Ethanol’s damaging effects on engines

Source: BY DAVID NORRIS, KTUL Tulsa • Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2016

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Mechanics like Ben Sells with Same Day Automotive in Berry Hill know ethanol well.

Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel derived from corn. It’s supposed to help vehicles’ carbon imprints, but too much of it can be damaging to cars and trucks.

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel were recently recalled because it contained up to three times the amount of recommended ethanol. Ethanol absorbs water, and that water can get into a vehicle’s fuel system, Sells said.

“And that can be damaging to the fuel pump, damaging to the seals and injectors…also, corrosive to the metals,” Sells said.

He said many newer cars have computer systems designed to adjust for higher concentrations of ethanol, but many older cars don’t share that advantage.

“It would be the equivalent of running race fuel in a regular engine,” Sells said.

If you suspect your vehicle has too much ethanol, Sells said start flushing out the old fuel.

“Once you have it flushed and fully removed from your system, then you can tell if any lasting damage will be done,” he said.