How To Clean Old Gas Out Of Motorcycle Tanks? [The Right Way]

How To Clean Old Gas Out Of Motorcycle Tanks

If your motorcycle is sitting idle for a long time, you should probably think of cleaning the gas tank. It is absolutely not something that you can miss out on. Because if you don’t remove the old gas and clean the tank, it will not only damage the tank but also eat up more gas than usual. Also, it is very risky to ride a motorcycle with a tank full of gunk and rust. 

But even if you recognize the necessity of gas tank cleaning, you may think about how to do it. Emptying the gas tank and then cleaning it sounds like a real challenge, right? However, you can do it very easily if you know the right way and tricks. In fact, after several experiments and researches, I have discovered the best ways of cleaning a motorcycle gas tank. 

In this article, I will discuss everything about emptying and cleaning a motorcycle gas tank. I will keep it as simple as possible and help you out in getting a smooth ride. Because hey, a clean gas tank means effective gas consumption and a good ride!

So, here we begin!

5 Steps To Clean Old Gas Out Of Motorcycle Tank: Do It Simply

If you follow the right steps of cleaning an old gas motorcycle tank, you can do it swiftly. In this part of the article, I will talk about the basic gas tank cleaning method. In the next part, I would focus on more specific issues like rusting or removing stubborn layers. 

Let’s start with the basic gas tank cleaning method: 

Step 1: Detach The Tank From The Motorcycle

Detaching the tank from the motorcycle is the first thing you need to do. For that, you have to detach the pipe that connects and seals the motorcycle to the gas tank. Twist the joint a bit and the pipe will come off the tank. Some motorcycles may have gas tank caps and hoses. Disconnect all of them. 

Next, unscrew the screws and bolts from the motorcycle gas tank. By now, you must have opened all the screws and connections between the tank and the motorcycle. 

Step 2: Drain The Gas And Seal The Pipe

Even if the gas tank is old, it can have gas in it. For cleaning, you need to empty the tank. The easiest way to do that is to drain the gas through the pipe. To do this, attach a clamp just below where the pipe meets the carburetor. Then detach the pipe from the carburetor and put the ending of the pipe in a bucket. Next, open the clamp and suck the pipe a bit just to initiate the flow of gas. Once initiated, the gas will go down to the bucket through the pipe. 

The pipe or hose that you have removed from the tank should be now sealed before you start cleaning. The hose is what connects the tank to the motorcycle. Now if you keep the pipe mouth open, the remaining gas can drip off and dust and debris can settle inside the pipe. This is why sealing or closing the mouth of the hose is necessary. 

Step 3: Clear The Gas Tank Properly

After you remove the gas with the pipe, some residues may still remain in the tank. To remove all of it, you can take the tank and flip it upside down to let the liquid drip off the tank. You can use a suction pipe to remove the residue too. After that, keep the tank aside and let the interior dry out completely. 

Step 4: Check The Faults

After the emptying is done, keep the tank in broad sunlight to check for the defects it has. You may see a layer of grease inside the tank if it has not been cleaned for a long time. Apart from that, look for rusts, dents, and scratches that you may need to repair and clean. 

See whether the tank has spots, broken areas, and other defects. Note that these defects can reduce the longevity of the gas tank as well as the engine. So as you are cleaning, you should look into these issues too. 

Step 5: Clean The Tank With Pressure Washer

Buildups in a gas tank are not likely to be very stubborn. Pressure washing should suffice to deeply clean the tank. For that, set the pressure washer and hose at a high speed. Put pressure on the stubborn buildups and move the hose around the corners to clean the tank thoroughly. 

For deep cleaning the tank, you can use soapy water to rinse or pressure wash the tank. Using a blaster with water can also help to get rid of the layers of rust and strong residues. After cleaning, rinse the tank with water and let it dry before installing it again with the motorcycle. 

Attach the tank to the motorcycle by reversing the method you applied while detaching it. 

3 DIY Ways To Clean Rust From Motorcycle Gas Tank: Easy Methods

Cleaning rust from the motorcycle gas tank is probably the toughest part of the process. General cleaning is simple. But if the gas tank was not in use for several months, rusting inside the tank is just a consequence of that. However, removing it is not that hard if you use the right agents to remove it.

For your convenience, I am offering three ways of cleaning rust from motorcycle gas tanks: 

Way 1- Apply Abrasive: 

Using abrasive is the easiest and fastest way to remove buildups and rust from the gas tank. Abrasives like BBs and gravel are very effective in removing rust. If diluted in water and poured into the tank, it can slowly take off the layers. Put the diluted abrasive in the motorcycle tank and rotate it well. 

Make sure that the abrasive touches every corner of the tank. You can use a soft brush to scrub away the dirt, grease, and rust from the tank. Then rinse off the tank and put it to dry. 

