Aluminum Auxiliary Fuel Tank Buying Guide for 2022

The average light pickup truck uses consumes around 660 gallons annually. If you frequently use your truck for work or play, you probably burn through more fuel than average. Heavier pickup trucks guzzle even more fuel each year. With these realities, running low on fuel isn't surprising. But when your clients count on you for timely service and delivery, you can't afford delays. An auxiliary fuel tank is an ideal solution to this common problem. It's like a portable mini filling station installed right onto your truck — a lifesaver when you're on a tight schedule and no place to fill up.

Why Use an Auxiliary Fuel Tank

With your fuel consumption habits, you're more likely to need regular fillups. But what if you're on a long stretch of road with no filling station in sight? Schedule delays make things even worse. Maybe your cargo wasn't ready when you needed to load it, or you're facing road issues such as traffic stops or major accidents. These can certainly slow you down. And when the needle edges too close to 1/4 tank, you have a decision to make. Do you push it and risk running out or stop to fuel up anyway and take a chance of being late?

Sounds like a hard choice, right? But with an auxiliary fuel tank on your truck, it's a choice you don't have to make. Auxiliary fuel tanks can carry an extra 30 to 90 gallons of fuel, ready to use when you need it. No filling station within 50 miles? No worries. You don't have to run on fumes or sacrifice quality service.

Features of Aluminum Fuel Tanks

Aluminum fuel tanks come in many sizes, capacities and shapes. With a wide range of specs plus additional features, you're sure to find a fuel tank that meets your needs. When shopping for your next tank, you should keep some key details in mind:

  • Physical size
  • Fuel capacity
  • Integration with fuel system
  • Available accessories

Fuel tanks typically measure between 45 and 60 inches across, so it's easy to find a model that your truck bed's width can accommodate. While tank capacities range from 30 to 90 gallons, most are in the 40- to 60-gallon range. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, light trucks average about 18 MPG. Depending on your truck's fuel economy, that extra fuel can net you a few hundred more miles before you must stop for a fillup.

Factory Fuel System Connection

Size and capacity are critical to your choices, but you must also consider how your new tank can or will connect with your truck's fueling system. Many models link up to the fuel system through the filler neck hose. Some tanks come with the requisite clamps and hoses for installation, but you may need to purchase these separately. Diesel tanks often use gravity feed systems to transfer fuel to the vehicle's tank. Keep in mind that an electric fuel pump may also be required if your truck uses gasoline.

Materials and Construction

As you shop for an auxiliary fuel tank, you may see other accessories and features. Many are constructed from corrosion-resistant diamond-plate aluminum, but you may also notice steel models on the market. Fully-welded seams offer leak protection, while internal baffles minimize internal fuel movement and sloshing. You may also encounter tanks with built-in fuel gauges.

Fuel Tank/Tool Box Combos

Some auxiliary fuel tanks are actually fuel tank/tool box combos. These units allow you to keep extra fuel on hand plus safe storage space for your tools. They share many features with regular auxiliary tanks plus others like locking tool box lids and gas-filled lift cylinders that keep the lid open while in use.

Which Aluminum Auxiliary Fuel Tank Is Right for You?

Thanks to the broad selection of auxiliary fuel tanks on the market, you're sure to locate one perfect for your rig. But how do you choose the best model? Again, you must ensure that any fuel tank's features deliver the most bang for your buck.

Design and Materials

At the bare minimum, you must consider a fuel tank's materials and construction. As mentioned previously, diamond-plate aluminum is the industry standard. Corrosion resistance is critical to avoid losing fuel or facing a fire hazard. Pressure-tested tanks with internal baffling are also standard-issue on most tanks, so avoid the temptation to buy a cheaper tank without these features. Pay attention to each fuel tank's feed method. If your rig uses gasoline, you cannot use a gravity feed system — you must have an electric pump. But if you're driving a diesel-fueled truck, gravity feed is perfectly fine.

Size and Capacity

Size and capacity are the most critical specs to look at. Buying a 60-gallon tank that's 60 inches wide doesn't make sense if your truck bed only measures 50 inches across. You'd be better served with a smaller model — a 40-gallon tank that's 48 inches wide, for instance. If you're driving a 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 with a standard box truck bed, the 48-inch tank will definitely fit. Assuming you get a combined 19 MPG out of your 1500, 40 gallons can help you travel up to 760 additional miles. You wouldn't push your luck that far, but at least those 40 extra gallons can help you reach your destination on time.

Your Road-Ready Insurance Policy

For most truck owners, an auxiliary fuel tank is standard equipment. Whether you drive for business or recreation, you can't afford to hit the road without the extra fuel it holds. You may feel a little overwhelmed by all the available choices. However, your needs should guide you as you shop for a tank. Select a model with a fuel feed style compatible with your truck. Pay attention to what's in the package — some models come with installation hardware while others do not. Finally, consider your driving habits to determine the appropriate size/capacity to buy. Don't forget that the pros at Leonard Accessories can help you pick the right fuel tank for your rig.

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