You probably didn’t put much thought into your Land Rover’s gas tank when you went to pick it up. High on the priority list for Land Rover owners tends to be performance, dependability and rugged good looks. This is a vehicle built for the daily commute but also for the weekend off-roading adventure. While fuel economy may be another important consideration, it is unlikely that you asked about the material of your fuel tank before you drove the car off the lot. Let’s take some time to talk about it now.
What Causes the Fuel Tank to Rust?
Like any other part on your car, the fuel tank is prone to wear and like any other part of your car, keeping it in good condition is imperative to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Land Rover vehicles are made with heavy duty steel and aluminum undercarriages. This includes the fuel tank. A rust resistant material is used to coat the interior of the fuel tank to help prevent corrosion from gasoline. In addition, a fuel tank shield protects it from external elements that could cause wear. Even with these preventative measures, these parts are prone to wear. Here a few things that lead to rust and corrosion in your Land Rover:
Low quality fuel
All gasoline is acidic and has corrosive properties. However, using the wrong fuel or low-grade gasoline to fill your tank could lead to early wear of the interior lining of your Land Rover. Make sure to use the fuel recommended for your vehicle according to the owner’s manual. Using a lower grade than suggested could lead to engine knocking and over time require repairs to your engine. To prevent rust in your fuel tank, you should also stay away from ethanol which has been shown to speed corrosion especially in aluminum tanks.
In many parts of the country, the roads are covered in salt for several months of the year to keep roads safe in icy conditions. Driving on these salt covered roads can be especially hard on your Land Rover’s undercarriage. In New England, many Land Rover owners see signs of corrosion on their undercarriage and fuel tank shield as soon as 2-3 years after buying them. If you live in an area where this is a normal part of life, additional preventative measures can be taken to slow down this process.
It’s common knowledge that tougher conditions are going to lead to more aggressive wear of any kind in a vehicle. If you are using your Land Rover for more than just the daily commute to the office, then you will see signs of rust on your fuel tank. Wading through water and allowing your undercarriage to sit in that moisture, or having it caked in wet mud for hours create the perfect environment for rust to develop.
Many Land Rover owners are aware that rust is a likelihood in their fuel tank and often ignore the issue. However, this is not recommended as allowing rust to build in your fuel tank can lead to a number of issues. Your fuel tank is connected to the rest of your vehicle by your fuel pump and the electric motor that pushes fuel through your vehicle’s fuel injection system. Rust can create a sludge build up that sits in your fuel tank and is circulated through your vehicle when its running.
A build up in your fuel line means fuel isn’t getting where it needs to be which could lead to overheating or complete engine failure if not addressed completely. Additionally over time, the interior rust can eat through the fuel tank and create holes that allow fuel to seep out. Not only does this pose problems when trying to keep fuel in your tank to run your engine. It also creates an unsafe vehicle to drive as flammable gasoline leaking is a dangerous situation for you and the people around you.
Maintain and Prevent Corrosion
As with anything, maintaining your vehicle is safer, more economical and results in a more enjoyable driving experience. Fuel tank corrosion is not uncommon. Working with a Land Rover expert who is aware of your vehicle’s tendencies can help you avoid major repairs by catching them early and taking preventative measures.
Maintaining and repairing small issues with your cooling system at the recommended interval will help you avoid the headaches mentioned above and keep repair costs to a minimum. Rely on the experts at Star Motors of Orange County to help you create a maintenance schedule tailored to your vehicle. Contact Star Motors in San Capistrano, CA for any service or maintenance needs you may have.
* Range Rover 2006 image credit goes to: contrastaddict.