You may not need to paint that gas tank

September 1, 2011 | By Richard Prince


I need to either restore or replace the gas tank on my 1959 Galaxie Skyliner. I spoke to a few people and they told me to go with a new tank. I can get a brand new replacement but they are all made overseas. If I buy one of these tanks should I seal the inside and paint the outside before I install it on the car? Any advice would be appreciated.


Assuming you use appropriate, high quality products and apply them correctly you certainly won’t be doing any harm to a brand-new gas tank by painting the exterior and coating the interior. Doing so will obviously cost you some time and money but if you expect the new tank to rust then it’s worth protecting it.

But do you expect the new tank to rust? The fact that the reproductions are made overseas understandably gives rise to quality concerns, but that alone is not a guarantee that the new tank will rust. Are the new tanks galvanized after assembly? Will your car be driven on salted roads? Will it be stored in a damp environment? Will it be in dead storage for extended periods of time? Will it be used to launch a boat off a trailer into salt water? All of

these factors will accelerate corrosion of the fuel tank and weigh in favor of investing the time and money needed to paint and coat the reproduction tank.

On the other hand, if the tank is well made and you’re going to store the car in a dry building, drive it regularly, and avoid salted/sanded roads and salt water boat launches it’s probably unnecessary to paint the outside and coat the inside.