What Is Dry Gas?

Oil and gas engines need alcohol based additives such as dry gas to prevent water buildup in the gas tank. … Continued

Oil and gas engines need alcohol based additives such as dry gas to prevent water buildup in the gas tank. Adding alcohol helps solve combustion issues and can come in handy during the cold winter months. Dry gas has a low freezing point since it is based on isopropyl alcohol or methanol, making it a popular antifreeze in winter and an antidote for water contaminated gas.

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Why Dry Gas Is Important

Rust can wreak havoc on your vehicle, and the culprit is none other than moisture. Moisture is enemy number one when it comes to engines. Even the hint of water inside a fuel tank can result in disastrous rust that eats away at the metal. Gas leaks may occur as a result, and the damage can spread like a forest fire that gets out of hand and destroys the rest of the fuel system. Sometimes, this damage will begin to show from the outside and the exterior frame of your car will exhibit signs of deterioration.

Other times, water and air will combine forces to target the inner lining of the gas tank. Oxidation occurs and metal begins to rust and disintegrate. Once the metal crumbles, it will begin its damaging journey down the fuel injection system. Rust triggers a domino effect that can easily ruin modern fuel pumps. These pumps are more delicate when compared to older lower pressure pumps that were once installed in cars of a different era. Fine rust particles act like miniature abrasive nails that scratch at the inner surface of the high pressure pump. Over time, this rusted metal will eventually corrode the pump and damage it beyond repair. The minisicule size of these rust particles makes them hard to filter out  by the fuel filter which was designed to screen out dirt and debris.

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Moisture that spreads to the rest of the fuel system can result in more than just damaged pumps. Drivers will be able to tell that something is wrong with their vehicle right away. In some cases, moisture build-up may occur inside engine cylinders, resulting in what is known as a hydraulic lockup. This is a severe condition that can annihilate the engine. Carburetor passageways can also crack due to the presence of large amounts of frozen water within the device. All of the above issues are dangerous and clearly show the destructive nature of rust once it takes hold of the engine and the rest of its components.

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How It Works  

Technology has come a long way when it comes to cars with the introduction of fuel injection in the 1980s and the rise of full hybrid and autonomous vehicles like the Prius and the Tesla. Nowadays, modern fuel tanks are built to keep moisture out, but condensation remains a problem that  fuel additives were created to solve.  Many drivers keep a bottle of dry gas in their garage for a rainy day, especially if they have an old car in their collection. Using fuel additives in older models  can help reduce carbon buildup and provide even burn in the combustion.

There are many brands of fuel additives available on the market today, and some of them are used as a preventive measure against excess moisture that can cause major irreversible damage to vehicles and their engines. Dry gas remains the additive of choice due to its chemical composition.

The key ingredient in dry gas is none other than alcohol. Remove alcohol from the equation and you end up with dangerous buildup of moisture, especially during winter where low temperatures can result in ice in the power steering and engine transmission systems. Alcohol puts an end to the destructive wave of water by binding with it and then burning it all off in the combustion chamber. Keeping moisture under control is the goal here. However, not all modern fuel systems were equipped to deal with high levels of alcohol. The corrosive effect of alcohol can degrade plastic and rubber over time. Moreover, not all engines were created equal, so the effects of dry gas may vary depending on each car’s make and model.

How to Use Dry Gas

Isopropyl alcohol belongs to a group of chemicals that are hygroscopic, meaning that they attract water through absorption. Drivers who need to eliminate moisture from their fuel tanks can easily pour a bottle of dry gas into the tank the next time they drive up to a gas station. What this product does is it absorbs the water located at the base and prevents it from making its way over to the fuel system where it can freeze once the temperature drops to  32°F. Using alcohol based additives helps you battle condensation and humidity no matter the weather conditions. This can come in handy in the absence of ethanol free gas stations in your city or neighborhood.

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Symptoms of Water in the Gas Tank

  • Poor Acceleration

If you are having a hard time speeding down the road  and nothing seems to be wrong with the gas paddle, then chances are water is being pumped into the engine instead of fuel. Poor acceleration can be dangerous, especially while driving on a highway.

  • Bad Mileage

Engine power diminishes over time if moisture is present inside the gas tank. This, in turn, will have a negative impact on gas mileage and will eventually lead to fuel biodegradation as well. This chain of events can lead to additional problems down the line such as the formation of  rust in the tank. Rust can cause the engine to run lean and hot if it ends up in the fuel lines or injectors. It can also limit the flow of fuel if it accumulates inside the filter.

  • Engine Stalling

Water can get in the way of fuel combustion, and this largely impacts the engine. Large amounts of water in the fuel system can cause the engine to stall and this can happen at any time. Excess moisture can also trigger what is known as hydrostatic lock. This happens when water seeps into the cylinder above the piston and prevents the engine from starting.

Source:

  1. What Is Dry Gas?, Your Mechanic
  2. Does Your Car Need a Fuel Additive Like Dry Gas?, Thought Co