Nitro fuel

Can Nitro Fuel Go Bad? (Hint: Not What You Think!)

Can Nitro Fuel Go Bad?

If you haven’t used your nitro fuel in a long amount of time and want to start using it again, something that you might be wondering is if the fuel went bad. You might be wondering if nitro fuel goes bad in the first place. I personally use my nitro fuel rather quickly, so I honestly didn’t really know if that can happen or not, but I decided to do some research in order to give you guys the correct answer!

And the answer is yes, nitro fuel can go bad, but it’s going to depend on several factors, including if it was stored in a cool, dark place, the nitro % of the fuel, and the additives of the fuel. It will also depend on how much time the fuel has been sitting unused.

Thankfully, if you suspect that your fuel has gone bad, then there are a few things that you can do in order to save it. I have a few acquaintances that have reportedly restored old nitro fuel.

How To Know If Your Nitro Fuel Went Bad.

The main indicator of nitro fuel gone bad is its appearance. Typically, nitro fuel is clear. If this is the case with your nitro fuel, then the fuel is good to go most likely. However, if the nitro fuel looks cloudy, then that might mean that the fuel is unusable. To truly confirm that the fuel is gone bad, you need to warm up the cloudy fuel to any temperature over 25c. If the cloudiness goes away when the fuel is warmed up, the fuel can be used, but if the cloudiness does not go away, then the fuel is unusable most likely.

Another way to know if the fuel went bad is if the nitro fuel’s color changed, something that generally happens when you leave it in direct sunlight for an extended period of time. If you remember how colorful the fuel was when you originally bought it, contrast it to its color right now. Has the color changed in any way? if it did, then the fuel might have suffered some degradation, which might be slight or severe depending on how long the bottle has been exposed to the sun.

Generally, the less colorful the fuel, the more it has degraded. Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t use it at all, but the fuel might not generate as much energy as before. If the fuel has degraded a lot, the fuel’s color could have even turned black!

It is also important to check if the bottle has less fuel than before it was stored. If this is the case, then chances are that part of the nitromethane inside the bottle has evaporated, especially if the container was left on direct sunlight. This does not necessarily mean that the fuel is unusable though, but its simply not going to provide as much punch when accelerating your car.

What To Do If Nitro Fuel Goes Bad

So if already confirmed that your fuel is bad, then there are a few things that you can do to save at least part of it. these include:

  • Mix A Small Part Of The Fuel With New Nitro Fuel: Even if there’s the chance of the fuel not igniting by itself, it will most likely ignite when mixed with a new bottle of fuel. Simply mix a small part of the old fuel in a quart of new fuel, and refill your RC car. The performance might suffer slightly, but this is a well-known way of using fuel that has significantly degraded.
  • If The Fuel Remains Have A Dark Or Black Color, Simply Add Nitromethane And Methane: As I said above, one of the ways to know if nitro fuel has degraded is if it’s black. This black color is simply concentrated oil that accumulates due to the evaporation of certain components in the mix. If the black mix isn’t too gooey or viscous, then you can simply re-add the ingredients that have evaporated, namely nitromethane and methane. Basically, you are doing your own fuel mix, but without buying the oil. Click this link if you want to learn more about making your own fuel.
  • If The Fuel Has Lost A Bit Of Color But Is Clear, Add Nitro: If your fuel looks clear but a little bit discolored, this most likely means that the fuel mix has lost some nitromethane. To remedy this, I would add pure nitromethane from a nearby hobby shop, and mix it with the existing fuel mix. This will ensure that the fuel regains the nitro lost over time.

How To Properly Store Nitro Fuel For Long Term Storage

Improper storage will probably affect your fuel, especially long term, so if you are thinking of storing away nitro fuel for future use, then follow these recommendations so that you don’t lose it to degradation.

  • Store The Nitro Fuel In A Thick Metal Container: The number one recommendation is using a metallic bottle or container in general. This is because of several reasons. This first one is that a thick metal container will protect the liquid against the sun’s UV rays, which contributes to nitro fuel degradation. The second one is that when compared to plastic bottles, metal ones do not let as much moisture pass through. Water is another factor that contributes to fuel degradation, and metal does a good job of keeping that out. The third reason is that metal is obviously much more resistant to impacts and punctures when compared to plastic, which can easily break with even the smallest of impacts.
  • Avoid Exposing The Container To Hot Temperatures: Constant heat is one of the main causes of degradation in nitro fuel, and because of this, it’s important to make sure the container rests in a cool, dry, and dark place. Room temperature is okay, but a little bit colder is fine too. Just make sure you don’t store it in a refrigerator or freezer. Also, avoid keeping the bottle in places where it can be reached by sunlight.
  • Make Sure The Container Is Devoid Of As Much Air As Possible: Air is also one of the factors that contribute to fuel degradation over the long term, so if possible, try to make sure the container is filled up to the top.

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