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Safety Fuel Cell Facts 

What is a Fuel Safe Safety Fuel Cell?

Safety Fuel Cells were developed in the 1960s for race cars that, until their advent, had no protection in a crash from a fuel fed fire. Since Fuel Cells were first used the driver’s odds of survival, in a crash, have been greatly increased. A Safety Fuel Cell consists of four main component parts that in total give the vital protection necessary in today’s competitive high speed racing.

    • The Cell starts with a bladder (bag tank) which is the core of the system. The bladder is the flexible, extremely strong, fuel container that prevents fuel spillage in the event of an accident. Made from high tensile strength elastomeric components and engineered to withstand the fuel’s chemical attack, the bladder is the first line of defense in a crash.
    • Foam Baffling inside the bladder has several functions. While displacing a very small amount of fuel, the Foam prevents sloshing of the fuel. By preventing sloshing the Foam keeps the fuel de-aerated which improves fuel delivery and also insures constant delivery of fuel to the pickup. A secondary benefit the foam affords is its ability to prevent flash back explosions. And finally the foam holds the bladder in shape, important with a flexible bladder.
    • The Fill Plate provides the opening to fill the Cell. It usually contains the fittings for the vent, outlet and return. This important component provides no-spill rollover protection while being engineered to integrate with the bladder for the maximum strength and security.
    • The final component is the container (can). This part protects the bladder and provides a way to mount the Fuel Cell in the car. Containers have been made from aluminum, steel, carbon fiber, fiberglass or even a cavity in the body structure. Containers are designed to fit the bladder closely and provide maximum capacity.

While these are the main components of a Fuel Cell, there are many additional parts that may be added to tailor a system to your particular need. Examples of these add-ons are collectors, sumps, reserve tanks, surge tanks, baffles, pumps, dry-breaks, quick fill valves, level senders, filters etc.


Why use a Fuel Safe Safety Fuel Cell?

Using a safety fuel cell in a racing vehicle is no less important than using a helmet or wearing a seat belt. The Fuel Cell is an essential part of making you fast and keeping you safe during competition. A Fuel Safe fuel cell provides its user with a much higher level of performance by keeping the fuel from moving around in the tank and by making sure that every last possible drop of fuel is used. In the event of a shunt or accident, the fuel cell is designed to retain all the fuel even if it’s deformed, rolled over, or directly impacted. At Fuel Safe Systems we hand build in the US the most competitive, safest, and most durable safety fuel cells available on the market today. By using a highly developed proprietary construction process, along with the most technologically advanced materials and workmanship, Fuel Safe continues to set the standard in the racing industry for speed and safety. From NASCAR to drag racing, Sprint Cars to Trophy Truck fuel cells, boats to airplanes and everything in between, if it races, we can… or more likely do… build its fuel cell. That’s the reason Fuel Safe continues to be #1 in racing.


Who’s Using Fuel Safe Products?

Aside from racing, there are any number of other applications for Fuel Safe Systems’ technologies and proprietary processes. We currently manufacture products for aerospace, military, fire and a diverse array of commercial and industrial companies. Our ISO 9001certification is a first in the industry and gives you the confidence of knowing your Fuel Safe fuel cell is built to the most rigorous standards.

We are always working on the cutting edge of materials design to further our capabilities and your safety. Our brand new, state of the art 100,000 sq. ft. facility encompasses a vast array of capabilities including fabrication, welding, machining, assembly, roto-molding, prototyping, lamination, R&D, modeling, engineering, design and production. We stand at the ready to take on any challenge or project while always endeavoring to exceed your expectations. At Fuel Safe Systems no customer or job is too big or too small.


Fuel Safe Fuel Cell Guidelines?

Here at Fuel Safe Systems, we work tirelessly to provide the highest level of quality, performance and durability. Everything we manufacture is built to withstand the extreme demands our customers place on our products.