Way 2- Use Vinegar And Baking Soda: 

Want a homemade solution to remove rust from motorcycle gas tanks? Then vinegar and baking soda are what you need. As vinegar is an acid, it easily reacts and neutralizes the rust. Adding baking soda to vinegar makes the treatment even more effective. It reacts to the rust and dissolves it very quickly. 

Note that you should not leave vinegar inside the tank for so long. If you do so, it may end up eating away some layers of the metal gas tank. So be very fast with the process. 

Way 3- Do Electrolysis: 

Though electrolysis may not be the most effective and easiest way of removing rust, you can still consider it. Electrolysis basically uses electric current to separate elements; here to separate the tank from the rust. Using an anode, you have to dissolve the rust on the gas tank. But the anode should not touch the gas tank. 

As it is quite a sensitive and risky treatment, you may skip this and follow the other two ways of treating rust.

No matter which treatment you do, here are some precautions that you must take: 

  • Wear safety gear like goggles, hand gloves, and face mask while working with chemicals;
  • Chemical reactions happen very fast. So be precise about the portion you are mixing;
  • After you empty the gas tank, store the fuel safely away from fire or flammable objects; 
  • Try to work in a well-ventilated space for safety and comfort; 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Why Is It Important To Remove Rust From Motorcycle Gas Tanks? 

You may ask why general cleaning is not enough. Why do you need to clean the rust? There are a few reasons why removing the rust from the motorcycle gas tank is important. Here are the reasons: 

  • The pipe of the tank allows air to mix with the fuel. But when there is rust in the tank, the air doesn’t circulate well inside the tank;
  • The performance of the motorcycle deteriorates as the flow of fuel is interrupted. So the speed of the motorcycle may be reduced when the fuel flow is not smooth;
  • A dirty and rusty tank puts pressure on the engine. When the engine is affected, the longevity and performance of the motorcycle reduce automatically;

To avoid these issues, you should clean the rust from the motorcycle gas tank. 

How Do You Clean A Gas Tank That Has Been Sitting For Years?

If the motorcycle is sitting for years, the gas tank is likely to be very filthy and greasy. You should clean it before riding the motorcycle. For cleaning the gas tank, you should follow the steps mentioned below: 

  • Disconnect the pipe or hose from the tank and motorcycle;
  • Unscrew the bolts and then remove the tank;
  • Empty the tank by flipping the tank upside down or by using a suction pipe;
  • Make soapy water by mixing hot water with detergent;
  • Spread the soapy water in the tank and let it work on the tank for 24 hours;
  • Then scrub the tank and rinse the tank with water; 

This is how you can clean stubborn dirt and grease from the tank. 

How Do You Clean A Gas Tank With Bad Gas?

The first step of cleaning the gas tank is to empty the tank. After emptying the tank, you can clean the entire tank filled with bad gas. There are three ways of cleaning a gas tank with bad gas: 

  • Put some bolts and nuts in the tank along with BBs in it. Now shake the tank so that they can move around the tank and remove stubborn dirt and grease, rust and residues; 
  • Pour soapy water into the tank. After pouring soapy water, leave it for 24 hours. Then scrub away the dirt from the tank and rinse it with water; 
  • Use a solution of vinegar and baking soda in the tank and rinse the tank well. Then use a brush to rub the tank and rinse it thoroughly with water; 

These are some ways of cleaning a gas tank with bad gas. 

Can You Clean A Gas Tank With Mineral Spirits?

Many experienced riders often clean a gas tank with mineral spirit. Though it is not the best and easiest way of cleaning, you can surely consider it. 

For cleaning with mineral spirit, empty the gas tank completely. Then fill the tank with around 4-5 gallons of mineral spirit. Leave it for some time and then drain the mineral spirit from the tank. Wash it with water and fill the tank with gas to enjoy a new and smooth ride. 

How Do You Dissolve Old Gas Residue?

To dissolve old gas residue can be an easy and fun way to clean the gas tank. In fact, this is the first treatment you should do if the buildup is stubborn and thick. 

To dissolve old gas residue, the two best ingredients are acetone and denatured alcohol. Both are powerful agents that can dissolve gas residues very easily. They react with the residue, break them, and eventually get dissolved. After that, you can wash the tank with soapy water followed by plain water to get a shiny and fresh gas tank. 

How Do You Clean A Gas Tank Without Removing It?

If you want to clean the tank without removing it from the motorcycle, you need to follow the steps below: 

  • Empty the gas tank first; 
  • Use soapy water or vinegar to remove the grease and dirt from the tank;
  • Rinse off the tank with water;
  • Pressure wash the entire tank thoroughly; 
  • Use suction to remove the water;
  • Leave it to dry; 

So yes, cleaning a gas tank without removing it is not as hard as you may have thought. 

Final Thoughts: 

The article covered almost every trick, method, and the tip of cleaning an old gas motorcycle tank effectively. You can now apply this knowledge to have a clean gas tank and enjoy a smooth and safe ride. 

Clean the gunk and grease from the motorcycle gas tank and get ready for a beautiful ride!

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