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    Thread: Does gas freeze in cars?

    1. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 02:00 PM #1
      My wife's boss just suggested she go start her car so her gas doesn't freeze. Now, my knee-jerk reaction is that this is stupid (temps here are around 0* F, with about a -15*F windchill.) But I just want to make sure her boss is an idiot, and not me.

      Anyone's gas tank ever froze?


    2. 12-10-2009 02:02 PM #2
      Not until about -40 to -50C, from what I've heard. Diesel will gel, but that's about it.

    3. Member CosmicTDI's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 02:04 PM #3
      If there's any water or anything in the fuel, it'll freeze... but as stated above, gasoline itself will not freeze until far below zero.
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      12-10-2009 02:05 PM #4
      Quote, originally posted by Chris Stack »
      (temps here are around 0* F, with about a -15*F windchill.)

      it will, but not at those temperatures.

      diesel gelling can be avoided with proper diesel treater dumped into the tank in advance


    5. 12-10-2009 02:05 PM #5
      as previously stated.

    6. 12-10-2009 02:07 PM #6
      The freezing point of gasoline is hard to define because it's a combination of hydrocarbons. Generally, however, we can say the freezing point of gasoline is somewhere between -100 and -150 degrees F.

      Technically temperatures have been measured "in nature" that indeed could freeze gasoline but at the temperatures you're talking about, no.

      Now, if there's a significant quantity of water in the gasoline, then there is some chance of the fuel lines freezing.


    7. 12-10-2009 02:07 PM #7

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      12-10-2009 02:09 PM #8
      Since most gas is now blended with 5%-10% ethanol you have nothing to worry about. It's like "free" gas line anti-freeze, and it's really not that cold right now. Wait til it gets to -40!

      PS: Plug your car in, it'll keep your engine from having to rev itself up a bunch when you start it. Saves you a little gas, and is a little nicer to your engine anyway.

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      12-10-2009 02:12 PM #9
      There is no place on Earth that has ever gotten cold enough to turn gasoline into a solid, if that's what you're asking. It would slowly thicken as it cools, but it will never turn solid, not on Earth. Mars, maybe... and even then, only at night.
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      12-10-2009 02:14 PM #10
      I agree. Realistically, it won't freeze.

      That said, even if it did, starting the engine would do nothing to prevent it.

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      12-10-2009 02:16 PM #11
      Quote, originally posted by Big M »

      That said, even if it did, starting the engine would do nothing to prevent it.

      Yes and No. Hot fuel returned to the gas tank would heat it up. But ya, at those temp's its fine.


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      12-10-2009 02:17 PM #12
      I'd be more concerned with how viscous the oil is, what the mixture of the anti-freeze in the coolant is, and what the state of charge of the battery is before worrying about gasoline freezing. Diesel will gel as VCG said. Ask him how he knows.
      Lately I have been testing "tip-in events". Just the tip-in. Just to see how it feels. Response time is typically on the order of 2-3 seconds. Sometimes the injection timing is a little off...

    13. 12-10-2009 02:19 PM #13
      Quote, originally posted by Chris Stack »
      My wife's boss just suggested she go start her car so her gas doesn't freeze. Now, my knee-jerk reaction is that this is stupid (temps here are around 0* F, with about a -15*F windchill.) But I just want to make sure her boss is an idiot, and not me.

      Anyone's gas tank ever froze?

      Windchill doesn't affect liquids or anything inanimate, it's just a theorical concept of how the wind blow your own heat bubble away. BTW 0°F is hardly cold, even diesel doesn't gel.

      I have seen good quality diesel gel at -30°F or colder...

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    14. Banned Chris Stack's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 02:23 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by FlyingIan »

      Windchill doesn't affect liquids or anything inanimate, it's just a theorical concept of how the wind blow your own heat bubble away. BTW 0°F is hardly cold, even diesel doesn't gel.

      I have seen good quality diesel gel at -30°F or colder...

      That's what I figured. Just wanted to cover all my bases before I said her boss is a moron. I sent her the quote about "nowhere on earth for gas to freeze, maybe on Mars...at night..." and said she should tell her boss.


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      12-10-2009 02:26 PM #15
      Your gas tank has a small amount of water in it, and that can freeze. If it freezes in a fuel line, you'll have problems. If I remember right, the water in your tank sits on top of the gasoline, which is one reason why you don't want to run low on gas in the winter. When your tank is full, the fuel pickup can't reach the water.
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      12-10-2009 02:27 PM #16
      I think -40* is the magic number, which by the way, is where Fahrenheit and Celsius get together and enjoy a cold one. Hardi-har-har!

      I remember being stuck in Montreal because my gas line froze. The weather reports said that temps reached well below -40*.

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      12-10-2009 02:34 PM #17
      when you have trouble starting a car in cold weather, the best thing to do is to take some gasoline and let it sit on the stove for a while so you can funnel it into your tank, thus warming up the rest of your fuel already in your car.