Safety fuel cells are out of sight so they tend to be forgotten. Fuel cells have a finite life span. The environment can greatly affect the cell’s longevity. The typical lifespan of a fuel cell is between 8 and10 years, although all sanctioning bodies limit use to 5 years from the date of manufacture. By following a few simple guidelines and inspecting your fuel cell on a regular basis, you can ensure that the performance and safety of your vehicle will remain intact.

  • Avoid fuel additives
  • Do not store fuel in the cell for long periods
  • Do not expose the cell to harsh chemicals
  • Do not use solvents on the cell
  • Store your bladder in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight
  • Inspect the interior and exterior of your cell once a year
  • Torque fill plate bolts to 85-90 inch-pounds for synthetic cork gaskets, and 55 inch-pounds for viton gaskets


You owe it to yourself, your crew, your family and your sponsors to stay fast and safe on the track.


State of Washington consumer use tax on Marketplace purchases:

Aircraft Rubber Manufacturing, Inc. dba Fuel Safe Systems is not required to, and does not, collect Washington sales or use tax. Under Washington law, purchases are not tax-exempt merely because a seller is not required to collect Washington’s tax. Washington law requires Washington purchasers to review untaxed purchases and, if any tax is owed, file a Washington use tax return and pay any tax due. Visit the Washington State Department of Revenue website for more information.


Is pump gas ok to run in my fuel cell?

Pump gas is safe to run in our most popular lines of racing fuel cell. 


What is the difference between Race Safe and Enduro?

The main difference between Race Safe and Enduro is that Race Safe does not carry the FIA-FT3 certification, where Enduro is FIA-FT3 certified. The next difference is the Race Safe bladder is black in color and the Enduro is red in color. Besides those reasons, the Race Safe and Enduro lines are identical materials with the same rugged, durable, cost effective valves.


How do I know if my fuel cell is certified?

To determine if your fuel cell is certified you will need to view the fuel cell bladder (this may require you to remove the can lid, or pull the bladder for the cavity the fuel cell resides in). On your fuel cell bladder, if certified, you will find a hologram sticker with a ‘not valid after date of five years from the original manufacture date,’ or seven years total if the fuel cell has previously been re-certified for an additional two years.

For example: if a cell was purchased June 2018, would have a ‘Not Valid After Date’ of June 2023. If the fuel cell has been re-certified previously the Not Valid After Date would be extended out two years to 2025. At that seven year mark the fuel cell is no longer certified or re-certifiable.


How long is foam good for? How do I tell if my Safety Baffling Foam needs replacing?

Longevity of the safety foam baffling depends on the type of fuel used. Generally, fuel cell foam will last about five years if maintained. To determine if your foam needs to be replaced try a pinch-pull test. Take a portion of the foam and pinch/pull it between your index finger and thumb. If the foam is brittle and breaks off in large portions, your foam should be replaced. If your foam stays intact and only sheds small particles, this is normal and should not require replacement. Check your foam at least once a year for the first three years, then twice a year for the following two years, then more frequent the next 5 years.


Why is the type of fuel I use important?

It is important for your Fuel Safe Sales Engineer to know what type of fuel you are running to ensure you’re choosing the correct bladder type. Fuel Safes bladder materials are compatible with different fuels, for example you can run alcohol blends in the Pro Cell bladder but not in the Sportsman. Knowing the type of fuel you plan to run will eliminate choosing the wrong bladder.


What steps do I take to check if my fuel bladder is leaking?

First, perform a visual inspection to see if fuel is weeping out the bottom of the can (through the weep holes). Next, inspect and check that all plates/hardware bolts are tight and properly torqued at 85-90 inch-pounds. If all checks out, you will then need to remove the can lid, or remove the fuel cell bladder, from the fuel cell container and pressure test the fuel bladder- as you would a tire. Use 1/2 psi of air to pressurize the fuel bladder (cap off all fittings but the fitting used to apply air to pressurize) and slowly pour soapy water over the bladder to check for bubbles (leak points). In some cases, you will remove the can lid and visually see that the bladder has aged and is cracked and/or deteriorating and will not need to perform a pressure test. 


