Signs of Bad Diesel Fuel

Signs of Bad Diesel Fuel

Stored diesel fuel won’t last forever, that’s for sure.  But how can you tell if your supplies are turning bad? It may surprise you to learn that it can only take six months for diesel fuel to become unusable. In this article, we talk about the signs of bad diesel fuel and your best strategy for dealing with this problem.

Where Do Diesel Fuel Problems Originate?

Although problems with your diesel fuel usually present themselves when pumped into the engine they are meant for; these problems most often originate in the storage tank.  Improper storage or exposure to contaminants has a massive effect on your diesel reserves. Proper maintenance in the tank will prevent engines smoking, clogged fuel filters, and ruined injectors.

What Are The Symptoms?

Realistically, you can only expect diesel fuel to stay useable for 6 to 12 months, depending on whether it’s bio-diesel or distillate ULSD diesel.  Here are some symptoms to watch for if you’re in doubt.

  • Fuel Has Turned Dark
  • Shortened Fuel Filter Life
  • Fuel Degrades During Operation – Signs of microbial and fungal contamination
  • Stench Coming From the Fuel Tank
  • Ruined Fuel Injectors (Corroded)
  • More Exhaust Smoke than Usual
  • Floating Contaminants or Sludge in the Tank

What are the Solutions?

Although diesel fuel is inherently unstable, is not expected to last forever in storage, and is known to have a relatively short shelf life, there are specific precautionary policies you can put in place to protect your fuel investment.

  • Always purchase the highest quality of fuel available
  • Tanks must be cleaned, inspected and maintained at proper intervals
  • Additives may be needed to control the growth of micro-organisms and bacteria in the fuel
  • Water must be drained off the fuel and kept out of tanks
  • Partner with a Clean Fuels Associate to ensure optimal performance from your diesel fuel