    18. 12-10-2009 02:41 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by bora.the.explora »
      when you have trouble starting a car in cold weather, the best thing to do is to take some gasoline and let it sit on the stove for a while so you can funnel it into your tank, thus warming up the rest of your fuel already in your car.

      Warming it with a match or lighter often works too, just don't get it too close.


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      12-10-2009 02:43 PM #19
      Quote, originally posted by bora.the.explora »
      when you have trouble starting a car in cold weather, the best thing to do is to take some gasoline and let it sit on the stove for a while so you can funnel it into your tank, thus warming up the rest of your fuel already in your car.

      Or just keep some in a climate-controlled area (just be safe about it).

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      12-10-2009 02:44 PM #20
      Gas does freeze! Geez, haven't you guys ever seen The Day After Tomorrow?

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      12-10-2009 02:44 PM #21
      only in Russia

    22. 12-10-2009 02:50 PM #22
      Reminds me of cartoons I watched as a kid. Imagine the car drives away and the ice remains in place after it leaves.

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      12-10-2009 02:50 PM #23
      tell her to quit pouring ice cubes in the gas tank.

      On a more sober note... wait, i don't have one.


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      12-10-2009 02:52 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by Fahrgefuhl »
      only in Russia

      Good god. I wonder how long that takes to "thaw"


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      12-10-2009 02:53 PM #25
      yes gas freezes, no it doesn't get cold enough in illinois

      come to winnipeg and then you have something to worry about


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      12-10-2009 03:11 PM #26
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      12-10-2009 03:14 PM #27
      Quote, originally posted by Art Vandelay »
      If I remember right, the water in your tank sits on top of the gasoline, which is one reason why you don't want to run low on gas in the winter.

      Art, dear, you have it backwards. The water goes to the bottom, the gas floats on it.

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    28. Member Art Vandelay's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 03:16 PM #28
      Quote, originally posted by atomicalex »

      Art, dear, you have it backwards. The water goes to the bottom, the gas floats on it.

      Yes, you are right.

      Though now I don't understand why I was always taught that a full tank will prevent the water from going into the fuel lines....

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      12-10-2009 03:19 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by Fahrgefuhl »
      only in Russia

      I think that was actually an ice storm in Geneva, Switzerland. I remember seeing an entire gallery of pictures from that storm-neat, but crazy stuff.


    30. Senior Member dunhamjr's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 03:23 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by Big M »
      I agree. Realistically, it won't freeze.

      That said, even if it did, starting the engine would do nothing to prevent it.

      this..

      gasoline CAN freeze... but i have seen some docs that say it still will flash at -97F... so quite a bit more damn cold then whatever the temp is where you live.

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      12-10-2009 03:29 PM #31
      Quote, originally posted by Art Vandelay »

      Yes, you are right.

      Though now I don't understand why I was always taught that a full tank will prevent the water from going into the fuel lines....


      No, it prevents condensation in the tank, which keeps the water out.
      If water is in the tank, it can freeze in the lines, which sucks.
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    32. Member SlowMotion's Avatar
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      12-10-2009 03:36 PM #32
      Quote, originally posted by Art Vandelay »

      Yes, you are right.

      Though now I don't understand why I was always taught that a full tank will prevent the water from going into the fuel lines....

      Art dear, the water that get's in your tank if from condensation inside the tank. You know hot or warmer fuel returning to the tank mix with cold outside temperature produce such condensation. with a full tank of gas there's no room in the tank for the condensation to happens.


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      12-10-2009 04:05 PM #33
      Quote, originally posted by SlowMotion »

      Art dear, the water that get's in your tank if from condensation inside the tank. You know hot or warmer fuel returning to the tank mix with cold outside temperature produce such condensation. with a full tank of gas there's no room in the tank for the condensation to happens.

      Come to think of it, I know about condensation. I saw a show about it on BBC4. That's why I store my Mustang with a full tank.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HzK8x3cL5o

      I'm pretty sure you pump water into your car at the gas pump as well. You have to pay for that water.


      Modified by Art Vandelay at 1:06 PM 12-10-2009

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      12-10-2009 04:06 PM #34
      Cold ambient temps will prevent fuel from vaporizing either in the intake manifold or in the cylinder and so makes it harder to start.
      Lately I have been testing "tip-in events". Just the tip-in. Just to see how it feels. Response time is typically on the order of 2-3 seconds. Sometimes the injection timing is a little off...

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      12-10-2009 04:30 PM #35
      It has gotten to -192F on top of a mountain in Antarctica. Sir Ranulph Fiennes lived to tell the story crossing Antarctica on foot. Just because there aren't thermometers out there doesn't mean it doesn't get that cold.

      So don't take your gasoline powered car to Antartica

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