Mechanics Point to Ethanol Damage in Small Motors


Although small amounts of ethanol have been approved for use in all cars, a new problem has afflicted the already-under-fire biofuel: Small-motor damage. Mechanics across the country have begun to speak out about a sharp rise in damage they’re seeing to the motors of boats, lawnmowers, chainsaws and other products that run on small motors.

Ethanol trade groups insist that fuels like E10 have been tested and proven safe, but a growing chorus of mechanics say otherwise, pointing to a gummy substance in motors created by ethanol. This clogs valves and causes small metal parts to rust, destroying carburetors and other crucial components. Even if you drain the gas from the tank between uses, the residue — which is what does all the damage — will remain.

The same process happens in the engines of cars, but these more sophisticated machines are built to handle a certain amount of the residue that causes so much trouble in smaller motors.

There’s no study to testify the truthfulness of these claims, but if ethanol truly is doing this much damage, then many regions of the U.S. could have problems. It’s already difficult in some states to find gas that doesn't contain ethanol, leaving many people with no choice but to use the potentially damaging blend.

Mechanics See Ethanol Damaging Small Engines (MSNBC)



Totally not true! These are mechanics, not Chemical Engineers... Ethanol doesn't create a "gummy" substance, its closest chemical relative is acetone, a very powerful cleaner! what they are seeing is build up that was already in the engine and being broke up and getting sent down the fuel lines clogging fuel filters and so forth, its not the ethanol, its the gunk already there. They've shown and proved this 1,000 times before already!!!


I agree that ethanol is not good for all of us.
While not sure, I see the possiblility of ethanol reacting with oil, which is part of fuel mixture of very small engines. And myself noticed that my 9 year old lawn mower, which uses gasoline not mixed with oil is orking fine while my 2 years old, barely used trimmer is having problems. and the trimmer uses gas mixed with oil.
So this could be the case. May be it needs to be defined better, which small engines are affected.


Very true, It may be just a two stroke issue. I race motocross and they higher octane we use the higher oil ration we mix, this might be very similar.


It seems that Hyundai is recalling cars for the same reason. Go two posts up on the main page.


Sounds like a scam to drum up more business. I've had the same lawmower for 17 years, have always used E10 and it always starts on the first pull.

Troy S.

Funny how human nature automatically makes us think someone is trying to scam us. When mechanics across the country are saying the same thing, I seriously doubt they have all conspired to scam the unsuspecting consumer.

They may have actually discovered a credible problem.

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App