One of my dirt bike buddies once asked if he should clean the gas tank on his bike.
To be honest, I didn’t know the answer back then, although it made sense in my head that a dirt bike gas tank might need to be cleaned once in a while.
Below I will share the fruits of my research and give you some tips on gas tank maintenance from my own experience.
Maintaining a dirt bike gas tank is important to ensure that the fuel system stays clean and free of contaminants, which can improve performance and fuel efficiency. Steps include cleaning and inspecting the tank, changing the fuel filter, and following tips such as using fresh fuel, adding stabilizer and keeping the tank filled.
Why You Need to Maintain Your Dirt Bike Gas Tank
Maintaining your dirt bike gas tank is actually important for several reasons.
A lot of today’s bikes have plastic or fiberglass gas tanks, but a lot of older bikes have metal ones.
Here I will cover the main reasons for maintaining the majority of gas tanks.
Preventing rust and corrosion
Dirt bike gas tanks are often made of metal and can be susceptible to rust and corrosion.
Keeping the tank clean and dry, and using a rust inhibitor can help prevent these problems.
Improving fuel quality
Dirt and debris can accumulate in the bottom of the gas tank, which can contaminate the fuel.
Over time, this can cause problems with the fuel system, including clogged carburetors or fuel injectors.
If rust and corrosion are not addressed, they can cause holes in the gas tank.
Fuel leaks can be dangerous as this is a serious fire hazard.
Maximizing fuel efficiency
A dirty gas tank can reduce the efficiency of the fuel system, which can lead to decreased fuel economy and reduced performance.
Maintaining the tank and keeping it clean can help ensure optimal fuel efficiency.
Increasing the lifespan of the bike
By keeping the gas tank in good condition, you can help extend the overall lifespan of your dirt bike.
Regular maintenance can prevent problems that can lead to costly repairs or replacement of the tank.
What are dirt bike gas tanks made of
As we just discussed, dirt bike gas tanks can be made from a variety of materials.
Vast majority of gas tanks will be made from either of these materials.
Steel is a popular material for dirt bike gas tanks because it is durable, affordable, and easily repairable.
Steel tanks are often coated with a rust inhibitor to prevent corrosion.
Aluminum is another popular material for dirt bike gas tanks. It is lightweight and corrosion-resistant, making it ideal for off-road use.
Plastic gas tanks are becoming more common on dirt bikes due to their lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant properties.
Plastic tanks can be made from materials such as polyethylene or polypropylene.
Fiberglass is a strong and lightweight material that is used to make some dirt bike gas tanks.
Fiberglass tanks are often coated with a gelcoat to protect against damage.
Tools You Need for Gas Tank Maintenance
OK, now that we’ve covered the background stuff, let’s get our hands dirty (so to speak).
To perform a basic dirt bike gas tank maintenance, you will need the following tools:
- Cleaning supplies – a mild soap solution, a bucket, a clean rag, and a soft-bristled brush can be used to clean the inside of the gas tank.
- Fuel stabilizer – this will help keep the fuel fresh and prevent it from breaking down over time.
- Rust inhibitor – this can be added to the fuel to help prevent rust and corrosion in the tank (for metal tanks).
- Fuel drain valve or petcock wrench – this will be used to drain the fuel from the tank.
- Gas tank cap wrench – this will be used to remove the gas tank cap to access the inside of the tank.
- Pliers – pliers can be used to remove any debris or sediment that has accumulated in the bottom of the tank.
- Fuel filter – a fuel filter can be used to remove any debris or contaminants from the fuel before it is poured back into the tank.
How to clean dirt bike gas tank
Great, now that we know why we need to look after the tank and what tools we need for the job, it is time to go over the steps of cleaning your gas tank.
Drain the fuel
Start by draining the fuel from the tank.
Locate the fuel drain valve or petcock and use a fuel drain valve or petcock wrench to open it.
