Many fuels exist, but gasoline is likely to be the most popular one among gas-powered vehicles. It is an essential element for transportation, but at certain temperatures, it will freeze. That’ll cause multiple mechanical issues as well as unwanted damage on your engine for example. When does gasoline freeze and how can you prevent it?
So what exactly Is GASOLINE?
To even answer the question of when does gasoline freeze, let’s check out what exactly forms gasoline.
It is actually a mixture of various elements: hydrocarbons and additives, a lot of them. And by that, hundreds in quantity, it is far from being a pure, plain substance. These elements are commonly hexane, octane, ethanol and heptane. Optional ones are butane and pendant that are added depending of certain circumstances.
All these chemicals mentioned previously have a different structure, and as such, they all have a different freezing point.
WHEN DOES IT FREEZE?
Actually, you might have figured it out by yourself already: none, to be fair. It doesn’t freeze past a certain temperature like water for example. Gasoline has a freezing range, just like candle wax for example.
That means, when the temperature decreases, gasoline modifies itself. First, some bits of sediments and gums will start to come out of the whole substance. Then, when it gets even colder, the heavy molecules like cyclo-heptane or iso-nonane will solidify. The more the temperature keeps decreasing, the more the gasoline will become waxier and slushier, until only some light molecules remain liquid.
Gasoline can be tweaked though, in order to be made out of special blends to accommodate cold climates. For example, ethanol gas will help the gasoline lower its freezing range.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A FROZEN FUEL LINE?
Unfortunately, they’re not cool. Having a frozen fuel line sucks, because when your fuel gets waxy, and water vapor freezes inside the vehicle, there’s a bunch of symptoms that you must watch out for:
- Stopping and sputtering
Some people interestingly believe that driving their car even when it’s extremely cold outside is a good idea. The problem there is that even if your car is generating heat while driving, your gas tank still is vulnerable to freezing.
The consequence of that is a malfunctioning tank, which means your car will stall, or sputter. And even if your gas tank was fine, well a frozen gas line still would provoke this symptom.
- FAILURE TO START
If your engine doesn’t want to start at all, well wait a bit: when it gets warm enough, your call should be good to go. However, if the temperature remains unbearably cold, too bad, should have taken better care of your car.
- FAILURE TO TURN OVER
When the fuel line isn’t totally frozen yet, but just very cold, the engine still can turn over despite not being able to start itself. That means, you still can “save” yourself and get driving at some point when the whole structure heats up. If your whole system is frozen though, well you’re on for a bad trip: how can you fix that?
To fix a frozen fuel line:
Here are the best ways to fix a frozen fuel line:
- PUSH YOUR CAR INTO AN ENCLOSED AREA.
Plan ahead, because winter is coming. Make sure your car is in a safe and enclosed area to protect it from the cold weather. Leaving your car outside for long periods of time during winter is just not a good idea. Worst-case scenario would be you leaving your car in the snow for multiple days. But if your garage is warm and dry, everything should be fine. If you’re in need to unfreeze the fuel line, well turn heat up manually your garage: use kerosene, electric heaters, hairdryer, whatever you can to heat that bad boy up.
- PUT ANTIFREEZE ADDITIVES IN THE TANK.
This will help no matter when you do it. You can grab those at a specialized automobile store to purchase such additives. They’re pretty cheap and efficient, but most of all, are extremely useful during winter for your fuel line. Put a few bottles of antifreeze in total, and when the antifreeze will either prevent your whole gasoline to freeze in the first place or freeze it.
Rocking your car back and forth will help the antifreeze to mix quicker with the gasoline if you’re too lazy to wait for half a day.
HOW CAN WE PREVENT A FROZEN FUEL LINE?
To simply not go through the whole hassle of unfreezing your fuel line, here are our tips on how to keep everything from freezing:
- a full tank.
This will allow your system to contain less moisture, so there is less space for water vapor, which is the main cause of freezing fuel lines.
- ANTIFREEZE TREATMENT.
Just put it in beforehand maybe a few weeks before the cold days begin so you don’t have to worry about it. Just make sure to follow the instruction manual thoroughly.
Finally, make sure to keep your car in a decent condition at all times, to have a safe drive.