When the weather is perfect, you may enjoy riding your motorcycle as often as possible. However, when the temperatures begin to drop and snow begins to fall, you may put your bike away and not ride it. Unfortunately, if you don't ride your motorcycle often, your fuel could become contaminated. This is a term every motorcycle rider needs to familiarize themselves with, because it could impact your engine. When you first hear this term, you may have many questions. Here are a few questions about fuel contamination and the information you need to know about.
How Does Fuel Contamination Occur?
The most common reason that fuel becomes contaminated in a motorcycle is because the motorcycle is not driven enough. If you don't use your motorcycle regularly, or at least 25 miles per week, the fuel sitting in the gas tank becomes stale. As it sits there, it begins to degrade and can produce things like asphaltenes that don't belong in your fuel and ultimately contaminate. The longer your motorcycle sits, the more your gas degrades and the more likely it is that it will become contaminated.
Can You Prevent Fuel Contamination?
There are a few different things that you can do to prevent fuel contamination from occurring in your motorcycle. The first is to make sure you drive your motorcycle at least 25 miles a week. This helps prevent the fuel from sitting there and becoming stale. However, this isn't always an option.
The next option is to limit the amount of fuel you keep in your tank when you know you won't be riding your motorcycle. If you are getting ready to put your bike away for an extended period of time, try to drive around and use all the fuel you have. Alternatively, you can drain the fuel tank. Gas can't become contaminated if it isn't sitting in the tank. It is also recommended that you add fogging oil to the tank to prevent rusting as it sits empty. When you are ready to ride again, simply fill up a gas tank to put enough gas in the motorcycle to get to a gas station.
The last option you have for preventing fuel contamination is to add an additive called a fuel stabilizer to your gas tank. Add a fuel stabilizer to your tank, fill up at the gas station and then drive around for a short distance to ensure the additive mixes in with the fuel. Once you are ready, store your bike. This option will help keep fuel from degrading for seasonal storage. However, if you plan on storing your bike for six months or longer, the fuel needs to be used or drained, as it will begin to degrade when stored for too long, even with an additive.
What are the Signs of Fuel Contamination?
If your fuel has become contaminated, your motorcycle will give you many signs that something is wrong. Common signs that the fuel is bad include the engine producing black, white or blue smoke as you ride, fuel that smells foul and an engine that is running rough, stalls out or stops working completely. If you haven't ridden your bike in some time and notice these symptoms, it is likely your fuel has become contaminated.
What Should You Do if Your Fuel Has Been Contaminated?
If the fuel in your motorcycle is bad, it will need to be drained. The process for draining fuel from a motorcycle varies based on the type of motorcycle you have, the location of the tank and whether it has a fuel drain plug or collar. Consult your owner's manual for specific instructions on draining your bike's fuel tank or take it to a professional motorcycle repair shop for help.
Fuel contamination is a common problem that can occur when you don't ride your motorcycle regularly. However, it is not a term many new riders know. It is important to familiarize yourself with this term so you don't ruin your bike's engine or waste fuel.