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When Good Gas Goes Bad

August 3rd, 2012

Everybody has had it happen. You stored a car over a long term period of time, or maybe even a lawn mower or some other piece of gas driven equipment. Then, you go to start it up after this long lay off. Of course, it doesn’t start. Or maybe it starts, but runs poorly. Perhaps the engine knocks or sputters, or even stalls out. At the very least, the engine doesn’t run as efficiently as it should.

This is the most common reason for fuel failure. As gasoline ages, it starts to smell like varnish. It thickens, and it gums up. It clogs modern fuel injector ports that are much smaller than their earlier carburetor counterparts. When gas ages, or when it gets contaminated, such as with water, it doesn’t burn efficiently. Worse case scenario – you can actually harm the engine.

If you suspect the fuel in question is contaminated or old, it is safest just to dispose of it properly. Don’t take the chance of using it and causing more costly problems than just wasting a few gallons of gas. One of the first things to do if you suspect a problem is to check your fuel filter for particles, water or  gunk.

You will need to siphon the bad fuel into a container if you need to bring it to a facility that will take it away. There are usually locations in most areas that accept hazardous waste materials. Usually, you can contact your local and state authorities to determine the location. Always dispose of bad gas properly, as it is considered a hazardous material and there are serious penalties these days for disposing of them improperly. Some local and city governments will also hold single day events annually for citizens to come in and dispose of these materials. Make sure to check with your local authorities what is considered to be the maximum amount you can transport as a private citizen. There are limits to the amount of gallons you can carry without a commercial vehicle and or container.

The best practice is to not let fuel go bad in the first place. First, don’t let it sit for too long. And if you must, you’ll need to put some fuel stabilizer in the gas to keep it fresh. With the advent of ethanol, it is also wise to put an ethanol treatment in your fuel as well. Especially when for use on small engines, like on lawn mowers. It would also be a good idea to run the engine once a month to help circulate the additives that may have settled.

 

Gas Caddy

Automotive Battery Technology – Part 2

May 19th, 2012

Part 2 of a 2 part series –

The next type of modern battery is the Gel Acid Battery. These batteries use a gel instead of a water / acid solution or glass mat media. The gel is mixed with a sulfuric acid that again reduces the fatigue of vibration and shock, keeping the plates stable inside the confines of the case. The gel cell battery is better suited to frequent deep cycles and draw-downs. You can expect a greater life span out of the gel cell.

Modern vehicles place a greater demand on the vehicle’s electric system and gel cell batteries can provide the extra power needed. They also operate better under a greater temperature range. As with anything, there are drawbacks to gel cell batteries. Plus, they are dramatically more expensive than traditional lead acid batteries. They also require Smart battery chargers that can charge them at the optimal rate and maintain the perfect voltage in the battery during the process. These chargers utilize a constant charging rate at the ideal rate.

AGM (absorbent glass mat) Batteries are a more modern type of battery that offers several advantages. The lead plates are suspended in a glass mat material and the electrolytes are in the glass mat as well. These batteries are less prone to shock, and hold up better to abuse. There is also no concern about venting and replacing water in the battery. Are there drawbacks to AGM batteries? Yes. High on that list is the price. These batteries are significantly more expensive. This cost will tend to even out over time as the AGM battery tends to last longer than traditional flooded batteries. AGM batteries require specialized battery chargers that can charge them at the optimal rate. These chargers are called Smart Chargers and again and generally more expensive than traditional battery chargers.

Deep Cycle Marine Batteries are another type of battery that is better suited to longer term, deeper draw downs and frequent recharging. These batteries can be constructed of AGM, Glass mat, and traditional flooded batteries. Charging these batteries is more complicated than traditional lead acid batteries and a specialized “Smart” battery charger should be employed to maintain optimum battery health.

We carry many different battery chargers, but the ideal battery charger for any battery type is our Pro-Logix line of battery chargers  by Solar. They are fully automatic chargers that utilize a microprocessor to provide the perfect charging rate for each battery it happens to be hooked up to. You can move from one type of battery to the next in quick succession and not have to worry about the charging rates and conditions. It’s all taken care of for you.

Automotive Battery

Automotive Battery