Say, you’ve had enough cruising for the year, and it’s time to “park” your boat in the garage. But what about the fuel? Won’t it go bad while sitting idle in the engine? Well, yes, it actually will. Over time, it will deteriorate, and, eventually, evaporate. In the worst-case scenario, the fuel will “gum up” the combustion chamber, causing you one big headache.
Thankfully, all that can be avoided with a fuel stabilizer. It will bond with the fuel and make sure it doesn’t lose its properties while stored away. How long does this formula last, though? Can you add it to the fuel and forget about it? What’s the average “lifespan” of this solution? What to look for when shopping for one? You’ll learn all the answers right here!
The Pros of Using Marine Stabilizers
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of stabilizers before we get to the main topic. The first thing I want to point out is that statistically, most vehicles, boats, and other means of transport usually have at least some fuel left when they’re parked for the season. Now, typically you’ve got two options. You can leave that fuel there unattended and (potentially) harm the engine parts, or drain it. But if you add some of that stabilizer, you’ll be able to save the fuel for later.
Another big pro: a marine fuel stabilizer for boats can keep the motor “in shape”. When not in use for a long time, the engine can get a bit cranky, which results in cold starts or even a misfire. However, when you mix the fuel with the stabilizer formula, that won’t be an issue anymore. Condensation, deposit, and sludge build-up can be eliminated with this solution as well, and fuel contamination is often the cause of poor engine performance and fuel economy.
What to Look for When Buying a Marine Fuel Stabilizer
Alright, now that we’ve talked about the pros of fuel stabilizers, it’s time to check the key factors that set an average-at-best stabilizer from a premium-quality product. Don’t worry: we won’t get into any technical details – just a short-list of the most important aspects to consider. Here they are:
- The right price. Good news: you won’t have to pay a pretty penny for a stabilizer. Right now, the market is overwhelmed by hundreds of different brands. That’s why the price is so low. An eight-ounce container is available for 15-20 US dollars. And if you need a full gallon (maybe your boat’s engine needs lots of it, or you’ve got two boats and a trailer), you’ll be able to get it for $20-30.
- Ease of use/compatibility. There’s nothing hard about pouring this formula into the engine. Still, it would be best if the container was user-friendly and easy to operate with one hand. Another thing to check is how hard it’s gonna be to measure exactly how much of it you’re adding. As for compatibility, look for a stabilizer that was specifically designed for your oil type. That’s right: marine stabilizers for ethanol, diesel, and gasoline are formulated differently.
- The Formula. Did you know that water is one of the main reasons for fuel degradation? That’s right: over time, it accumulates water and loses the original properties. Now, stabilizers are supposed to help avoid that; however, if the solution is mixed with alcohol, I strongly recommend against using it. Alcohol naturally absorbs water, beating the purpose of adding the stabilizer in the first place. And if you live in a cold area, look for winter-formulated additives.
- EPA registration. EPA stands for Environment-friendly; if you see this tag on the container, that means the boat stabilizer is 100% safe to use. The formula won’t harm the user (that’s you) or the environment in any way. That’s pretty much everything there is to know about it.
How Long Do Fuel Stabilizers Last?
Ok, with the introduction, pros, and key aspects out of the way, we can finally answer the big question: How long will marine fuel stabilizer work? Premium-quality stabilizers remain valid, or, rather, stay efficient for two years. However, there’s a catch: there are two types of stabilizers, labeled “Performance” and “Storage”. The first kind aims at providing the best possible engine efficiency.
Performance-oriented marine fuel stabilizers are great at eliminating deposits, sludge, and other impurities within the engine. Sadly, they usually don’t last for 24 months. On average, a decent-quality Performance stabilizer will keep the fuel clean for 18 months, or even less. Storage formulas/solutions, in turn, are all about longevity. So, it’s actually up to you to decide which product is the right purchase for you.