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Most of us don’t give a seconds thought to the various contraptions that make our cars what they are. For a variety of reasons the vehicle seems to be an incomprehensible whole with an incredibly amount of moving parts. Trying to break it down to the basics, this week we’ll be looking at a feature that most of us don’t see at all while we drive: the fuel tank.

Hidden away at the back of our cars, the fuel tank forms an essential role holding our vehicles fuel. Typically part of an engine system, the duel storage system is attached through a fuel pup into the engine compartment. Alternative methods, including a release system, can also be found to pressurize the gas forward.

Depending on the make and model the cars fuel tank can vary quite a bit in size, shape and material. For example certain companies use high-density polyethylene plastic as tank material. These types of containers are typically used for short-term uses as they tend to leak.

Engineers must work very hard to make sure that the tank is durable enough to withstand stress cracking as well as flammable materials. While most of these types of tanks are manufactured, a minor selection can still be made by a master craftsman out of metal. Of the latter category motorcycle as well as certain aircraft must be made in this manner. These are usually made first in model form and later experimented with in order to satisfy their direct use.  As mentioned earlier, high-density polyethylene can sometimes be used in low emission fuels and can be quite malleable.

Vehicles of all nature usually have a protective device attached to the top in order to make sure that nothing-unwanted drops into the canister. Modern vehicles usually have a motorized system or a lock mechanism to provide the greatest security.

In rare circumstances cars may come with reserve tanks. These are secondary fuel tanks that are estimated to contain around 15% of the primary tanks capacity. While there is no standard by which these are structured, many can be found on the backs of modern SUV’s as well as motorcycles.

The fuel tank has quite a complex development. While they are used for a wide variety of circumstances, they form the fundamental backbone of our cars. Next time you fill your vehicle up at the petrol station make sure to remember how that little box of metal helps you drive off into the distance.