Using Ethanol in Your Fuel Tank and How it Affects Maintenance
There are two different types of ethanol gasoline fuel that you can buy today, one is appropriate for nearly every vehicle and the other is only appropriate for flex-fuel vehicles that are designed to accept it. It’s important to understand what types of fuel you can use in your vehicle and how adding ethanol to your fuel tank can affect maintenance requirements.
What is Ethanol?
It is a refined alcohol that’s around 200 proof. It’s created from corn, wheat, and sugar and burns in fuel tanks just like gasoline, just at lower temperatures. It’s used to fuel many vehicles today and is even used in high-performance race cars to help keep them cooler during extended high-performance operation.
The Two Types of Ethanol Fuel
A common type of gasoline that’s sold today is E10 or gasoline that is made up of 10% ethanol. This mixture works fine in nearly all automobiles today, though many people avoid putting it into their boats when going out onto the water. Ethanol is an efficient fuel and runs just fine when combined with gas at the proper proportions.
The other type of fuel is E85 and this contains approximately 85% ethanol and only 15% gasoline fuel. This runs in special vehicles that are designed to accept the fuel and it’s vital that you make sure your car can take it before you fill up with it. Put E85 into the wrong type of vehicle and you could cause serious engine problems.
Change your Fuel Filter More Frequently
Ethanol is generally good for your fuel system, but it does serve as a solvent that will clear up the gunk in your lines. While this is a positive thing, it means that you’ll have to change your fuel filter soon after making the switch to a blend of fuel that utilized ethanol if you haven’t been using ethanol-infused gasoline up until now. You’ll have cleaner fuel lines and can go back to the regular maintenance cycles for your fuel filter after the initial change, but it’s important to keep this in mind if you’re making the switch after a few years of standard gasoline.
This is a powerful fuel source and a good way to get away from fossil fuels at least partially, but it’s only a positive thing when used properly. Take care to use this fuel according to your manufacturer directions and never put the wrong type of fuel in your vehicle or you’ll risk serious problems.
Speak with the Auto Clinic of Franklin to get more useful tips for the life of your vehicle.