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Hagerty Employee

Is your fuel stabilizer actually hurting your car?

Putting your beloved ride away for the season and enduring months of watching it sit in place, wishing you could just go for a drive, is an unfortunate reality of winter vehicle storage. Worse is the notion that your careful storage prep routine includes a common misstep that will set you up for a bad experience come springtime. That’s exactly what FortNine digs into with this latest video about fuel stabilizers ... 


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Advanced Driver

It's not the snow that keeps my old cars under cover, it's the crappy salt mix that they spread on every street here in the midwest.

I used Sta-Bil in my recently bought Model A and left the tank low, thinking I'd install the new fuel gauge, sediment bowl, and redo the fuel lines. I didn't touch it.

The engine is a 260 Falcon V-8 and electric fuel pump with Michigan gas in it.

Here in Illinois they make that corn fuel additive.

New Driver

I run 100 Low Lead aviation fuel in my rod, & I don’t have any fuel storage issues...

yes, it’s a little more expensive & you can’t use it with anything that has a catalytic converter,

but the carb & fuel lines stay clean & doesn’t attack rubber lines or gaskets..



The old sealed beam conversion on a 1930 A Standard Coupe. 


Intermediate Driver

THANK YOU! Thank you so much Hagerty for finding this video. I think it can be a helpful tool in preventing rust and crud build up in our gas tanks. But the best protection is ethanol FREE gasoline. Use it, or loss it. 

Intermediate Driver

And by the way. This is another very good reason to get rid of ethanol gasoline.


I have been sold on K100 for years. A representative for the company did a demonstration for me where he added K100, Sta-Bil and Power Service to individual glass vials. He filled each halfway with tap water. He put a wick in each and lit them. K100 was the only one to burn dry. The others all still had water in them. K100 is a little more expensive, but well worth it. Eliminating the water in your fuel system also reduces algae growth which creates its own problems. 


Good article that clears up a lot of confusion.  Here in Michigan, where fluctuating temperatures cause condensation - not to mention, excessively long winters -- I use StaBil 360 Marine with no problems over the years. Store the car with a full tank of premium -- starts right up in the spring. 


Best thing to do is run your vehicle out of fuel and put in a few gallons of av-gas from the airport. Most small airports have self service pumps. Some sell mo-gas, (non ethanol for planes) also. Cures all the the storage issues of auto pump gas. 

Pit Crew

What we need is a scientific test done by someone experienced in this field. Not by an amateur w/o that proper experience & education.


I pay Hagerty a bunch of money to protect my 6 classics. I fault them for just hyping this "test" instead of giving us proven FACTS that withstands peer review. Come on guys, you have the budget, use it to give us decent advice!


btw...I live in southern Calif. Impossible to get real gasoline w/in hundreds of miles!?@?~!


Do yourself a BIG favor. Look into (and use) Ethanol Defense from Bell Performance ( I won't go into the details here, but check it out.

New Driver

I throw in a bottle of Octane booster plus Stabil when I put my car away for the winter. It seems to help when I start it up and drive it every 6-8 weeks when we get a decent day above freezing.  

Advanced Driver

Have used Stabil for many years. I usually mix up a 5 gallon can in the fall (now for eastern USA) and run all of my lawn and garden equipment on it.

Also, have always treated my boat fuel with it. One of the biggest problems in marine fuel is clearly (what the marina guys call) corn in the gas tank. I have had the water separation and "silt" that looks like fine brown in a 1986 Carver yacht that sat in the slip and was rarely used (much) for several years. What a nightmare! Two 100 gallon tanks and 2 Q-jets on GM 350's.

It is hard to overstate the damage done due to fuel contamination/ degradation related to "corn in the tank". And that extreme case was WITH Stabil in the fuel for years.

My biggest caution would be to follow the directions as far as fuel treatment. This is a case where I think "more is better" can possibly be a problem. Any chemical engineers out there to help prove or debunk this concern? 

Intermediate Driver

Living in Ontario, Canada, means storing our classics for 6 months. I've used premium to avoid the ethanol in every engine except my daily driver. I took a small engines course two years ago and the instructor said he's worked on many engines with carb issues while using Stabil too. He advised using the expensive stuff, Briggs and Stratton, and I forget the 2nd brand he said (maybe BG products). I totally agree that it's kinda absurd that we are still forced to burn ethanol unless we buy premium. I leave my tanks full before storage, lawnmower and snowblower start 1st or second pull every season. I also run a couple liters into car before filling the gas can to run out the regular gas that is in the hose. 

New Driver

I have a 96 Olds Cutlas Supreme coupe with the 3.1 L V6. I stored it for the winter but forgot to put stabilizer in the tank. Now it won't start. Everything looks normal and it it makes good strong turnover sounds, but it won't catch, not at all. I suspect it's the fuel system. Should I add stabilizer now or is it too late?
New Driver

Hi everyone... FYI.. I worked a long time for a very large oil co. The company was always concerned about customers adding anything at all into their fuel products and if a problem occurred and additives were found in the fuel, warranty was out the window.

Now, getting down to some specific details. With regards to diesel, in summer this produce is prone to develop a microbial growth if water is present. On physical inspection it will look like black slime. Condensation inside steel storage tanks is always a problem, especially for truckers and farmers who have private tanks. Water if found at the bottom of a tank must be removed otherwise this slime will grow. If fuel usage is moderate to high through these types of tanks, I would not recommend using any additives, because if something mechanical goes south in an expensive machine, fuel manufacturer warranty will be voided and I know from the experience of some who went through this, you don't want that to happen to you. Always check for water especially during summer / wet periods.

Gasoline is different story. Many people story it in small containers and it can sit unused for many months. That's me today. I've an array of 5 gallon / 20 litre containers on a rural property to fuel quad bikes, generator, water pumps, chainsaws etc..... Some of this equipment is used occasionally and seasonally, so I've got the problem of the octane rating of the gasoline reducing, which will make the fuel less combustible and the device hard to start.

I have a special problem with a portable Chinese made generator that prefers not to start. I've cleaned the carburetor and replaced the Chinese spark plug with NGK and the same type that fits all of our water pumps - that actually made a difference, but now I've got to do something about the fuel in this cheap piece of crap to be sure it will start when I need it. So, I've decided to use STA-BIL in all fuel that I store for our small machines.

Here's another piece of information that might be helpful. Oil companies would not make gasoline containing ethanol if it wasn't regulated by governments. That should tell us something because one thing I know is our major oil co's know how to make really good gas without politicians telling them how to do it. Also, some motor manufacturers actually tell owners not to use ethanol fuels in their engines. EG: I've got a Mitsubishi Triton and inside the fuel cap is states "Use only Unleaded Fuel". That's shorthand for don't use ethanol fuels.

I hope this is helpful..