Watch Out For These 5 Symptoms Of Bad Gas In A Motorcycle


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If your motorcycle ends up sitting for a long period of time, you may go to start it just to realize that you have gas inside the tank that has gone bad. If this is the case, it’s possible the motorcycle won’t even start. Are there any other symptoms of bad gas in your motorcycle? 

What are the symptoms of bad gas in a motorcycle? The symptoms of bad gas in a motorcycle include poor fuel efficiency, difficulty starting the motorcycle, a strong or rancid odor coming from the fuel tank and/or fuel system, black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, and decreased engine power.

Most people who own a motorcycle can’t really ride it year-round. Depending on where you live, winter can be a very hard time to ride a motorcycle. The roads can be icy and/or snowy which can make riding your motorcycle dangerous. Even if there isn’t snow and ice, riding your motorcycle in cold weather can be miserable. Additionally, if you live somewhere where it rains quite a bit, you may avoid riding during the especially rainy seasons. 

For these reasons or any other reason, your bike may sit without being ridden. That means that your unused gas is sitting in the tank. This can also muck up other components in your fuel system as well. So, how quickly can gasoline go bad and how can you tell if you have bad gas in your motorcycle? Let’s find out.

Symptoms Of Bad Gas In A Motorcycle

A motorcycle can be a thrilling way to get around, whether you’re commuting to work or taking a leisurely ride through the countryside. However, like any vehicle, a motorcycle can experience issues with bad gas that can affect its performance and cause a range of symptoms. In this article, we’ll discuss the symptoms of bad gas in a motorcycle and how to address this problem.

One of the most common symptoms of bad gas in a motorcycle is poor fuel efficiency. When the gas in your motorcycle is contaminated or degraded, it can cause your motorcycle to use more fuel than usual, resulting in decreased gas mileage. This can be frustrating for riders who are used to getting good gas mileage and aren’t used to paying as much for fuel.

Another symptom of bad gas in a motorcycle is difficulty starting the engine. If your motorcycle is struggling to start or won’t start at all, it could be due to old or bad gas clogging up the fuel system. Stale fuel can also cause your engine to run rough or stall, which can ultimately put you in a dangerous situation if you’re riding out on the road.

Other symptoms of bad gas in a motorcycle include a rancid odor of gasoline, black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe, and a decrease in engine power. In some cases, bad gas can even damage your motorcycle’s engine which can be expensive to repair.

If you suspect that your motorcycle has bad or old gas, it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. The first step is to drain the old gas from your tank and replace it with fresh fuel. You may also need to clean your motorcycle’s fuel system, including the carburetor and fuel lines, to ensure that no residue or contaminants are left behind.

In addition to addressing the issue of bad gas, it’s also important to take steps to prevent this problem from happening in the future. This can include using high-quality gas, adding a stabilizer to your gas, storing your motorcycle properly, and performing regular maintenance on your bike’s fuel system.

How To Test Motorcycle Gas Before Starting It

As a motorcycle owner, it’s important to ensure that the gas you put into your bike is of good quality. Bad gas can cause a range of issues, including decreased fuel efficiency, difficulty starting the engine, and even damage to your motorcycle’s engine. Fortunately, there are several ways to test motorcycle gas before starting it to ensure that it is of good quality. Let’s discuss some of the best ways to test your motorcycle gas before starting your engine.

The first and easiest way to test your motorcycle gas is to smell it. Gasoline has a distinct odor, so if you smell a strong or unusual odor aside from the usual smell, it may be a sign that your gas is bad. In this instance, it’s best to drain the old gas from your tank and replace it with fresh gas.

Another way to test your motorcycle gas is to visually inspect it. Acceptable fuel should be clear and free of debris or contaminants. If you notice sediment or debris in your gas, it may be a sign that your gas is bad. It’s also possible for stale gas to form a gummy residue which can ultimately cause blockages.  There shouldn’t ever be a gummy substance in your fuel tank.  This is a sure sign that it’s time to drain and replace the gas in your motorcycle fuel tank.

A more accurate way to test your motorcycle gas is to use a fuel test kit. Fuel test kits are available at most auto parts stores and can test your gas for a range of contaminants, including water, ethanol, and other impurities. These kits are easy to use and can give you a more accurate picture of the quality of your gas.

Finally, if you are still unsure about the quality of your gas, you may want to take your motorcycle to a professional mechanic. A mechanic can perform a range of tests to determine the quality of your gas and can also inspect your fuel system for any issues.

What To Do If The Gas In A Motorcycle Has Gone Bad

If the gas in your motorcycle has gone bad, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent damage to your motorcycle’s engine and to ensure that it runs smoothly and reliably. Bad gas can cause a range of issues, including difficulty starting the engine, decreased fuel efficiency, and damage to your motorcycle’s fuel system.

The first step to take if the gas in your motorcycle has gone bad is to drain the old gas from your tank. This can be done by disconnecting the fuel line and draining the gas into a container. It’s important to dispose of the old gas properly, as it can be hazardous to the environment. Once the old gas has been drained, you should also remove and clean your motorcycle’s fuel filter to ensure that no debris or contaminants are left behind.

After draining the old gas, it’s important to replace it with fresh gas. When adding new gas to your tank, it’s a good idea to add a fuel stabilizer, which can help prevent the gas from going bad in the future. You may also want to consider using a higher-octane gas, which can improve the performance of your motorcycle’s engine.

In addition to replacing the gas in your motorcycle, it’s also important to clean your motorcycle’s fuel system. This can include cleaning the carburetor, fuel lines, and/or fuel injectors to ensure that no residue or contaminants are left behind. Click here to learn how to clean a motorcycle carburetor without removing it.  If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you may want to take your motorcycle to a professional mechanic.

Finally, to prevent bad gas from occurring in the future, it’s important to store your motorcycle properly. This includes storing it in a cool, dry place and using a fuel stabilizer if the motorcycle will not be used for an extended period of time.

How Long Does It Take For Gas To Go Bad In A Motorcycle?

Gasoline can go bad over time, especially when exposed to air, heat, and other contaminants. This is especially true for motorcycles, which often have smaller gas tanks and may sit unused for extended periods of time. But how long does it take for gas to go bad in a motorcycle, and what can you do to prevent it?

The short answer is that gas can start to go bad in as little as a few weeks, depending on a range of factors. Factors that can affect the lifespan of gas in a motorcycle include the quality of the gas, the size of the gas tank, and the storage conditions. Additionally, the presence of ethanol to gasoline can cause it to break down more quickly. See how ethanol can impact a motorcycle by reading our other article here.

One of the main signs that gas has gone bad is a strong odor or a cloudy appearance. Gasoline that has gone bad may also contain sediment or debris. If you notice these signs, it’s important to take immediate action to prevent damage to your motorcycle’s engine. Taking these simple yet effective steps in gasoline maintenance will ensure your future rides will be smooth and trouble-free. 

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

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