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How to Tell if Ethanol is Destroying my Vehicle

Posted by: Bell Performance

Here's a fact: Most gasoline that you're pumping into your vehicle these days contains some sort of ethanol concentration, typically 10 to 15 percent. 

ethanol-free-gas-pumpThis has been done in an effort to further reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.

Despite the good intentions that adding ethanol might have, ethanol fuel blends are anything but good for car drivers. Ethanol fuel blends can reduce gas mileage significantly. And ethanol fuel blends can effectively destroy an engine over time, meaning drivers are out more money than ever before to keep their cars running well.

So how can you tell if ethanol is destroying your car? Here's a look:

You're Ponying Up Big Money for Repairs

One caveat – most engines in cars made after 2001 can handle at least 10% ethanol blends without too much problem.  But many of us have vehicles older than that, and for those engines……Bum fuel pumps. Damaged fuel intakes. A dead engine. Yes, ethanol has the tendency to wreak havoc on an older engine, along the lines of clogging fuel pumps with dirt and grime, dissolving fuel intakes and even rendering an engine completely worthless over time if it wasn't initially designed to run on ethanol-blended fuels. So if you're ponying up thousands in engine repair costs, you may have ethanol to thank for it.

Rough Starting and Poor Running

Is your car having trouble starting? Is it running poorly? Ethanol may be the culprit. Ethanol has a tendency to attract water from the surrounding environment and pull it into the fuel mixture. And water and fuel don't go together. It can also cause rust in the fuel system.

So if ethanol is destroying your engine, what can you do? For starters, you can fuel up at a station that doesn't offer any ethanol fuel blends to ensure you're only putting the purest fuel into your vehicle. But that's not always convenient. What is convenient, and inexpensive, is administering a fuel additive into your gas tank. A good additive will essentially take the ethanol out of the fuel mixture, ensuring the fuel is of the best quality.

Let's recap the ways ethanol can effectively destroy your automobile:

  • A sharp reduction in mpg
  • Rough starting
  • Poor running
  • Engine damage

Don't mess with ethanol; instead take measures to make sure that it isn't an issue when it comes to your vehicle. It might cost a little bit now to purchase fuel stabilizing products like fuel additives, but doing so can save you big money in the long run.

What You Need To Know About Today's Ethanol Fuels

Photo Credit / Creative Commons / Image Cropped

This post was published on April 11, 2014 and was updated on April 15, 2021.

Topics: Cars and Light Trucks, Ethanol, Car Care