What Happens If I Accidentally Put E85 In My Car

Have you ever accidentally put the wrong type of fuel in your car? It can happen to anyone, especially if you’re in a rush or not paying close attention.

One type of fuel that can cause serious damage to your vehicle is E85. If you’ve accidentally put E85 in your car, it’s important to understand what happens next and how to fix the problem before it causes any further damage.

E85 is a type of fuel that contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It’s commonly used in flex-fuel vehicles, which are designed to run on either E85 or regular gasoline. However, if your vehicle is not compatible with E85 and you accidentally put it in your tank, it can cause serious damage to your engine and fuel system.

It’s important to know what to do in this situation to prevent further damage and ensure your vehicle is safe to drive.

Understanding E85 Fuel

If you accidentally pump E85 fuel into your car, you’ll want to understand that it’s a blend of gasoline and ethanol, typically containing 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. E85 production is based on renewable energy sources, such as corn, sugarcane, and other plant materials, making it a popular choice for those looking for an environmentally-friendly fuel option.

However, it’s important to note that E85 has a lower energy density than gasoline, meaning it won’t provide as much fuel economy as gasoline would. While E85 may be good for the environment, it may not be the best option for your car. Most cars are designed to run on regular gasoline, and using E85 can cause damage to your engine.

Additionally, E85 is not widely available at gas stations, so if you accidentally pump it into your car, you may have trouble finding a gas station that carries regular gasoline. It’s always a good idea to double-check the fuel grade before pumping gas into your car to avoid any potential issues.

What Happens When You Put E85 in a Non-Compatible Car

You’ll regret filling up your ride with E85 fuel, as it can cause significant damage to your vehicle’s engine. E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, which is different from regular gasoline.

Ethanol is a powerful solvent that can damage rubber and plastic components in your car’s fuel system, leading to potential damages and leaks. Also, E85 has a lower energy density than gasoline, which means that you’ll get fewer miles per gallon, and your engine’s performance will suffer.

When you put E85 in a non-compatible car, it can cause a range of problems, including engine misfires, stalling, and hard starting. The fuel injectors can clog, and the fuel pump can fail, leading to costly repairs. Furthermore, the oxygen sensor can become contaminated, causing the check engine light to turn on, and the catalytic converter can fail, which can result in emissions problems.

In summary, putting E85 in your car can have a severe impact on engine performance and lead to potential damages that can be expensive to fix. Therefore, it’s essential to check your car’s owner’s manual and use the recommended fuel to avoid any problems.

How to Fix the Problem

Don’t panic! If you’ve accidentally put E85 in your non-compatible car, there are solutions to fix the damages caused by the mistake.

First, you should stop driving the car immediately and have it towed to a mechanic or dealership. The longer you drive the car with E85 in the fuel system, the more damage it can cause.

Once you have the car in the hands of a professional, they’ll likely need to flush the entire fuel system, including the fuel tank, fuel lines, and fuel injectors. This can be a costly repair, as it involves a significant amount of labor and the cost of replacement parts. The exact cost will depend on the make and model of your car, as well as the extent of the damage caused by the E85.

However, seeking professional help as soon as possible can help minimize the costs of repairing E85 damage.

Preventing Future Accidents

To avoid costly repairs and potential engine damage, it’s essential to know which type of fuel your vehicle requires before filling up at the gas station. Make sure to always check your owner’s manual or contact your dealership for guidance on the type of fuel that is recommended for your car.

Using the wrong type of fuel can decrease your car’s fuel efficiency and cause damage to the engine.

In addition to knowing the right type of fuel for your car, regular car maintenance can also help prevent future fueling accidents. Regular oil changes, tire rotations, and other basic maintenance tasks can help keep your car running smoothly and reduce the likelihood of costly repairs.

By taking care of your car, you can ensure that it continues to run efficiently and avoid any potential fueling mistakes in the future.


So, you’ve accidentally put E85 in your car. Don’t panic! While it’s not ideal, it’s not the end of the world either. Understanding E85 fuel and the effects it has on non-compatible cars is key to resolving the issue and preventing it from happening again in the future.

Firstly, E85 is a fuel blend that contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This blend is designed for use in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs), which are equipped with engines that can tolerate the higher ethanol content. Non-FFVs, on the other hand, aren’t designed to handle E85 fuel and can experience a range of problems if filled with this fuel type.

These problems include decreased fuel economy, reduced engine power, and potential damage to engine components such as fuel injectors, fuel lines, and fuel pumps.

If you’ve accidentally filled your non-FFV car with E85, the first step is to stop using the vehicle immediately. Drain the fuel tank and fill it with gasoline instead. It’s also a good idea to replace the fuel filter to ensure any residual ethanol is removed from the fuel system. If you’re unsure about how to perform these steps, it’s best to seek help from a professional mechanic.

To prevent future accidents, always double-check the fuel type before filling up your car. Look for the label on the fuel pump or consult your car’s owner manual to ensure you’re using the correct fuel type. It’s also a good idea to keep a note of your car’s make and model, so you know whether it’s an FFV or not.

By taking these simple precautions, you can avoid the hassle and expense of accidentally filling your car with the wrong fuel type.