If you have a nitro RC car then one thing that you will constantly need is nitro fuel. The cost of the fuel can add up quite quickly so if you can find it on sale somewhere you may be tempted to buy a bunch of it to save some money, but will it eventually expire?
You would hate to buy a bunch of nitro fuel only to have it expire before you are able to use it but how do you know?
RC nitro fuel does not have an expiration date and it can last for decades if stored properly and in the proper conditions.
Nitro fuel should be stored in a cool dry place in an airtight container to allow it to last for decades. If you store it in a warm place in direct sunlight it will only last a few months before going bad.
For some tips on how to properly store nitro fuel to have it last as long as possible be sure and watch the video below.
How long does RC nitro fuel last?
Now that we know that nitro fuel doesn’t have an expiration date the next thing that many people wonder is how long does it last. I mentioned above that it can last for a few months or a few decades, but can the range really be that big?
RC nitro fuel will actually last multiple decades if cared for properly and many people have reported it lasting for over 30 years when stored properly!
Storing the fuel properly is the big issue with making it last as long as possible. If you leave your nitro fuel sitting on the back deck in the sun and in an open container you might have a month or two before it will start to go bad.
If stored properly it will last much longer! Since storage of nitro fuel is so important we will cover that next.
How do you store nitro RC fuel?
As mentioned above proper storage of your fuel will increase its lifespan by a lot so knowing how you should or shouldn’t store the fuel is vital information.
Your nitro RC fuel should always be stored in a cool dry place and in a container that is tightly sealed. It should also not be anywhere close to an open flame or possible sparking (for obvious reasons).
The most common place that works great for storing nitro fuel is on a shelf in the basement of your home. This will keep it cool and away from sunlight while also protecting it from open flames.
If you live in a place that doesn’t have a basement (such as an apartment, condo, or Arizona) then you should store the fuel somewhere indoors where it will be cooler. Normally a designated shelf in a closet will work well but make sure that it is out of the way enough that it won’t get knocked over and spilled.
Often people store their nitro fuel in the garage and while that is fine for short periods of time, the constantly changing temperatures that are in most garages will shorten your nitro fuel’s lifespan to a few months instead of decades.
How do I know if my nitro fuel is bad?
This is another common question that we hear from people. Maybe you didn’t know you weren’t supposed to store it in the garage and you are wondering if your glow fuel is still safe for you to use it.
The easiest way to tell if your nitro fuel is still good is by looking at its color. If it is still clear then you can still use it. If it has started to change colors or consistency then it has likely gone bad.
If you think the color looks good but you aren’t quite sure then the next easiest way to check the fuel is to put it in your RC car. If your car runs great with no issues then the fuel is fine to use. If however, your RC car starts running really rough or dying regularly then the fuel likely needs to be thrown away and new fuel used.
Running old fuel in your motor shouldn’t damage it if done for a short time so if you start it and try to drive it around only to have it run rough or die then simply shut it off, drain the tank and lines and start with fresh fuel.
Does nitro fuel have a shelf life?
If you normally buy your nitro fuel (glow fuel) from an RC hobby shop you may be wondering if having it sit on their shelves for a long time will make it go bad. After all the last thing you want is for the fuel to go mostly bad on the hobby shop’s shelves and you to get virtually no use out of it!
As long as the nitro fuel isn’t sitting in the direct sunlight then it sitting on the shelf won’t cause it to go bad. Since it is in a sealed container it could sit on the shelf at the store or in your basement for years without going bad.
The biggest enemy of nitro fuel is moisture so as long as the fuel container is sealed, the location has AC, and it isn’t sitting in the sun then it sitting on the shelf for a while won’t hurt it.
The same shelf life is true for after you buy it. As long as you store it properly (mentioned above) your nitro fuel’s shelf life should be many many years.
How long does a tank of nitro fuel last in an RC car?
Now that we have covered how long the fuel will last while it is sitting the next obvious question is how long will it last when it’s in an RC car.
This question is a little ambiguous as it could mean how long will it last when the car is running and could also mean how long can you leave the nitro fuel in the tank.
We will answer both of these questions in this section.
A tank of nitro RC fuel will last approximately 10 minutes before needing refueled but that varies depending on how hard you drive your vehicle, what kind of motor it has, as well as the type of terrain you are on.
Some people have reported getting 20-30 minutes per tank while driving on flat ground and “babying” it but that is the exception rather than the rule.
Now in regards to how long you should leave your nitro fuel in the tank the answer is you really shouldn’t.
Leaving your RC nitro fuel in your tank while it is not being used will shorten the lifespan of your RC car and will make the startup next time more difficult.
If you are planning on not using your RC car for a while then draining the tank and running the fuel out of the lines is always the best course of action. If you leave the fuel in your RC vehicle while it isn’t being used it will almost always draw moisture which will cause the fuel to go bad.
Hopefully this article has answered all of your questions about RC nitro fuel (glow fuel) in regards to whether it expires, how long it lasts, and where you should store your nitro fuel at.
RC racing is a great hobby and using nitro RC cars makes the hobby even more lifelike but there is some work involved since you are dealing with real fuel and not just batteries.
If you are in need of some nitro fuel and can’t find it locally you can pick some up on Amazon by clicking here. Not only does Amazon sell steady mixed nitro fuel but they sell the ingredients to make your own as well.