A recent article has come out where a reader of the column asks what can be done to fight the ongoing issues with ethanol. The columnist hit it on the head when he told the reader to not only use a quality fuel stabilizer but also to fill the gas tank up to 95% full. This advice is pure gold.
When the end user reads his/her owner’s manual regarding storage or even prolonged sitting between uses, the manual suggests to drain the gas and run the machine dry. Why bother with this? The manufacturer is just trying to cover their backside and keep most customers equipment out of the repair shop. Is there an alternative to doing this as it seems like a lot of work? Of course there is!
The simple answer is to use a good fuel stabilizer like Ethanol Shield in the fuel at all times. Ethanol Shield will prevent the fuel from going bad as well as keep the fuel system clean and get rid of the water in the fuel.
But let’s get back to the great suggestion for the columnist; fill the gas tank/can 95% full. Why would someone want to do this? It is all about condensation. The easiest way to explain this to use a drink can. Once the can is removed from the refrigerator it starts to sweat. This is condensation. The air inside the gas can/tank has moisture in it. When it comes into contact with the cooler air in the tank or even the fuel itself, the water will condense. The ethanol in the gas will absorb this water to a certain point. Once the ethanol reaches a certain saturation point, a chemical process call phase separation happens. This is when the water and ethanol both fall out of the gas and sinks to the bottom of the tank.
Now the problems really accelerate. The ethanol/water mixture becomes very corrosive and will eat fuel system components. Once this happens, carburetors and other parts need to be replaced. This can cost a lot of money.
Another issue that ethanol blended fuel has on fuel systems is that it dries out rubber and plastic parts. This is why fuel lines get hard and brittle. This will happen even on equipment that is used every day like a landscaper mower.
The columnist does give one piece of bad advice and that is to go to a local airport and get their high octane fuel that does not contain ethanol. The only type of equipment that should use high octane fuel are those that require it due to high compression engines. High compression engines that use low octane will suffer from pinging noises, pre-detonation (sounds like a diesel engine), and it will destroy an engine quickly. Using high octane fuel in regular engines is not going to get increased performance. It can be akin to me eating prime rib instead of hamburgers. Prime Rib may taste better, but hamburgers are all that I need.
Again, what can be done to stop this from happening? The simple answer is to use Ethanol Shield in all of the equipment all of the time. It will protect against all of the ethanol issues from dried lines to stale fuel. Keeping Ethanol Shield in the fuel at all times is highly recommended as one never knows when the last time the equipment will be used. And remember to keep the tank 95% full to reduce the amount of condensation.
If you would like to read the article itself, here is the link.