If I purchase a cell from another driver and it starts to leak, is it still under warranty?

Regardless of the original purchaser, Fuel Safe cells are covered by a five-year warranty from manufacture date. The customer is responsible for inbound shipping, since we need to have the fuel cell in hand to determine if the leak is a manufacture error.


How much does it cost to re-certify a cell? What’s the process?

Re-certification on universal fuel cells is $150.00, all specialty applications and custom-built cells are $250.00. The customer is required to send in the fuel cell bladder (sending the complete fuel cell is acceptable), once received a Fuel Safe sales rep. will issue an RMA # with notes citing that the fuel cell is inbound for re-certification. Next, a sales rep. will issue an evaluation for re-certification to Fuel Safe’s Production Manager. After the bladder has been evaluated and deemed re-certifiable, the receiving sales rep. will write up a Sales Order for recertification and the fuel cell will then proceed through production to have the appropriate recertification tag applied to the bladder. The process typically takes between three to seven business days, depending on how busy the production floor is.


What’s a ball park number for a custom cell?

Custom cells vary on price. A rough estimate can be from $2,000 to $3000. The customer needs to provide us an estimated capacity, dimensions, and rough idea on required components in order to determine an approximate quote. Key factors in the cost of a custom fuel cell are capacity, geometry, the number of openings, and internals such as fuel pumps, collectors, surge tanks, baffle walls, crossovers, etc. If you would like to have us quote your design, please contact


What’s the lead time for a custom cell?

Custom cells are on a three-week lead time, once a Customer Approved drawing has been released by Fuel Safe’s Production Engineers.


What’s a collector/surge tank?

A collector/surge tank is an optional component you can add to your fuel cell that acts as a catch inside your cell’s bladder. Most of our collectors are plastic boxes with pickup pumps situated inside. These boxes are then fitted with either check balls or trap doors to collect fuel for your pickup pump to draw. By having trap doors or check balls the collector can charge with fuel while you’re driving, or cornering; collecting a specific amount (depending on the size of the collector) to ensure there’s always assessable fuel for your pickup, this prevents fuel starvation. 


How does the HydraMat work? What’s the difference between the rectangular square pattern and the cross? Which is better?

The HydraMat works like a sponge, continuously soaking up fuel so your intake has a constant supply. As long as there’s some fuel in your tank that can interact with the HydraMat eliminating fuel starvation. Even if only a portion of the mat is submerged, the mat will still wick fuel to feed your system’s intake.

The difference between the rectangular and cross shaped mats are that the rectangular shaped mats have more surface area and can fit the footprint of a standard cell well. Cross patterns have less surface area but can fit in cell that is more angular or unique in shape.


Why are cells made to order instead of stocked?

Fuel Safe doesn’t stock fuel cells because once a fuel cell is made and FIA certified, it has a lifespan. Our fuel cells have a five-year life span, with potential to get recertified for an additional two years. By making the fuel cells to order we allow customers to get the maximum out of their cell’s lifespan, instead of losing a few months from a fuel cell sitting on a shelf before it’s purchased.


Do I need a certified fuel cell?

Not all racing series require FIA certification, so it all depends on which class you are racing in. To find out if FIA cells are required check the rules associated with your racing class, or contact the head of the series for details.


How do I become a sponsored driver?

You can submit a proposal to our Sales inbox, then we will contact you if your project fits Fuel Safe’s brand. Please include photos of your project, any social media channels (include insights on audience and reach metrics), race/event schedule of your product, and a letter about you and your project. Please include contact information. Sponsorship requests are taken on a rolling basis.


What length sending unit do I need?

When choosing a sending unit length, you want the probe to be one inch less than the depth of the can. The goal is to have an inch of room between the bottom of your sending unit and the bottom of the fuel cell. Example: your fuel cell has a depth of eight inches. Choose a sending unit with a length of seven inches to fit.