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How to Clean Fuel Lines and Revive an Old Car

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Reviving an old car can be rewarding yet challenging. 

But, before starting the engine, it’s crucial to clean the fuel lines, clogged fuel injectors, and gas tank. This helps prevent rust, debris, and other contaminants from reaching the combustion chamber. 

Skip these steps, and you risk complete engine failure.

So, how do you go about cleaning fuel lines? 
Worry not. We have a step-by-step guide to help you clean the fuel lines safely. We’ll also cover other important information to get your car road-ready again.

Let’s get started.

This Article Contains: 

How to Safely Clean Fuel Lines in an Old Car (Step-By-Step)

Cleaning fuel lines and the vehicle’s fuel system requires technical knowledge. It also involves handling highly flammable substances, so it’s best to seek professional assistance

But if you’re comfortable dealing with car parts, here’s a general guide on the process: 

Tools Needed: 

Once you’ve gathered the supplies, do the following:

  1. Disconnect the car battery to avoid any electric shock.
  1. Disconnect your vehicle’s fuel pump (injection pump) electrical connector and remove the fuel pump. 
  1. Attach a rubber hose to an external manual or automatic fuel pump to drain the old fuel. 
  1. Insert the hose connected to the fuel pump into the fuel tank, ensuring it reaches the bottom to extract as much fuel as possible.
  1. Use hose clamps to secure the rubber hose, and place the other end into a container to collect the drained fuel. Start the external pump to force out the fuel from the gas tank.
  1. After extracting the old gasoline, add water to the tank and drain it through its drain plug to remove any remaining rust and debris. Then, rinse the fuel tank with isopropyl alcohol, drain it, and let it dry in the sun.
  1. Next, inspect the fuel filter for clogs or damage and replace it if necessary.
  1. Remove the engine cover and components to access the clogged fuel line and disconnect it from the fuel rail. 
  1. Use compressed air and the manufacturer-recommended fuel system cleaner to clean the fuel rail and the fuel pump.
  1. Check the fuel line and other components for damage and replace them if needed.
  1. If the fuel line is intact, pour a fuel system cleaner into the fuel line and let it sit for the recommended time per the product’s instructions. Then, use compressed air to flush out the loosened deposits and contaminants.
  1. Use a high-quality fuel injector cleaner to clean the clogged fuel injectors, reconnect all the fuel system components, and ensure they’re secure. 

    Note: If your vehicle has a carburetor instead of fuel injectors, use a carb cleaner spray to clean the components.
  1. Refill the tank with fresh gas and crank the engine to check for proper operation.

Important: Always stick to the manufacturer-recommended fuel system cleaner for cleaning a clogged fuel line. Using brake cleaner, acetone, or an insulated wire can damage your vehicle’s fuel system.

Next, let’s see why fuel line or fuel system cleaning is important.

Why Should I Clean Fuel Lines Before Starting an Old Car?

Cleaning old fuel lines and the gas tank is crucial because when fuel sits unused, it gets oxidized and creates sticky substances that cling to the car’s fuel system. 
But that’s not all.

Incomplete seals or damaged components can allow water, dust, or debris into the fuel. These contaminants can wear out the fuel filter, fuel injector, and other fuel system components. 

Consequently, it can lead to poor fuel economy, engine performance, stalling, and even complete engine failure.

Still have more questions about your car’s fuel system?
We’ve got you covered. 

3 FAQs about Fuel Lines

Here are common fuel line-related questions and answers:

1. How Much Does it Cost to Clean or Replace Fuel Lines? 

Auto repair shops can charge anywhere between $20 and $1,500 for fuel system cleaning or a fuel line (gas line) replacement. The final bill depends on factors like labor costs, repair time (roughly 2 to 6 hours), and necessary replacement parts.

Here are some estimated replacement part costs in case of severe damage: 

2. How Long Do Fuel Lines Last?

Fuel lines typically last between 50,000 to 75,000 miles. The exact lifespan varies based on factors such as the vehicle’s make and model, the type of fuel line, and driving conditions.

3. How Can I Keep My Fuel Lines Clean?

Follow these tips to maintain the lifespan of your fuel line:

  1. Periodically check the fuel line, injection pump, and other components for corrosion or damage and address issues promptly.
  2. Use fresh gas to prevent contamination.
  3. Follow recommended maintenance and fuel filter replacement schedules. Also, consider an external fuel filter if necessary.
  4. Park in shaded areas to avoid extreme temperatures.
  5. Use fuel additives recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
  6. Prevent overfilling or letting fuel levels get too low.

Choose AutoNation Mobile Service for Healthy Fuel Lines

Cleaning fuel lines before reviving a dormant car is crucial to ensure optimal fuel economy and smooth engine performance. However, it can be an intricate task that demands technical expertise.

Why not let professionals like AutoNation Mobile Service handle it? 
Our mobile mechanics can manage these complexities at your convenience. Plus, we provide auto repair and maintenance services with a 12-month, 12,000-mile repair warranty

Contact us today to get fuel system cleaning, brake repair, or any other fixes done right from your driveway.