Allow the fuel to drain into a container for disposal (you probably won’t want to reuse that old fuel anyway).
Remove the tank
If possible, remove the gas tank from the bike.
This will make cleaning and inspection easier, and will also allow you to inspect the fuel lines and fittings for leaks or damage.
Clean the tank
Fill a bucket with a mild soap solution and use a soft-bristled brush (this is very important as you don’t want to scratch your tank with a metal brush) and clean rag to scrub the inside of the tank.
Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage plastic tanks.
Pay special attention to the bottom of the tank, where debris and sediment can accumulate.
If the inside of the tank is dirty, you can use a specialized fuel tank cleaner to remove any buildup or contaminants.
Rinse the tank thoroughly with clean water and allow it to dry completely.
Inspect the tank
Visually inspect the inside and outside of the tank for signs of rust, corrosion, or cracks.
Check the fuel cap and fuel lines for leaks or damage.
If the state of it is pretty bad then a replacement will be in order.
Add a rust inhibitor (for metal gas tanks)
If there are no signs of rust or corrosion, add a rust inhibitor to the tank.
This will help prevent rust and corrosion in the future.
Reinstall the tank
Once the tank is clean and dry, reinstall it on the bike and secure it tightly.
Check the fuel lines and fittings for leaks, and make any necessary repairs.
Fill the tank with fuel
Fill the tank with fresh fuel and add a fuel stabilizer.
Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to circulate the treated fuel throughout the system.
Found a leak? Learn more about why your dirt bike is leaking gas and how to fix it.
Tips for Keeping Your Dirt Bike Gas Tank in Good Condition
Once cleaned and installed back, it is wise to keep your gas tank that way.
Here are a few tips on how to make your tank last longer and perform better.
Use fresh fuel
This is a big one.
Always use fresh fuel, and avoid using gasoline that has been stored for a long time.
Old fuel can break down and leave deposits in the tank, which can lead to clogging and decreased performance.
Add fuel stabilizer
Use a fuel stabilizer to help keep the fuel fresh and prevent it from breaking down over time.
This is especially important if you plan to store your bike for an extended period of time.
Clean the tank regularly
Regular cleaning of the inside of the tank will help remove debris and sediment that can accumulate over time, and will help prevent rust and corrosion.
Use a mild soap and water solution to clean the outside of the tank.
Avoid using abrasive or harsh chemicals, as these can damage the plastic.
Keep the tank filled
Keeping the tank filled will help prevent air from entering the tank and condensation from forming, which can lead to rust and corrosion in metal tanks or plastic to expand and contract in plastic tanks.
This can lead to cracks and leaks over time.
Inspect the tank regularly
Regular inspections of the tank will help you identify any problems early on, such as rust, corrosion, or cracks, which can be repaired before they become serious issues.
Check the fuel cap and petcock for proper operation and for any leaks.
Change the fuel filter regularly
Regularly changing the fuel filter will help ensure that the fuel system on your dirt bike stays clean and free of contaminants, which can improve performance and fuel efficiency.
Store the tank properly
When storing your dirt bike for long periods of time, make sure the tank is empty and clean.
Store the bike in a dry, cool place to prevent condensation from forming, which can lead to corrosion and rust.
Read more about how long a dirt bike can sit without starting.
Avoid over-tightening the fuel cap
For plastic gas tanks over-tightening the fuel cap can cause stress on the plastic, which can lead to cracks and leaks.
Always follow the manufacturer’s specifications for tightening the fuel cap.
In this article, we discussed the importance of maintaining a dirt bike gas tank, including the tools needed for the maintenance and the steps to clean and inspect the tank.
I hope you find the tips useful for keeping the tank in good condition, such as using fresh fuel, adding fuel stabilizer, cleaning the tank regularly, and changing the fuel filter regularly.
Regular maintenance of the gas tank is important to keep the dirt bike running smoothly and prevent problems that can lead to costly repairs.