water can be properly removed without causing damage to your engine. For fuel storage tanks, standard good fuel maintenance standards must be followed. These procedures entail the removal of water that has accumulated at the tank’s bottom on a regular basis. Because water is heavier than fuel, it will sink to the bottom, where it will be safer than in your fuel system. To avoid microbial growth, maintenance dosages of a dual phased (works in both water and fuel phases) biocide should be applied twice a year.

How do you keep diesel for a long time?

  • Is it possible to store diesel fuel for a long time? The storage life of different fuels varies. For example, ethanol and biodiesel mixes have a varied storage life than diesel. Furthermore, storage life is influenced by a number of factors. Keeping diesel fuel dry and at a cool temperature are optimum conditions for storage (below 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Such circumstances ensure a six- to twelve-month storage life. Fuel stabilizers are necessary to increase the life of fuel beyond twelve months.
  • Regulations for the Upkeep of Storage Tanks The most major benefit of a properly maintained Fuel Storage Tank is the prevention of water contamination. Tanks with open tops above ground allow rainwater to pollute the fuel stored. The most important method for preventing water condensation in fuel is to keep the tank as small as possible. The quantity of space required is determined on the tank configuration and gasoline volume growth. The importance of maintaining the tank’s structural integrity cannot be overstated.
  • Regulations for Storage Tanks Storage tank laws were created specifically to govern and avoid any negative effects on human health or the environment in the event of a damaged or poorly maintained tank. Regulations and tank types vary from state to state (under or above ground). Underground tanks are defined as tanks that have at least 10% of their structure underground. State rules include everything from top management to Class C workers, including workplace safety, training, and education through accredited courses such as Illinois UST Class C Training. State-by-state regulations on leak prevention and corrosion issues varies. To determine the Return on Investment on such an endeavor, every storage facility must carefully examine the standards and regulations.
  • How to Maintain Diesel Stability in Stored Fuel Microbial activity makes diesel fuel unsuitable for storage because bacteria growth reduces the fuel’s shelf life. Biocides and diesel fuel stability treatments are tried and true methods for preventing the growth of diesel fuel microbes by destroying them. Biocides have grown in relevance to the point where they are now required in fuel storage facilities. The fundamental reason for this increase is because the removal of sulfur in ULSD (ultra low sulfur diesel) renders the fuel much more susceptible to microbial activity than it was previously. Two reactions are targeted for storage fuel stability: oxidation reactions and acid-base reactions. When fuel is exposed to oxygen, it undergoes oxidation, as the term implies. Oxygen reacts with’reactive components’ already present in the fuel. A chain reaction begins, transforming the fuel’s formerly healthy molecules into unstable reactive molecules. To combat this, anti-oxidants are added to the fuel. Antioxidants work by interrupting the chain processes that cause stable compounds to become unstable. This eliminates the possibility of oxidation occuring again. Acid-base reactions are affected in the same way by fuel stability procedures. The treatment entails reacting with acid precursors in order to prevent them from reacting with other fuel agents. This is especially essential when certain metals, such as iron and copper, have been present in the fuel. Fuel exposed to such metals can catalyze or ‘accelerate’ damaging reactions to the fuel in as little as a minute. To mitigate and eliminate this issue, an antioxidant stabilizer with a metal deactivator is utilized.
  • Biofilms. Biofilms, on the other hand, can reduce the efficacy of biocides and storage fuel stability treatments. The biological mass generated by organisms present in the diesel fuel storage tank is known as biofilms. The number of such microorganisms present can have a big impact on how quickly and effectively a biocide can remove or ‘kill’ a microbe in diesel fuel.

Is it necessary for me to maintain my fuel tank full?

As you start your car, shivering in your coat, every year as the snow begins to fall, the wise words of your parents resound in your mind: “Remember to keep your gas tank at least half full in the winter!” However, when the needle on your gas gauge drops below half after a long day at work, you dread heading out in the freezing winds to fill up. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s truly necessary to keep your gas tank full, we’re here to inform you that it is, especially in the cold. If you don’t, you could face the following four scenarios:

A quick review on science: condensation occurs when cold water vapor comes into contact with a warm surface. You’ve heard of condensation. It’s the fog that forms on your car windows when you first get behind the wheel on a frigid morning, or the water droplets that collect on your windshield. These similar droplets can develop on the inside walls of your gas tank, eventually settling to the bottom and causing harm. Engine rust, tank corrosion (particularly if it isn’t constructed of plastic), and other costly difficulties may result if this happens.

Condensation can cause fuel lines to freeze when it becomes cold enough, preventing gasoline from reaching your engine. This results in a car that stalls or refuses to start, which is particularly inconvenient during the winter months. Fortunately, modern automobiles have sealed fuel injection systems that can help prevent this, but it’s always best to be safe and keep your tank at least half full.

If keeping an eye on your gasoline line and gas tank wasn’t enough, failing to keep the tank topped off could also impact your fuel pump. When you’re running out of gas, your fuel pump may start sucking air in. This might cause the pump to overheat to a dangerous temperature or malfunction over time, requiring costly repairs. Furthermore, dirt or rust might become caught in your gasoline filter, causing it to become clogged and costing you another costly service fee.

Mechanics aside, it’s a good idea to maintain your gas tank filled in the cold for your own safety. If winter weather causes traffic jams and you’re stuck in the middle of it, a full tank of gas will keep you warm if it takes you longer to get to your destination. Of course, having a well-stocked car emergency pack will keep you safe as well!