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Limits of Sta-Bil

How long can you leave a car with that stuff in the gas?

I started up my 79 two weeks ago and it purred like a kitten.
The last time I put in fuel and Sta-bil was spring 2009.

According to the company a normal dose will be effective for 12 months, doubling the dosage can prolong the storage limit to 24 months. However no additive can prevent volatility loss in fuel.

Why use that stuff at all? In a modern car with a sealed fuel system, there will be little or no fuel degradation.

Last week I started a car that had been sitting for two years, no fuel stabilizer. It took some extra cranking to get it going, but it fired up. It runs beautifully on 2-year-old gasoline (purchased at under $2/gallon, heh-heh).

Sta-Bil does little for your fuel, but for some folks it does provide a placebo effect. That makes it worthwhile, I suppose.

Placebo effect my butt.
This 79 of mine is proof positive AND the weed eater fuel.
I’ve smelled the stuff with and without.
I’ve attempted to operate both with stinky old fuel.
I’ll stick with the Sta-bil.
Others with stored fuel need it just as well.
boats, atvs, lawn equipment, cycles, wave runners, chain saws, generators etc.

Especially Emergency power supply generators which are not usually run on a seasonal basis to be able to use up the old fuel.

My belief, for which I have no empirical evidence, is that fuel stabilizer does have benefits, especially with fuel containing up to 10% ethanol.

I have anecdotal evidence fuel stabilizer leads to less frequent need for carburetor rebuilds on my lawn equipment. With Sta-bil, I only had to have the carburetor on my mower rebuilt every five years, but without it, I had to have it rebuilt every year, even when I drained the fuel at the end of the mowing season.

If gas was just simple hydrocarbons, I might doubt the need for Stabil, but there are lots of other stuff in there that are less stable, in addition to ethanol, so I would always go with Stabil for 6 months or more of storage.

I have repaired many small engines that failed to start in the spring and find that the fuel has left a gummy film in the carburetor that plugs up the jets. A small wire and a shot of carb cleaner is usually all that is needed. 50 years ago that was not a problem. Fuel treated with Stabil seems to often eliminate the problem but not always. I recently serviced a neighbors 3 year old mower that had a Stabil additive in the gas cap that was replaced every year and the owner said it started on the first or second pull of the rope without fail since new. Results vary but I am quite convinced that the product is worth the price. But what is lacking in fuel today compared to 50 years ago?

Precipitation is real.
Sta-bil helps to prevent it.

As long as you have gasoline, you can have Sta-Bil in it. The fuel might still go bad in a number of years, but cars have been started after being parked for years with the same fuel in them. Guinness Book doesn’t have a world record on that.

I just started my motorcycle about a week ago for the first time since Oct. It was stored using Stabil and started just like it had fresh gas in it. Years ago I didn’t use Stabil in it and always had problems starting it after just sitting for 1-2 months. I know it’s worth the small extra cost.

Some years ago I had an 82 Ford van which I’d inherited. I drove it for a while until the problems it had mounted up to where I parked it and resolved to eventually do something with it. It had maybe 1/4 tank of gas in it when parked. Two years later at the urging of the manager of the apartment complex that I lived in, I had to move it or lose it. I put a battery in it, turned the key, and it started up in under 10 seconds of cranking. It idled and ran fine, and this was with a carbureted engine. No Sta-bil or other additive was used.

Getting it to actually move was a different story, since the transmission was mostly shot.

I’m with The pro stabil group., I’ve seen what happens with and without stabil. Stabil does protect fuel and prolong the period until the fuel turns to stinky, brown laquer smelling gelled goo. Whether it is a sealed or unsealed unit, all gas will go bad eventually. If you had a motor that had gas sit in it and didn’t go bad after a year, consider yourself lucky, and eventually your luck will run out, and you will be singing the brown stinky, gelled up gas blues.

Back in the 70s and 80s, I worked in a lawnmower and snowblower repair shop.

When customers would bring in their snowblowers for a fall tuneup, if it had last year’s gas in it, we would very frequently find the old fuel in the carb had turned to a liquid varnish (thick and smelly with a film on the jets), or a solid varnish. The only thing that would remove this varnish was leaving the carb in a soak tank with commercial carburetor cleaner. No type of gumout spray would even touch it.

It was interesting to note that the customers who left the fuel in their lawnmowers over the winter only experienced stale fuel, and did not experience any varnish. My “unofficial” theory at the time was that the summer heat was harder on the fuel sitting in the carb bowl than the moderate winter temps were. This was in Massachusetts.

If you had a motor that had gas sit in it and didn’t go bad after a year, consider yourself lucky”

Some brands or batches of gas sold might contain an additive similar to Sta-Bil.
That would account for some people doing OK without adding Sta-Bil.

I’ve had to remove carburetors from lawn mowers several times in the spring to clean them before I started using Stabil.

I had drained the gas in my generator and run the gas out of the carb but carb was still all varnished up. A couple of days with Sea Foam though and it was salvaged. I had trouble with my rider a couple years ago too and went through two carb rebuilds. Now all I use is non-oxy gas but went with the Briggs and Stratton stabilizer year round. So far haven’t had any more problems. So yes you need to use some kind of stabilizer for storage these days.