How to Clean a Diesel Tank

Written by kenneth w. michael wills
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How to Clean a Diesel Tank
Cleaning your diesel tank will help improve fuel quality. (old diesel tank image by Charles Taylor from

Over time, a diesel fuel tank will accumulate sludge, water, and debris, degrading the performance of and contaminating the diesel fuel. Cleaning the tank on a regular basis, at least once a year, can help prevent such contamination and degradation. A clean diesel fuel tank will result in better performance of the vehicle.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Liquid extraction pump
  • Chemical cleaner for diesel fuel tanks
  • Storage container approved for diesel fuel storage

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  1. 1

    Pump the diesel fuel tank with your liquid extraction pump, or open the drain when the tank is low to remove all remaining fuel. You want to pump or drain the diesel fuel into your storage container for safe storage. If you are unsure how to use your fuel extraction pump, refer to the user's manual.

  2. 2

    Mix your chemical cleaner for diesel fuel tanks according to the manufacturer's instructions and add the cleaner to your diesel fuel tank.

  3. 3

    Pump out all sludge from the tank with your extraction pump and put it into a separate diesel storage container.

  4. 4

    Fill your tank with clean diesel fuel and dispose of the sludge and leftover diesel you removed from the tank. You will need to contact your country government to inquire about proper disposal of diesel fuel and waste. Procedures vary by jurisdictions.

Tips and warnings

  • Improper disposal of diesel fuel can harm the environment, and could result in fines from your county government.

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