How to Clean a Fuel Tank Without Removing It? [Complete Guide]

Published: 09/14/22 •  9 min read

Are you looking to clean a fuel tank? Our experts explain how to clean your fuel tank without taking it off. We will also discuss the issues that arise from cleaning the car’s fuel tank and all the components in the fuel systems to give you an idea about the job each component performs.

Cleaning fuel tank manually is not easy. However, depending on the form of the fuel filter, it might be worth the effort to clear all dirt and other debris out. It is a good option for those who do not wish to deal with the hassle of replacing the tank. The process is challenging to accomplish. This is why you must be aware of the reasons and what you can do to ensure your fuel system stays in good working order. 

I can assure you that the procedure you will learn in this article is very simple and there is no need for a professional. This procedure can be completed even if your car comes with an inbuilt fuel tank mounted on site. There’s no need to rely on experts any longer!

Precautions First

Be sure to take all appropriate safety precautions while working on gas. Remember that gasoline is a highly flammable substance, so you should take special care. For instance, ensure that your work area is adequately ventilated and an extinguisher is in place.

Also, ensure no people smoke tobacco or work with fire in the vicinity of your workplace. Also, ensure that you follow all appropriate burning regulations in your town. Don’t dump gasoline down open sewers. Also, ensure that any gasoline-soaked rags don’t go in general garbage containers.

Why Should I Clean My Fuel Tank?

The majority of new fuel pump failures are caused by contamination in the fuel tank. The contaminants cause the filter to get blocked and force the pump to draw more amps and current, resulting in an out-of-commission, which can damage the fuel pump that was recently replaced. Based on the quantity of contamination, it is believed that it could take as much as three pumps to remove the dirt from the tank. Sometimes, a dirty tank won’t make the pump stop working. However, unclean fuel tanks could impact your gas mileage and block the fuel filter.

Cleaning A Fuel Tank Without Removing It

If you do not have mechanic skills, there is no need to worry. This method is fast and simple, but it may take longer if it requires more effort. 

Step 1: Go Through the Instructions

Before beginning, go through the instruction manual properly for instructions on how to cut gasoline tank rope. Make sure that you follow safety instructions and use the model and manufacturer of the specific kind of tank rope.

Step 2: Drain Out and Degrease the Fuel Tank

Credit: YourMechanic

Draining out the fuel from the tank is crucial to saving time and money. Clean the gas tank once you have emptied it to ensure that it emits the scent of gasoline. If required, you may consider trying this method using a commercial degreaser or a mix with hot and dishwashing detergent. If you can still detect any scent after 24 hours, repeat the process until you have odor-free results!

Step 3: Pressure Wash the Fuel Tank

Next, pressure wash the fuel tank using water. The residues and dirt accumulated on the tank’s interior can create the perfect surface for fueling trucks to slip off while loading. Get rid of anything stuck in or around the area.

Step 4: Add the Cleaning Solution

Your fuel tank may contain dirt or rust. To get it cleaned, you will need to apply a cleaning solution. The chemicals present in the solution will degrade and cause more harm. It is possible to quickly get rid of dirt and dust by adding a cleaning solution. Be cautious about the various ingredients of the solution. Note that acid-certified as quality solutions will work well on those parts that have been neglected for so long!

Step 5: Leave the Fuel Tank

Allow this cleaning solution to sit for several hours. Soak it in a mix of water, vinegar, and dish soap for a few hours to ensure it gets rid of any slime or rust present on the surface. 

Step 6: Rinse the Fuel Tank

Fill the fuel tank with water and let it run for at least 10 minutes to get the fuel smell to a minimum. Keep spraying water until there is no longer any smell.

Step 7: Dry the Fuel Tank Completely

Make sure that the tank’s water is completely dry after washing. To ensure this, allow it to dry for 24 hours. Recheck it, and make sure that there is no odor of fuel left behind.

After you have cleaned the fuel tank thoroughly, give some time for the water to evaporate from the tank. Make sure to check the drying time because leftover fumes will not b

e good.

How To Know If My Fuel System Needs Cleaning?

The following indicators will suggest that it is time for the fuel system needs to be cleaned. It will increase the efficiency of power output and decreases emissions. To enhance the engine performance more, make sure you check all fluid levels regularly at every 1000 miles.

How to Remove the Fuel Filter?

In this section, we will be discussing the steps to remove the fuel filter.

Step 1: Find and remove the fuse for the fuel pump. After that, start the engine, then turn it off for 2 minutes, and allow it to run out of gas. If your vehicle stops working after 2 minutes, it means that there is an issue with voltage relief. Contact an electrician to fix this issue!

Step 2: Switch off the car and disconnect the negative terminal of your vehicle before turning it off.

Step 3: Ensure the wires are secured to avoid any accidental contact with the terminal. Make sure to use either wire or tape for additional protection from unexpected power surges or spikes.

Step 4: It’s time to locate the fuel filter. The exact location of this device on your vehicle is different according to the model and make. It is generally placed between the fuel generator and the tank.

Step 5: Lift your car using the Jack.

Step 6: To collect gasoline, place an empty bucket underneath the filter. Then, remove the gasoline out of the pipeline.

Step 7: Break the fuel pipe using a hammer and smash off the filter’s bracket.

How To Clean the Fuel Filter?

FAQs About Cleaning Fuel Tank Without Removing it

Which Method Is Best to Flush the Gas Tank?

Replacement of brake fluid is a fairly simple and inexpensive procedure for most vehicles.

What Is the Most Efficient Method to Empty a Gas Tank?

Go through the service manual of your car, and if it says to utilize the petcock, then that is the best option. If you are looking to spend just $10 on something that could take two minutes, go to the air compressor option.

What Is the Cost to Clean the Fuel Tank?

It differs based on the size of the tank as well as how much cleaning it demands. The standard services offered by the majority of providers range from $50 to $80 per hour.

How Do You Know if The Fuel Line Is Blocked?

You will see the vehicle struggling to start and having less energy when you try to accelerate. It happens because the engine is not having enough fuel to keep in operation. It’s an excellent sign that the fuel lines have clogged because your car engine is hungry for energy.

How Much Does It Cost to Clean a Fuel Tank?

It ranges from $400 to $1500 for a fuel flush. This cost does not include the cost of the new fuel injectors and labor costs.


Fuel tanks are a critical element of a car. The fuel filter is still working; however, it may require washing from time to time. If your vehicle has not been driven for a few months, there could be issues that involve corrosion or rusting of metal surfaces, which is something that a majority of people don’t have any idea about before they get their hands on it, so beware!

For cleaning your vehicle’s fuel tank without having to take it out, follow our steps explained above in this post. It is not complicated; however, every step must be carried out with care and attention.