The Effects of Today's Fuel on Your Power Equipment

The gasoline we buy at the pump today is not the same as what we bought 10 years ago. Nearly all the fuel sold today has at least 10% ethanol added to it. Ethanol can rapidly absorb moisture from the air, and "phase separation" can occur. This causes the water and ethanol to settle at the bottom of the container, which can result in corrosion and damage to your engine's carburetor. Gum deposits also rapidly form in the fuel tank as ethanol fuels age. Ethanol is a powerful solvent that disperses these deposits back into the fuel. This can lead to clogged filters, injectors, and carburetors. Ethanol fuels break down quickly, in as little as 30 days, and can cause hard starts and loss of power and performance.

Our Recommendations

  1. Buy name brand, 89 octane or higher fuel. This fuel is blended more consistently and doesn’t degrade as fast as cheaper, lower octane fuels.
  2. Only buy enough fuel to last you a month at a time. Do not use gasoline or fuel mix that is more than 60 days old.
  3. Never use fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol.
  4. Always use a clean fuel container and consider buying a new one that has a positive sealing dispensing cap and an automatic vent, such as a no-spill fuel container.
  5. Use a high quality alcohol-free fuel treatment such as Star Tron or Toro Premium Fuel Treatment. They are specifically formulated to help prevent ethanol problems such as phase separation and carbon/gum/varnish deposits. They also contain powerful fuel stabilizers, which helps prevent fuel breakdown for up to a year. We use these in all fuel used in our Clay's Service Department.
  6. Use a pre-packaged fuel for your two-cycle equipment. STIHL recommends MotoMix, a 92 octane fuel with synthetic oil and no ethanol. This fuel will remain stable and usable for two years after the seal on the container is broken, as long as the cap remains tightly sealed, making it ideal for an occasional user.
  7. Drain the fuel tank and carburetor before storing your equipment in the off-season for long-term storage.

Is It Covered by Warranty?

Fuel-related problems are NOT covered by a manufacturer's limited warranty because they are not a result of a manufacturing defect or workmanship. The manufacturer cannot control what brand of fuel you put in your machine, how old the fuel is, or if you mixed it correctly in the case of a two-cycle engine.

This information is provided by Clay's Power Equipment in the hope that you will enjoy your equipment without unnecessary down time and expense due to fuel related problems. We appreciate your business.