What You Can Do to Prevent Ethanol Fuel Problems in Your Car

If you have a car that you don't use often and keep parked for long periods, then it is necessary for you to look after its engine. Most manufacturers make fuels according to seasons by attempting to blend them with the prevailing temperature or moisture conditions. The objective is to optimise the performance of the car regardless of seasonal challenges like very low winter temperatures. By being stored for long periods, fuel can easily find itself in unsuitable conditions, damaging some components in the engine. Here are a few things you can do to prevent ethanol fuel problems in your car during prolonged storage.

Ethanol Resistant Fuel Tank and Hoses

Ethanol is one of the chemical compounds used in most fuels. Since the engine relies on combustion, ethanol is used for its flammable attributes. Notably, ethanol absorbs and attracts water and moisture within its surrounding. Therefore, there is a high risk of water finding its way to the fuel leading to a condition called phase separation.

Here, the ethanol absorbs moisture to a point where it falls out of the fuel mixture and sinks to the bottom of the fuel tank. The resulting ethanol-water mixture decomposes further to form corrosive hydroxides, notorious for damaging ordinary fibreglass, rubber and plastics hoses. Before storing the car, replace your fibreglass tank with a stainless steel tank and go for ethanol resistant hoses over ordinary rubber and plastics.

Ethanol Compatible O-Rings

Due to the relative motion of the car, the engine's fuel injector must be sealed using an O-ring to stop leaks effectively. This means that the O-ring comes into contact with the fuel and could be damaged by the chemical decomposition of the ethanol. Thankfully, you can get after-market, ethanol compatible rings that will stand up to the corrosive effect of the decomposing ethanol to prevent fuel leaks throughout the storage period.

Fuel Treatment

Besides the techniques discussed above, you can go for fuel treatment to prevent the chemical reaction sparked by the presence of ethanol in the fuel. A good fuel treatment solution should give precedence to the water absorption problem associated with ethanol since it is the cause of the other problems. The best way fuel treatments do this is by keeping ethanol levels down, meaning that alcohol-free treatments are generally the best. Before buying, go through the contents of the fuel treatments to ascertain if they have any alcohol in them by looking out for any ingredients that end with the suffix "ol".