Does E85 Damage Engines - Or Injectors Or Fuel Lines?
As someone who already uses E85 flex fuel, or as someone who’s interested in switching to E85, you may have heard a common myth about it. Rumor has it that E85 damages engines, fuel lines, and fuel injectors. This myth is so prevalent that we have a lot of customers and prospective customers ask us if it’s true. So we want to set the record straight.
Does E85 Really Damage Engines, Fuel Lines, And Fuel Injectors?
No. Not in the least bit. That is if your vehicle is compatible with E85 or has the right tune or kit (like an eFlexFuel E85 capability kit). Is your vehicle compatible with flex fuel? E85 is actually safer for your engine than regular gasoline is. E85 flex fuel not only powers your engine but also cleans your engine, fuel lines, and fuel injectors. That’s because E85 contains a high amount of ethanol, up to 83%.
Ethanol is an excellent cleaner. It clears the engine, fuel lines, and fuel injectors of deposits. It's common for deposits to build up in the combustion chamber, fuel lines, fuel injectors, and a few other places within the engine. E85 is such an effective cleaner that some people run about 1 or 2 tanks worth of E85 through their engines instead of using a fuel injector cleaner. A surefire way to ensure that your engine remains clean is to use E85 often (or all the time).
How This Myth Originated A Few Decades Ago
Vehicles produced before 1994 didn't have to be compatible with ethanol-based fuel. That means the stock parts in these cars weren't always "immune" to ethanol. Ethanol can corrode some materials, including some types of:
- Some metals
When a vulnerable material is exposed to ethanol, it deteriorates over time. That can lead to some pretty serious engine damage. Back in the old days (pre-1994), E85 could eat away at some engine components. Most vehicles produced in and after 1994 are immune to ethanol. Since 1994, it has been US federal law that vehicles must be compatible with ethanol. So engine damage caused by E85 hasn't really been an issue since then. Yet, this myth still stuck around. Here are some of the other reasons for the persistent myths about ethanol damaging the vehicle:
- It’s often confused with methanol that is highly corrosive and will eat the plastic parts within weeks.
- It’s often confused with ethanol racing fuels that can have corrosive components.
- It’s often used in vehicles that are not made for it, like normal gas-powered vehicles without a kit.
- Many of the OEM flex fuel vehicles are poorly made and don’t in fact work well with E85. In these cases, the manufacturer quietly recommends (for example by telling the customer at service) not to use E85 because they know that their vehicle can’t run it properly even though they are approved for it because the manufacturer gets federal credits for making flex fuels, no matter how bad they are.
- It has been the interest of big oil to spread false information about fuel that can replace their products.
And, by the way, this is one of many E85 myths. Get the truth on other myths in this article.
You Don’t Have To Worry About Engine & Fuel System Damage With An eFlexFuel E85 Capability Kit On Your Car
Is your vehicle not already compatible with flex fuel? You may be worried about whether E85 is safe to use in your engine when you finally convert to E85. You don't need to look far to find out. All you need to do is ask us! Our technical team has tested a wide variety of vehicles with E85 (and with one of our kits installed). We've also done over 30,000 conversions. Thousands of different vehicles have collectively driven over half a billion miles with the kit installed. So we have a pretty good idea of which vehicles are immune to ethanol.
We don't sell kits for vehicles that have any risk of having issues with E85. You're welcome to contact us to find out which category your vehicle falls into!
If you're looking to convert to E85, you can't go wrong with an eFlexFuel E85 compatibility kit. eFlexFuel E85 capability kits are a tried-and-true solution for those who are looking to convert to flex fuel. An eFlexFuel E85 capability kit takes control of the fuel injection process to make it optimal for E85. It also comes with an ethanol sensor that's connected to your vehicle's fuel line. The sensor monitors the ethanol content in your fuel. The fuel injector signals are adjusted in real-time based on the data sent to the ECM by the sensor. Learn more about how it works here.