What Happens If You Put E85 Gas In Your Car

Have you ever considered using E85 fuel for your car? It may seem like a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly option, but before you fill up your tank, it’s important to understand the potential consequences.

Using E85 fuel in a car that is not specifically designed for it can cause serious damage to your engine, leading to costly repairs and potentially dangerous situations. In this article, we’ll explore the effects of using E85 on non-FFV cars, signs that your car cannot use E85, and what to do if you want to switch to E85 fuel.

By understanding the facts, you can make an informed decision about whether E85 is right for you and your vehicle.

First, let’s define what E85 fuel is. E85 is an alternative fuel made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It’s often marketed as a cleaner and more sustainable option than traditional gasoline, as ethanol is made from renewable sources such as corn and sugarcane. However, not all cars are designed to run on E85.

Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) are specially designed to handle the higher ethanol content, but using E85 in a non-FFV car can cause serious problems. In the next section, we’ll explore exactly what can happen when you put E85 gas in a car that is not designed for it.

Understanding E85 Fuel

If you’re not careful, you might end up filling your car with E85 fuel, which could leave you stranded on the side of the road with a car that won’t start. E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, with the ethanol content ranging from 51% to 83%.

This fuel is primarily used in flex-fuel vehicles, which are designed to run on either gasoline or ethanol blends. Before you consider using E85, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this fuel.

The pros include a higher octane rating than gasoline, which can lead to improved performance in some vehicles, and it’s also a renewable resource that has a lower carbon footprint than traditional gasoline. However, E85 has its drawbacks, including decreased fuel efficiency, which can lead to more frequent fill-ups and increased costs.

Additionally, the production and transportation of ethanol can have a negative environmental impact, including deforestation and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

Effects of Using E85 on Non-FFV Cars

You’ll experience negative effects on your non-FFV vehicle if you mistakenly fill it with E85 fuel. This is because E85 contains a higher percentage of ethanol than regular gasoline, which can cause damage to your engine’s fuel system components. Ethanol is a corrosive substance that can break down rubber and plastic materials, leading to leaks, clogs, and failures in your fuel injectors and fuel lines.

Using E85 in a non-FFV vehicle can also result in decreased fuel efficiency. This is because E85 has a lower energy content than regular gasoline, meaning that you’ll need to burn more fuel to travel the same distance. The difference in energy content can be as much as 30%, which can result in a noticeable decrease in your vehicle’s miles per gallon (MPG) rating.

This can lead to increased fuel costs over time, as well as a negative impact on the environment due to increased emissions.

Signs That Your Car Cannot Use E85

Spotting whether your vehicle can use E85 fuel is easy – just take a look at the label on the fuel cap or in the owner’s manual. If it’s not there, your vehicle isn’t designed to use E85. Another way to check is by looking at the car’s VIN number. Vehicles that can use E85 have a specific code in the VIN that indicates they’re flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs).

If your car can’t use E85 and you mistakenly fill it with this fuel, you may start experiencing engine performance issues. Since E85 has a higher percentage of ethanol, it may cause damage to non-FFV engines. It may also lead to fuel efficiency problems, as E85 has lower energy content than gasoline.

Therefore, if you notice a decrease in engine performance or fuel efficiency after using E85, it’s time to have your car checked by a professional mechanic.

Switching to E85

Transitioning to E85 fuel requires proper preparation and knowledge about its potential effects on your vehicle’s engine performance and fuel efficiency. When switching to E85, it’s important to note that the fuel contains more ethanol than regular gasoline. This can affect your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

On the other hand, E85 is less expensive than gasoline and has lower emissions, which are some of the pros of switching to the alternative fuel. However, there are also some cons to consider when switching to E85.

For one, not all vehicles are designed to run on the fuel. E85 can cause damage to certain engine components and may void the vehicle’s warranty. Additionally, because E85 is less energy-dense than gasoline, it may result in lower fuel efficiency.

Before making the switch, it’s best to consult with a mechanic or refer to your vehicle’s manual to determine if your car is compatible with E85 and if it’s the right choice for your driving needs.


In conclusion, putting E85 gas in your non-flex fuel vehicle can lead to several negative effects on your engine and its components. The higher ethanol content in E85 can cause corrosion, damage the fuel system, and reduce fuel efficiency.

It’s crucial to understand that not all cars are designed to use E85, and using it in a non-FFV car can lead to costly repairs and maintenance. If you suspect that your car cannot use E85, there are some signs to look out for, such as reduced fuel efficiency, engine misfires, and difficulty starting the engine.

If you decide to switch to E85, it’s essential to ensure that your car is designed to use it, and you may need to make some adjustments to optimize your vehicle’s performance. By understanding the effects of E85 on non-FFV cars, you can make informed decisions about your fuel choices and protect your car’s engine and components.