Aircraft Maintenance: Understanding Fuel Tank Selector Valves 

In an aircraft, the fuel selector valve allows the pilot to choose which tank is feeding fuel to the engine. Your aircraft’s fuel system delivers a steady flow of fuel from the tanks to the engine and are either gravity fed or employ fuel pumps.  

In this article, we’re going to explore preventative maintenance for fuel selector valves, overhaul and repair requirements, and talk a little more about their function when it comes to your aircraft. 

How Does an Aircraft Fuel System Work? 

For most light aircraft, fuel tanks are located inside the wings. According to AOPA, a filler cap on top of the wing allows fuel tanks to be filled and drains on the bottom allow samples to be drawn for inspection.  

Here is a helpful video on how aircraft fuel systems work from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA): 

What is a Fuel Tank Selector Valve? 

According to AOPA, the fuel selector valve allows the pilot to “choose which tank is feeding fuel to the engine. Some systems require you to alternate between ‘left’ and ‘right’ tanks, while others offer a ‘both’ position. Some aircraft might favor one side over the other when ‘both’ is selected; select the appropriate side to rectify any fuel imbalance.” 

A fuel selector valve consists of several components:  

➡️ Body 

➡️ Rotor 

➡️ Seals 

➡️ Shafts 

➡️ Detent springs  

Fuel selector valve

What Repairs Are Needed for a Fuel Selector Valve? 

In general, it’s important to keep an eye on any damage, cracks, or corrosion on your fuel selector valve. Corrosion and wear are everything in the aircraft industry. Ignoring problems or waiting too long to get something checked out can be detrimental to your safety and the condition of your aircraft.  

Here is some preventative maintenance to keep an eye on when it comes to your fuel selector valve: 

⚙️ Check for damage, cracks, or corrosion 

⚙️ Check for leaks  

⚙️ Look for loose fittings 

⚙️ Check to see if it is stiff or binding   

⚙️ Check for fuel smell in the cabin 

There are typically no set requirements for how many flight hours or years you have to overhaul a fuel selector valve. However, because overhaul is based on what condition your fuel selector valve is in, it is even more important to be vigilant about its condition. A general rule of thumb and requirement for some aircraft would be to overhaul at the same time as your engine.  

AAI Services Cessna, Piper, and Beechcraft Fuel Selector Valves 

There’s no part too small when it comes to keeping your landing gear maintained for safe operation. Detailed, thorough, and expert work is required to get the job done the right way. At AAI, we know your ultimate goal is to get your plane fixed so you can fly. That’s why we go above and beyond to help you avoid extra costs by creating repairs and manufacturing the parts on your aircraft that are prone to corrosion and wear, like landing gear components.   

When it comes to fuel selector valve repair and overhaul, AAI has a lot of repair processes in place and holds numerous tech approvals from the FAA. Our repair station might be the only one in the world who can overhaul outside of the manufacturer’s factory. Not to mention, we’ve developed processes that are FAA approved, which means you save thousands of dollars and the risk of a DIY repair.  

We make it easy for you to get the parts you need:  

1. Call AAI  

2. Get a quote  

3. Fix your plane and fly  

Find the parts you need and get back in the air, fast. 

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