Automotive Fuel Line Freeze-Ups – Repairing And Preventing Them

19 February 2016
 Categories: , Blog

Frozen fuel lines in vehicles is a very common problem during the winter months. Knowing what causes the problem, how to solve the problem and how to prevent it from happening again in the future can help avoid the situation of not being able to start your car during the frigid winter weather.

What causes the fuel lines to freeze?

Fuel lines freeze when the water vapor trapped in the lines freezes in low temperatures. When this happens, the fuel line is blocked and the fuel cannot make it from the tank to the engine.

How do you thaw the frozen fuel lines?

Thawing the lines must be done carefully to avoid damaging the lines and putting your safety at risk. The easiest method of thawing the frozen lines is having your car towed to a heated garage where it can slowly heat up and thaw the ice that has formed in the fuel line. Unfortunately, this isn't always a feasible option, so there are other options to try.

  1. Use a hair dryer or heat gun to carefully warm the fuel lines. Just don't get the lines too hot or you could damage the lines and risk potential fires.
  2. Warm the engine compartment from underneath the front end of the car. Propane torpedo heaters work wonders, but you must be careful to not get the car too hot or you could damage the engine components and even the body of the car.
  3. Add some dry gas to the tank. Get a gas can and fill it with a few gallons of gas. Pour the bottle of dry gas into the tank and swish it around to mix it up. Pour the mixture into the gas tank of your car. Rock the car back and forth for a while to mix the mixture into the gas that is already in the tank. Eventually, the mixture will work its way through the line and thaw the frozen blockage.

How do you prevent fuel line freeze-ups?

There are three things you can do to prevent fuel line freeze-ups in the future.

  1. Don't get gas when, or just after the tanker is filling up the holding tanks at the gas station. When they add gasoline to the tanks, they can cause sediment in the bottom of the tanks to become mixed with the fuel that you are filling your car up with. The sediment could contribute to the problems you are having.
  2. Add fuel additive to your tank when you know cold temperatures are coming.
  3. Cover your car when the temperatures are dropping. Make sure that your car cover is large enough to cover the entire car to the ground to prevent the cold air from blowing under the car and freezing the fuel lines.

If this continues to be a problem for you, talk with your local mechanic, such as August European, for assistance.