What If I Accidentally Put E85 In My Car

You pull up to the gas station, ready to fill up your car’s tank. You grab the nozzle and begin pumping, not realizing that you accidentally selected the wrong fuel type. You start to panic – what if you just put E85 in your car?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many drivers have made the mistake of accidentally putting E85 in their car’s tank. While it may seem like a major mistake, there are steps you can take to mitigate any damage and prevent it from happening in the future.

In this article, we’ll guide you through what to do if you accidentally put E85 in your car and how to avoid making the same mistake again. So take a deep breath and let’s get started.

Understand the Difference Between E85 and Regular Gasoline

If you accidentally put E85 in your car, you may have noticed a significant difference in the way your car drives compared to regular gasoline.

E85 is a fuel blend that contains 51% to 83% ethanol content and the rest is gasoline. Regular gasoline, on the other hand, contains only 10% ethanol content.

Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel that’s made from corn, sugarcane, or other plant materials. The higher the ethanol content in the fuel, the lower the fuel efficiency will be.

When you put E85 in your car’s fuel tank, the engine control unit (ECU) will detect the higher ethanol content and adjust the fuel injection accordingly. This adjustment can cause the engine to run differently, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency, engine power, and acceleration.

The reason for this is that ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline. Therefore, you’ll need more E85 to produce the same amount of power as regular gasoline.

So, if you accidentally put E85 in your car, you may experience a decline in fuel efficiency, and you’ll need to fill up your tank more frequently.

Check Your Vehicle’s Owner’s Manual

To avoid potential fuel system damage, always refer to your car’s manual for fuel specifications. Not all vehicles are designed to run on E85, and using it in a car that is not compatible can result in significant problems. It’s essential to know that using E85 in a vehicle that is not designed for it can void your warranty coverage and lead to expensive repairs.

Before heading to the gas station, check your car’s manual for fuel recommendations. If E85 is not listed as an acceptable fuel, avoid using it. The cost and availability of E85 fuel may be tempting, but the potential damage to your car’s fuel system is not worth the savings.

Stick to the recommended fuel type to ensure the longevity of your vehicle and avoid costly repairs.

Assess Your Car’s Performance

Evaluating how well your vehicle operates on its recommended fuel type can help you determine if switching to E85 is a wise decision. When you accidentally put E85 in your car, you should assess its performance to see if it is negatively impacted in any way.

E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, which has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline. This means that it can increase horsepower and torque in some vehicles, but it can also have a negative impact on others. One potential damage from using E85 in a car not designed for it is the fuel system.

E85 has a higher concentration of alcohol, which can corrode and damage the fuel lines and injectors. Additionally, the fuel efficiency of your car may be affected as E85 has less energy content than regular gasoline. It means that you may have to refuel more frequently, which can increase your expenses.

Finally, engine longevity can also be affected as E85 can cause carbon buildup and engine knock, which can lead to engine damage if not addressed promptly. Therefore, it is essential to assess your car’s performance after putting E85 in it to avoid potential damages.

Drain the Tank and Refill with Gasoline

Once you’ve realized that your car has been fueled with E85, the best course of action is to drain the tank and refill it with gasoline to avoid potential fuel system damage.

E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, and it’s not recommended for use in vehicles that are not designed to handle this type of fuel. The high ethanol content can cause corrosion and damage to the fuel system, which may lead to expensive repairs.

After draining the tank, it’s important to bring your car to a professional for inspection to ensure that there’s no lasting damage to the fuel system. The potential consequences of driving with E85 in your tank can range from decreased performance to safety issues, so it’s crucial to take the necessary safety precautions.

Always double-check the fuel type before filling up, and if you accidentally use E85, take quick action to minimize the damage and get your car inspected by a professional.

Take Preventative Measures for the Future

Make sure you always double-check the fuel type before filling up in the future, so you don’t risk damaging your vehicle’s fuel system. Fuel contamination can happen when a gas station accidentally puts the wrong fuel in their tanks, so it’s important to take precautions to prevent this from happening to you.

One way to do this is to only fill up at reputable gas stations that have proper quality control measures in place. Another preventative measure you can take is to use a fuel additive that helps clean and protect your fuel system. These additives can help prevent damage from contaminated fuel and can improve your car’s performance.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to regularly inspect your fuel system for any signs of damage or wear and tear. By taking these precautions, you can help ensure that you won’t accidentally put E85 in your car again and can prevent any costly damage to your vehicle’s fuel system.


So, you’ve accidentally put E85 in your car. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. However, it’s important to understand the difference between E85 and regular gasoline, and to take the necessary steps to prevent any further damage to your vehicle.

Firstly, make sure to check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for any specific instructions on how to handle the situation. Additionally, assess your car’s performance after filling up with E85. If you notice any issues such as decreased fuel efficiency or strange engine noises, it’s important to address them promptly.

To fix the issue, drain the tank and refill with regular gasoline. This will ensure that your car is running on the correct fuel and prevent any further damage. Lastly, take preventative measures for the future by double-checking the fuel type before pumping and being mindful of any warning labels at the pump.

Remember, prevention is key in avoiding mishaps such as putting E85 in your car. However, if it does happen, don’t panic. By following these steps, you can ensure that your vehicle is running smoothly and avoid any costly repairs.