Your car’s fuel line can freeze when water vapor in the fuel line freezes. This can prevent the fuel from getting into the combustion chamber. This prevents your car’s engine from running, whether it won’t start, won’t turn over or immediately sputters and stops.
Here are a few tips on how to avoid a frozen fuel line
The simplest solution is to park your car somewhere warm. A garage that is several degrees warmer than outside may be enough to prevent the fuel line from freezing or cause it to thaw out on its own while it is still freezing outside. You can reduce the risk of this happening by heating up the garage.
In some very cold areas, they sell cars you can plug into a block heater. Note that if your car fuel line has frozen, having it towed to a warmer garage and letting it sit will eventually clear the ice blockage. Once it unfreezes enough to be started, run it for a while to melt all the ice and dry out the system; fail to do this and the line could re-freeze when the car cools down again. The odds the fuel line will freeze go up when the gas tank is less than half fuel. This means never letting it get below half a tank reduce the odds of this happening.
A more important way to fight this problem is keeping your car battery charged. If the fuel line freezes, you’ll probably have to start the engine multiple times before it continues to run. Each time it turns over, it gets a little warmer. However, you literally can’t get anywhere if the battery dies. A better tactic is putting fuel additive containing antifreeze into the fuel system. This additive will prevent the fuel lines from freezing, even if the surrounding air is well below freezing. You can use antifreeze to solve a frozen fuel line, too. It doesn’t matter if the gas tank is partially full or almost full. Give the antifreeze twenty minutes to remove the moisture from the system, and then you can try to start the car.
Consider carrying anti-freeze in your car as a backup solution. However, you need to seal it in a moisture-proof bag or it could become the source of new moisture in your car’s fuel lines. Another tactic is running the engine fairly often, though this can waste fuel. If you let the car run while you’re idling, you also prevent the engine from getting cold. Unfortunately, air quality rules may make this illegal in some situations. If your gas tank is almost empty and the fuel lines are frozen, you could add fresh, warmer gas to the system. Just realize that you probably can’t use the equally cold gas in the gas can in the back of your own vehicle for this trick. If you know very cold, wet weather is coming, prepare your car by filling up the gas tank and adding fuel line antifreeze. Just make sure you’re only using antifreeze that is graded for your type of vehicle. What works in a diesel truck could damage a gas-powered SUV.