Car Gas Tank Replacement – What You Should Know

How do you know if your vehicle needs a gas tank replacement? If it has a leak,  smells of gasoline, or is corroded on the outside or has been sitting for so many years you don’t want to take any chances.

  Well, first off if it’s an antique and barn find, you might want to replace it. When a car sits for a long period of time (newer cars) gas can go bad and clog up the pump, the filter, and the carburetor (older cars) or fuel injectors. 

Fuel Tank Leak

gas tank leak

If it’s been sitting awhile like my wagon had been, the seam that connects the top and bottom part of the tank together may have rusted through and then the fuel leaks/evaporates out of the car. 

You will not see any leak on the ground usually unless it’s a good size hole and gasoline evaporates anyways. Just don’t light a match or smoke cigars/cigarettes near it. (It’s the fumes that burn not the actual fuel which is WHY you don’t smoke at the fuel pumps!)

The Fuel System Parts

If you’re going to replace the gas tank, you should consider buying all these parts at once. This way if they don’t get used, you can return them. 

As always when looking up parts it’s year, make, model and engine size. If you don’t know you can ask the garage or have someone at the dealership run the VIN (vehicle identification number) and it will tell you the engine size. 

You will need …. 

  • Gas tank with seal and ring
  • Gas tank straps
  • Sending unit/fuel pump
  • fuel line clips (sending unit)
  • 2 fuel hoses and clamps (gas neck)
  • Gas neck
  • fuel filter(s) with clips (some cars have more than one)

fuel tank part numberIf that type of vehicle has more than one size tank in it, you will need to find the one you have. I went to the dealer to ask what to look for in order to find the information on it. 

My Ford Taurus wagon (which is 25 years old)  has a number stamped on the tank that they need in order to find the right size.  I had to take that number to the dealer to have them look up the size. 

If someone is doing the work for you, it’s easier to get this stuff ahead of time. I love Rock Auto for this because the parts are spot-on and I find that  they are less expensive.

Yes, you have to pay for shipping, but at least if you plan for the repair, you’ll have everything you need to do it before your scheduled repair. 


    Make sure you run the fuel down towards empty! 


Ask How Long It Will Take

If you have things going on the day that the vehicle is due to be repaired, you may want to find out how long it’s going to take. I usually ask for worse case scenario because sometimes things don’t want to come off, something like a bolt breaks, or the person has a hard time getting the parts in or out.

If its going to be awhile and you have other scheduled things to do, then have someone pick you up at the garage and drop you off when the mechanics/technicians  are done working on the car.


Start Up

The mechanics/technicians at the garage will put fuel in and start the vehicle up and check for leaks. They may have to tighten some bolts if they seem loose or tighten the clamps on the hoses. 

Once everything looks good and there are no leaks you’ll be able to pay them and leave. 

If you bought the parts for someone to put into your car and there are ones that never got used, you should return them. 


I hope this article helped you in some way.  Please feel free to leave a question, comment or suggestion below.  Did you enjoy the article?

8 Replies to “Car Gas Tank Replacement – What You Should Know”

  1. Nice article on how to replace a leaking fuel tank, this is helpful and I had my tank replaced before, thought it was going to remove and replace at once, but some stubborn rusted bolt delayed the replacement.
    very educating piece thanks a lot

    1. Hi Ibrahim,

      Yes, the guys had problems with the bolts being rusty on my repair as well. Before you do any work like that, get a can of PB Blaster. Soak the bolts good wait a few days and they should come right off. My fiance took his antique muscle car apart with that stuff and never busted any screw or bolt.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I always wonderes why you shouldn’t smoke near petrol pumps, not that I do anyway:) I went through a phase of buying old classic sports cars, and remember my mechanic moaning about problems removing parts, and bits falling off lol! I’m into modern sports cars now that are easy to maintain. Though, I would never attempt to remove or fit a new petrol tank, you’ve explained things very well:)

  3. So I have a 2004 Isuzu Ascender, it’s like a Trail Blazer. I have been smelling a little gas since I bought it and I haven’t had success with any mechanic. I appreciate the information because it can be hard to find good information on these types of repairs for older cars and often mechanics can’t be trusted. I think it could very well be the gas tank leaking a small amount. Thanks again.

  4. It can be difficult to detect corrosion inside the gas tank, which may include rust, can cause your car to run poorly – You can check the fuel filter for signs of contaminants – My car had this problem, somewhere I feel it is best to visit a mechanic who can give you an answer as to whether or not your car is due for a new gas tank or other fuel system repair. Thanks for the info….

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