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The Freezing Point of Gasoline and Its Effect on Your Car

The Family Handyman logo The Family Handyman 11/27/2019 Harrison Kral
a car covered in snow © Shutterstock/ Dmitry Dven

Winter weather has an impact on more than just the way it feels when you step outside. There are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to winterizing your home and car so that the dramatically dropping temperatures don't have any unwanted side effects. Cold weather can directly impact your car and home, and it's a good idea to be prepared for the changing of the seasons.

Research

But that does not mean that all of the concerns around winterizing your vehicle are worth worrying about. You may have heard before that if you keep less than half a tank of gas in your car during the winter the gasoline could freeze in place and ruin your gas tank. This might seem like a real concern at first, but it falls apart under any further investigation.

Does gasoline freeze?

In order for gasoline to freeze it needs to be held at temperatures of around -100 degrees F. That number will vary depending on the components that make up your gasoline (octane, for example, has a higher freezing point), but the point remains the same. The freezing point of gasoline is so extreme that it's highly unlikely that temperatures in your area would ever drop to the point where gasoline is freezing in your vehicle, and it's even more unlikely that anyone would be driving or want to drive in those conditions.

That does not mean that cold temperatures won't have any negative effects on your gas tank. Condensation can bring water into your gas tank, and if that freezes it can cause a whole host of issues. The cold can also cause gasoline to break down and separate into its components, turning into a useless gel. Diesel fuel has a lower freezing point than regular gasoline, which is why fuel companies typically provide a summer and winter diesel blend.

Winter driving brings with it a lot of legitimate potential problems that it pays to be prepared for. Unless you live in an Arctic tundra, though, you don't really have to worry about your gasoline freezing over.

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